Dolphins’ defensive success with takeaways is no accident

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There’s a whole lot of speculation that the 2021 Miami Dolphins are not going to be able to enjoy the same fruits of their labor as they did in 2020. Not necessarily that the team can’t continue to win football games, but instead that the team is going to need to do it in a dramatically different way: without so many turnovers. And perhaps a regression is coming by the end of the year in how many times Miami claims the football from the opposition.

But it will need to wait at least another week to show itself — because the Dolphins turned over the New England Patriots twice in a 17-16 victory, including once in the final 4 minutes from within the Dolphins’ 10-yard line.

Two fumble recoveries came courtesy of a strip from safety Eric Rowe in the first quarter and that game-changing poke of the ball from All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard in the final moments; setting the stage for Miami to escape New England with a win in hand.

How in the heck do the Dolphins keep doing this? They’ve now logged at least one turnover in 23 consecutive games. It isn’t by mistake — as veteran linebacker Elandon Roberts discussed after the game.

“I don’t feel like (the turnovers) is magic. Magic is kind of up in the air. We just practice it day in and day out. We talk about it day in and day out. Man, we can be just joking in the locker room and guys like, ‘I’m going to punch one out today.’ It’s just embedded in our defense and even our team. It’s just a true testament of taking it from the practice field, the lunch room and the meeting room because guys can walk around with a football and a defensive guy will just punch it out just trying to be funny. We can’t help ourselves because when we see ball, we want to punch it out,” said Roberts.

“I think it’s just translating to the football field and we are just going to keep working hard on it. Hopefully we can keep that same trend like we had last year.”

So far, so good. And while we may reach the point where the ball doesn’t bounce Miami’s way in a game, the continued obsession with hunting the football means Miami certainly isn’t going to be without their chances to make things happen and turn a game on its head; as they did on Sunday against the Patriots.