There were no questions about Cutler's job security or Miami's last-place ranking in total offense and points scored entering Sunday's game. There also were no queries regarding how much the defense carries the Dolphins.
Cutler and Miami's offense got hot in the second half and scored 20 unanswered. It was Miami's highest point total of the season and the most efficient game on offense from many Dolphins, including Cutler, who had 151 passing yards and two touchdowns. Cutler was particularly impressive against the blitz. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cutler was 12-of-15 for 109 yards and a touchdown when the Falcons brought pressure.
After five games, the Dolphins’ offense is finally showing signs of life.
"[Now] you can look at the film and say, ‘Hey, guys, this is an example of how it’s done. This is the feeling you should feel as it happens,’" Cutler said. “You experience it and know that it’s not just talk. You can make it happen."
Miami's offense was shut out the entire first half, but the hot streak in the third and fourth quarters provides reason for optimism.
Just last week fans were calling for Cutler's job with chants of "We want Moore" for backup quarterback Matt Moore. But Cutler's two touchdown passes, combined with Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi's 130 rushing yards, provided the balanced blueprint Miami (3-2) needs to win consistently. Miami did similar things last year to win 10 games and make the playoffs.
When the Dolphins trailed 17-0 at halftime, they could have easily gone in the tank. But coach Adam Gase was impressed with the team's mental toughness.
“These guys are different cats, man,” Gase said. “They have something in them to where it doesn’t matter what the score is. They’ll battle. [Sunday] was the first time the offense actually gave the defense a little hope there.”
Miami’s defense, which has been consistent all season, finally had a bad half and allowed 17 early points. But unlike previous games, the Dolphins' offense produced touchdowns and picked up the defense, which in turn shut out Atlanta in the second half.
Next week the Dolphins will face the Jets (3-3), who beat Miami by two touchdowns last month. This is a good game for the Dolphins’ offense to prove Sunday’s performance wasn’t a fluke.
"With the way the defense is playing, if we get it going a little bit better offensively, we’re going to be OK," Cutler said. “But we can’t be satisfied with this game. We gotta take a look at it, fix our mistakes and we gotta move on.”