Defense Continues to Step Up
LB Karlos Dansby
LB Karlos Dansby

Posted Dec 19, 2011

Miami's defense has turned into a forceful unit in the second half of the season, and Sunday's 30-23 win over Buffalo produced a new impressive and unique stat. The Dolphins prevented Buffalo from converting a single third down for the second game this season.

The Bills were 0-for-11 on third-down conversions. Parlay Sunday's struggles with the 0-for-12 performance the Dolphins held the Bills to in last months' 35-8 loss and it's an astonishing feat. In two wins against an AFC East division rival the Dolphins held Buffalo to 0-for-23 on third downs.

"I've never heard of that before," interim coach Todd Bowles said. "We've been lucky a little bit. They helped us out."

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was 3-of-10 on third-down passes, throwing for 44 yards with one interception.

"We got pressure up front and forced the quarterback to get off his spots," linebacker Karlos Danby said. "He made errant throws and some guys had to cut their routes short because we were covering them well. His timing got thrown off."

Over the last five games, the Dolphins defense has allowed 8-of-58 third-down conversions (13.8 percent).

The Dolphins hope to take their third-down stinginess into this weekend's game against the New England Patriots, which lit the Dolphins up for 622 yards and five touchdowns in the season opener.

In that game, Tom Brady carved the Dolphins up, converting 8-of-13 third downs. But the Dolphins believe they're a totally difference defense than the one New England saw 14 weeks ago.

The Dolphins struggled putting pressure on Brady last time, sacking him just once. Miami also couldn't get the Patriots off the field. Anything close to a third-down performance like the one the Dolphins had against the Bills could go a long way.

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