<
>

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

The Miami Dolphins earned a crucial 22-9 victory Thursday over the Buffalo Bills.

Here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling:

Rising

1. Kevin Coyle, defensive coordinator: Coyle is doing a tremendous job with his defense. The Dolphins held an opponent without a touchdown for the second time in three games. The Bills registered just three field goals and 237 total yards, which included just 86 yards in the second half. Coyle is getting the most out of his talent on defense and dialing up the right plays at the right time. His defense is allowing just 9.7 points per game the past three weeks.

2. Playoff chances: There is still plenty of work ahead for the Dolphins to end their six-year playoff drought. But they jumped from the No. 11 seed to the No. 7 seed with Thursday’s win. The top six seeds in the AFC will make the playoffs, and the Dolphins are positioning themselves to make a run with six games remaining. The current wild cards in the AFC are the Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (5-3-1).

3. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: Tannehill posted his fourth triple-digit passer rating (114.8) of the season against the Bills. Miami improved to 4-0 this season when that is the case. Tannehill completed passes to nine different receivers and finished with 240 yards and two touchdowns. What makes this performance more impressive is Tannehill entered Thursday’s game with a 1-4 record against the Bills.

Falling

1. Dallas Thomas, right tackle: Thomas struggled in his first NFL start at right tackle. He allowed 2.5 sacks against Bills defensive end Mario Williams, who had 3.5 sacks total. Thomas looked better at guard the past two seasons. However, the need at right tackle is bigger due to the season-ending knee injury to Branden Albert. The team will reassess whether keeping Thomas at right tackle is best for the remainder of the season.

2. First-half starts: The Dolphins had another ugly start and trailed the Bills, 6-3, at halftime. They failed to score a touchdown for the fifth time in 10 games. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said they are working on starting games faster, but it hasn’t showed often enough on the field. Fortunately they have been a strong second-half team, particularly in third quarters.

3. Cornerback depth: Second-year cornerback Will Davis will be put on injured reserve after tearing his ACL against the Bills. Miami is thin at cornerback with starter Cortland Finnegan nursing an ankle injury and Davis out for the year. It could look for help in the secondary via the waiver wire, especially with nine days to prepare for an upcoming game against the Denver Broncos.