Jay Ajayi, the second-year Miami Dolphins tailback who had not run for more than 48 yards in a professional game until Week 6, was coming off of two consecutive 200-yard games, which is something only players like Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, and Jim Brown had accomplished.
If he had managed to get 200 rushing yards against the New York Jets on Sunday, Ajayi would have become the first player in NFL history to run for 200 yards or more in three consecutive games. Instead, Ajayi had a respectable 111 yards on the ground against the No. 1 run defense in the league to help the Dolphins beat the Jets with a final score of 27-23.
While Ajayi missed setting an NFL record on Sunday, what can’t be denied is the impact his play is having on a Dolphins’ offense that desperately needed a spark. Miami has won three consecutive games after starting the season 1-4.
Ajayi’s rise to the NFL record books is even more impressive when you consider how out of left field it was. The Boise State product ran for just 187 yards his rookie season. Through four games in 2016, he’d run for only 117 more.
Then he emerged out of the ether to lead Miami to a 30-15 upset over Pittsburgh thanks to a 204-yard, two-touchdown performance. One week later, he carved up Buffalo for 214 yards.
A bye in Week 8 made the world wait for another Ajayi performance, and the Jets promised to give the young tailback a challenge. New York had limited Baltimore to just 11 rushing yards in its last game. However, after eclipsing 100 yards against the Jets, Ajayi proved himself once again to stake his claim as one of the best runners in the NFL.