Breaking Down A Record Breaker

Posted Oct 4, 2012

Hartline's historic day can be looked at in many different ways.

Brian Hartline wasn’t really in the mood to celebrate his record-setting performance after last Sunday’s 24-21 overtime loss at Arizona, but it clearly was something worth savoring.

Four days later, as the Dolphins continue to prepare for Sunday’s game at Cincinnati, it’s worth another look.

By now, everyone knows that Hartline set a franchise record with 253 receiving yards, topping the mark of 238 set by Chris Chambers in a December 2005 game against the Buffalo Bills.

But did you know that Hartline’s receiving total was the highest in an NFL regular season game since 2006 when Buffalo’s Lee Evans gained 265 yards against the Houston Texans.

Did you also know that Hartline also set a Dolphins record for most total yards from scrimmage with his 253, topping by 1 yard the mark set by Troy Stradford in 1987 against Dallas when he rushed for 169 yards and caught passes for 83 more.

It was a performance for the ages, one that easily would have earned Hartline AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors had the Dolphins been able to pull out the victory.

On Monday, Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin called what Hartline accomplished “a rare day that’s not common.”

Hartline’s big day came two weeks after he recorded the first 100-yard game of his career in the 35-13 victory against Oakland, finishing with nine catches for 111 yards.

That was nothing compared to what Hartline produced at Arizona.

By halftime, Hartline already had 110 yards on six catches. Included was a 57-yard catch in the second quarter that was the team’s longest reception of the season.

Hartline, of course, topped that with his 80-yard touchdown, which gave Miami a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter. That was, ironically, his only catch of the fourth quarter.

Breaking down Hartline’s day by quarter, he had two catches for 19 in the first, four catches for 91 yards in the second, four for 55 in the third, one for 80 in the fourth, and one for 8 in overtime.

He also was the intended receiver on the overtime pass that was intercepted and might have had another big gain had Ryan Tannehill not been hit as he was delivering the ball. See, as happened so often during the game, Hartline had gotten himself open on the play.

As it was, Hartline had to settle for the 253.

On the 80-yard touchdown, when Arizona inexplicably let him run free deep across the field, he simultaneously reached the 200-mark plateau and broke Chambers’ team record. That catch gave him 245 yards.

Although it didn’t add to his yardage, Hartline also got the Dolphins 17 yards in the third quarter when he drew a pass-interference penalty from cornerback Greg Toler. Hartline also drew an illegal contact flag from William Gay in the second quarter, but that penalty was declined after Hartline came down with the 57-yard reception.

Along with the long gains of 80 and 57 yards, Hartline also had a 30-yard reception and four other catches good for 10 yards or more.

Hartline finished with one touchdown on the day, but his 19-yard reception paved the way for Miami’s first touchdown late in the first half. It’s easy to remember fullback Jorvorskie Lane’s 1-yard touchdown run when the Dolphins decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal, but it was Hartline’s play on third-and-goal from the 20 that set it up.

It truly was a remarkable performance for the fourth-year wide receiver, but even he didn’t know quite the magnitude immediately after the game.

“I had no idea,” Hartline said. “It’s huge to be etched in history. I don’t want to smile right now, but I’m proud to say I belong in Dolphins history.”

Game Pass: Miami Dolphins