O-line fueling Dolphins' surge

Once-porous, distraction-causing unit now key to Miami's turnaround

Updated: December 17, 2013, 2:36 PM ET
By Rivers McCown | Football Outsiders

 Ryan TannehillRobert Mayer/USA TODAY SportsThe Dolphins have been keeping a cleaner pocket for Ryan Tannehill.

At 8-6, tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the last AFC wild-card spot, the Miami Dolphins have a chance to ascend to the postseason for the first time since 2008. While they've been helped by the general listlessness of the AFC, in so much as no team has really staked a claim to that last wild-card berth, the Dolphins deserve credit for successfully navigating their way out of the bullying and hazing quagmire that left them without their starting left tackle and left guard.

Making lemonade out of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin mess wasn't simple, but a trade and a key undrafted free agent have helped the Dolphins stabilize their offensive line. From Week 1 to Week 8, the Dolphins had just one game with a positive offensive DVOA. (DVOA is Football Outsiders' defense-adjusted value over average metric, explained here.) Since then, they've been above average in five of their last seven games, and their improved line is helping to fuel that surge.

Rivers McCown

Football Outsiders
Rivers McCown is an associate editor for Football Outsiders.