In a dominant first half, the Dolphins, led by Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake, wreaked havoc upon Brandon Weeden and the Browns’ offense. Through two quarters of play, Miami’s defensive line rushed Weeden relentlessly, keeping him off balance and under pressure, and pushing him to throw three first half interceptions to cornerbacks Nolan Carroll (1) and Dimitri Patterson (2).
And though the Dolphins defense did more than their fair share in the first half, they still trailed the Browns, 7-6, at halftime.
During halftime, the Dolphins made adjustments on both sides of the ball—the offense realized it was game day—and instead of coming out even keel in the second half, the Dolphins’ defense kept the pressure on Cleveland. Wake’s 2.5 sacks would fuel the defense, as they fed off his energy and intensity the entire second half. Randy Starks would chip in 1.5 sacks while Derrick Shelby would add another. Rookie Dion Jordan almost added a sixth but was called for a facemask during the tackle.
All in all, the Wake-led defense would collect three interceptions, six sacks, 16 quarterback hits and even held Cleveland to 1 of 14 on third-down conversions.
The running game’s struggles were mighty as the Dolphins only averaged 0.9 yards per play— Daniel Thomas had 14 yards on eight carries while Lamar Miller had 10 carries for just three yards—but Wake and the rest of the squad made it impossible for Weeden and the Browns to ever gain momentum.
If the Dolphins are to win next week, the defense will have to keep that momentum and the offense will have to warm up much faster.