After a troubling 1-4 start to the season, the Miami Dolphins were looking at the prospects of another horrible season, to be capped off by watching the playoffs on TV. However, an amazing thing happened on the way to another possible 6-10 season, they started winning football games.
In fact, they are currently sitting on a 3-game winning streak that includes close victories at home over division foes, the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills. This newfound ability to win football games has the placed the team in 2nd place within the AFC East Division with a record of 4-4.
Miami football fans are certainly aware by now that the current winning streak coincides perfectly with the rise of 2nd-year running back Jay Ajayi from 3rd-string to starter. The move up the ladder was necessitated by injuries to Arian Foster and Isaiah Pead. The result has been nothing short of spectacular.
After struggling as a rookie and looking a bit off kilter earlier this season, Ajayi seems to have finally found the same explosiveness that made him such an offensive force when playing college ball on the blue carpet at Boise State. Over the past 3 games, he has gained 529 yards to lead the league during that timeframe. That’s an average of just over 176 yards per game, which exceeds the output of the NFL’s leading rusher, Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas), for his 3 best games over the entire season, and does so by a wide margin.
It all started in the October 16 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. On the day, he gained 204 yards and scored two touchdowns for the first time in his career. The very next week, his momentum carried him to his second of back-to-back 200-yard games as he picked up 214 yards and another rushing TD against the Bills in a 28-25 victory. This past Sunday, the Jets adjusted its defense to stop the streaking Ajayi, limiting him to only 111 yards and 1 TD on the day. His performance was still strong enough to help the Dolphins control the ball and squeak out another close win.
Last year, the Dolphins ranked #22 in the league in rushing with just over 93 yards a game. After week 9, the Dolphins currently rank #6 in the league in rushing at just over 122 yards per game. That’s a significant turnaround in a pass-happy AFC conference where Ajayi currently ranks #4 in the conference despite having only 3 starts to his credit.
So what is contributing to this coming of age? One would have to assume it has something to do with finally having the opportunity to carry the ball on a regular basis. As the team’s 5th round draft choice in 2015, the team seemed resigned to treat him as a bit of a project. If that’s the case, one would also have to assume he might end up being a draft bargain no matter which round he was picked.
For sports gamblers who may be wondering whether or not this level of effort is sustainable for the young Ajayi, there are plenty of available betting offers from online sports books that could be used to place bets on or against the Fish, hoping to make the right choice about Ajayi and his possible rise to stardom.