The Miami Dolphins haven't had a whole to be happy about through their first three preseason losses, but despite a 23-6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, praise is finally starting to come in for the defense.
The Phinsider says a lot of this was sparked by the return of defensive end Cameron Wake, who returned from a car accident to snare 1.5 sacks. Most of the big scores were put on the second and third defensive units, with the first holding off three drives for field goals.
The first team held the Falcons' offense to three field goals in the first half. Matt Ryan was able to put up the game's first touchdown early in the second half, but the Dolphins had already rotated the second and third team players into the game. Once the team is able to add Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett back into the lineup, it really should become the dominating defense we all expect it to be.
The Dolphins starters limited Atlanta to two third-down conversion in seven attempts. As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald pointed out, the Falcons had the tenth best offense in the NFL last season. The first team unit kept the lethal combinations of Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones out of the end zone each time.
Coach Joe Philbin even joined in the praise of a unit that stifled the Falcons to just 29 yards on 11 rushes.
"They kept a good offense out of the end zone," Philbin said. "They put some pressure on the quarterback, which we haven't seen. Had a couple of sacks. We did a relatively good job on third down. We gave up that one big play, but overall it was a good performance."
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