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Four things to know about the Miami Dolphins


The Washington Commanders are coming back to FedExField to take on the Miami Dolphins. Here are five things you need to know about the Miami Dolphins and some names you'll want keep track of come this Sunday.

1. Tua Tagovailoa is putting up career numbers.

It would be an oversight to start an article to not acknowledge fourth-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is on track to put up career numbers this season.

Tagovailoa had the third-highest completion rate in the NFL behind the San Francisco 49ers's Brock Purdy and Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott, who completed 69.8% of passes. The high point of this season came when Tagovailoa's completion rate soared to 88.5% in week 3's 70-20 win over the Denver Broncos. The Dolphins have scored the most points by an NFL team since 1966.

The Commanders' defense has struggled all season, and in order to upset the Dolphins, they will need to match that offensive production with their own. Fortunately for the Burgundy & Gold, they have a quarterback who's shown just as much promise in Sam Howell.

While Washington and Miami's records drastically differ, Howell and Tagovailoa have similar stats. Tagovailoa has had 22 total touchdowns this season for Miami, compared to Howell's 21 (18 passing, three rushing) for Washington. Howell's even leading the entire league in passing yards with 3,339.

The Commanders' will need to put together an exceptional game plan, but Howell has shown that he can at least put his team in position to compete.

2. A dominant run game.

Tagovailoa isn't the only part of Miami's offense pushing the Commanders' defense. Of course, there's speedsters Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle (more on them later), but the Dolphins also boast one of the best ground attacks in the NFL, and they are led by 31-year-old running back Raheem Mostert.

Mostert was a solid rotational piece for San Francisco from 2017-21, but he's shaking out to have the best season of his career and is treading on some Dolphins franchise records as the franchise's lead back. Mostert has 13 rushing touchdowns this season, which puts him three shy of tying Ricky Williams' record of 16 in 2002. He has 785 yards this season, which is the second-best in the league, and with five weeks left this season, he's on pace to hit 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.

Mostert's efforts have led to the Dolphins averaging 145.2 yards per game this season, which ranks behind only the Baltimore Ravens. However, it could be argued that Miami, which has 13 players with at least one carry, has the more impressive run game. As a team, the Dolphins have 292 attempts, and yet they lead the league in rushing average (5.5) and average the second most rushing touchdowns per game.

The Dolphins only run the ball 42% of the time, but Mike McDaniel and offensive coordinator Frank Smith have managed to call run plays at the right time and found ways of putting their players in position to be efficient on each carry. Most of the attention will be put on the Dolphins' pass attack, and rightfully so, but for the Commanders, who gave up 64-yard touchdowns to the Patriots and Seahawks, it will be important to invest some resources in bottling up the ground game.

Check out the top photos of the Washington Commanders getting back to work to prepare for their Week 13 matchup against the Miami Dolphins. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

3. Another challenge on the defensive line.

Washington's offensive line will once again have its work cut out for them. Bradley Chubb, Christian Wilkins, and Andrew Van Ginkel have paced a defense that has the third most sacks in the NFL, and all three of them will be looking to putting pressure on Howell

Starting with Chubb, he has 47 tackles under his belt, six sacks, and four forced fumbles. Even in the Dolphin's loss to Kansas City Chiefs, Chubb still managed to find his way through with a strip sack on Patrick Mahomes. Chubbs' strength will be a challenging thing to contain for the Commanders, and they'll need to emphasize an increase in protection after last week.

But it's not just Chubb. Washington will have to worry about putting a wrench in their offensive scheme. Wilkins has also gotten his fair share of action this season, racking up 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks. And then Van Ginkel is just a little behind with 42 tackles and four sacks.

Against a defense like this, Washington's protection will need to dramatically improve after giving up four sacks against the Cowboys. Not only will it be necessary for Howell to get the ball off quickly, but the offensive line will need to figure out how to give him as much time as possible to dissect the Dolphins' secondary.

4. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are a threat to score at any time.

The Dolphins score more than almost any team in the league, averaging 30.8 points through 11 games. Much of that success has come from Hill and Waddle, who have emerged as one of the best wide receiver duos this season.

Hill can change a game in an instant if given the slightest opportunity. It's become an expectation for him to finish with 100 yards in a game, and he's eclipsed that number seven times this season. Scoring touchdowns has also become a regular occurrence for Hill; he's gotten in the end zone 10 times, representing nearly one-quarter of Miami's 42 total touchdowns, and has been held scoreless for only two contests.

On the other side is Jaylen Waddle, a first-round pick who has been with Miami for two years. Waddle managed 114 receiving yards in the Dolphins' 34-13 win over the New York Jets last week. This puts him in the top three of receiving yards last week, and between him and Hill, they can make the catches Tagovailoa gets out there.

Perhaps it's an impossible task to completely shut down Hill and Waddle, but the Commanders must have an answer for the duo, especially on third down. Keeping an eye on these two at all times will be absolutely necessary if the Commanders want to contain what Miami is bringing with them this weekend.

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