As much as the Dolphins are riding high, the Sunday evening news on defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah’s injury put a slight damper on Miami’s 39-17 win over the Cleveland Browns that put the team atop the AFC East at 7-3 heading into the bye week.
Ogbah’s season, already filled with disappointment, came to an end, according to a league source, after a triceps tear that will require surgery.
He was initially said to have exited Sunday’s game at Hard Rock Stadium with an elbow injury when he left in the second quarter of the convincing victory.
Ogbah, who turned 29 on Nov. 6, never really looked like himself this season after signing a four-year, $65 million contract minutes before his free agency would’ve opened up to other teams in March.
He recorded just one sack and 11 tackles in eight games played.
That for a defensive end that led the Dolphins with nine sacks each of the past two seasons in order to earn that kind of deal.
In the past, he had stretches where the sacks weren’t coming but he was still just missing them, a step slow with quarterback hits instead. But even there, Ogbah’s seven on the year was off the pace of the 24 and 21 he had in 2021 and 2020, respectively.
A hallmark of Ogbah’s game had become getting his hand up and deflecting passes at the line of scrimmage when he couldn’t reach the passer, but he wasn’t doing that either. He was without a pass deflection after finishing with an astonishing 12 last season.
The good news for Miami is the team just recently set itself up to be better prepared to deal with such a loss, acquiring standout edge defender Bradley Chubb in a deal with the Denver Broncos at the trade deadline two weeks ago.
Despite never having the Ogbah that Dolphins fans have become accustomed to seeing on the edge the past two years, the team can utilize more defensive lines of Raekwon Davis flanked by Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler on either side of him.
With four solid outside linebackers in Chubb, Jaelan Phillips, Melvin Ingram and Andrew Van Ginkel, defensive coordinator Josh Boyer can opt for more packages where Chubb or Phillips have a hand in the ground in a three-man front.
Various combinations of front-seven defenders got to Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Sunday, and all three Dolphins sacks were split between two rushers bringing him down. Miami got 14 quarterback hits on Brissett.
It hurts that the Dolphins lost Trey Flowers for the season a month back. Otherwise, he could play a larger role in the team’s effort to replace Ogbah, who missed one game previously, on Oct. 23 against the Steelers with a back ailment. An outside option will likely get a look this week.
But the Dolphins are in an overall positive spot, on a four-game winning streak to get to 7-3 and sitting alone atop the AFC East with an idle week on tap. On the other side of the bye is a home game against the Houston Texans (1-7) that takes Miami through the end of the November.
Then, it’s a challenging final month-plus stretch: at San Francisco, at Los Angeles Chargers, at Buffalo, vs. Green Bay, at New England and a home finale against the New York Jets.
The Dolphins await word Monday on cornerback and special teamer Keion Crossen’s shoulder injury that also caused him to exit in the first half Sunday.
This story will be updated.