These things tend to happen when you become the first NFL player this season to rush for 200-plus yards.
Ajayi’s 204 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers have raised his profile tremendously. So much so, that a mystery teammate used the occasion to send Ajayi a message.
A red gas tank was put in Ajayi’s locker with the message, “Can you fill up your gas tank every single week?”
The point is the Dolphins want Ajayi to be consistently at his best and not let up after a career game. “I don’t know who put it up there, but the message was received,” Ajayi said. “You got to keep working. Just continue to build off it. It was good to have a performance like that, but you definitely don’t want to be satisfied.”
What’s does Ajayi have in store for an encore? We will find out Sunday when the Dolphins (2-4) host the Buffalo Bills (4-2) in an important division game for both teams.
Ajayi exploded out of nowhere last week after rushing for just 117 yards and 3.8 yards per carry in the first five games. He nearly doubled his season total in one game. Miami was able to control the clock and the line of scrimmage against Pittsburgh, which were two areas where the Dolphins struggled during the season.
The Bills are a physical team that allows just 3.8 yards per carry, and their longest run allowed has been 29 yards. Therefore, don’t expect another 200-yard game from Ajayi on Sunday, but Miami’s coaches think he can be physical and lead the charge.
“It’s a really hot team and a really hot defense,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said of the Bills. “It’s an established defense. They’ve been doing the same thing for a long, long time. Statistically they’ve very, very good.”
Ajayi has come a long way since Week 1 when he didn’t make the trip to play the Seattle Seahawks. At the time, coaches were not happy with the way he handled losing the starting job to Arian Foster, and head coach Adam Gase decided to leave him home.
Ajayi has done the right things since, and it showed on the field last weekend with his signature performance.
“I still think I have a lot to prove, not just to myself but to a lot of people,” Ajayi said. “I think that I’m just pushing myself to be better and be more consistent. As you seen, I’m starting to do a lot better.”