Before the Miami Dolphins made the biggest splash in free agency by signing wide receiver
The fourth-round draft pick out of Ohio State University back in 2009 has steadily emerged as one of the more underrated but dangerous receivers in the league. His back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards puts him in elite company as just the fourth Miami receiver to accomplish the feat and he set a new career-high in receptions with 76 for 1,016 yards.
Hartline came out of the gate on fire by catching nine passes 114 yards and a touchdown in a 23-10 win at the Cleveland Browns to open the season. His 34-yard scoring reception combined his deceptive speed with the perfect execution of an out-and-up, as he got the cornerback to bite on the move towards the sideline to create separation. He was able to catch quarterback
When the Dolphins made their late playoff push by winning their first three games in the month of December, it was Hartline delivering impressively in the first two games. He matched his season-high in catches with nine at the New York Jets on December 1st for a season-high 127 yards and a touchdown in a 23-3 victory. Once again his scoring play was textbook, this time on a quick slant that he caught in stride about five yards from the line of scrimmage ahead of Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie. He then broke the attempted tackle of future Hall-of-Fame safety Ed Reed for a 31-yard touchdown.
By season’s end, Hartline and Wallace were two very complimentary receivers and the duo became the first since Mark Clayton and Mark Duper in 1991 to each haul in 70 or more passes. The chemistry Hartline had developed with Tannehill in Tannehill’s rookie season in 2012 carried over to last season and should only improve in 2014.
Both of Hartline’s long touchdown receptions showcased his quickness, speed and deliberate route running skills, but it was the play he made at the end of the third quarter in the snow at the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 14 that defines what he is all about. In the final box score it went down as a simple 4-yard touchdown catch, but it was much more memorable than that.
Miami had watched a 17-7 lead disappear in front of a hostile crowd at Heinz Field when Tannehill managed to drive the offense from his own 29 deep into the red zone. Facing a 3rd-and-2, Tannehill took the shotgun snap and rolled to his right, spotting Hartline in the front right corner of the end zone. He delivered a throw on the run that was slightly high and appeared to take Hartline out of bounds. In fact, the officials ruled it incomplete, but Hartline immediately implored Head Coach Joe Philbin to throw the challenge flag and with good reason.
Upon review, the replay showed that Hartline deftly kept both feet inbounds, dragging the right toe to complete the scoring play. That’s a skill he has mastered since his days of catching passes from his father and brother in the front yard back in Canton, Ohio and it came through for him on that play.
Hartline has caught a pass in 26 consecutive games going back to October 14th, 2012, when he failed to have a reception against the St. Louis Rams. That’s the longest current streak on the team and he has caught 150 passes in the last two seasons, the third most in franchise history in back-to-back seasons.
“He’s a very dependable guy. He’s a guy that we as a staff have a lot of confidence in. He’s here every single day. He works hard to improve and get better. He wants to be a good football player.” – Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin
“He does a great job for us. I really trust him and knowing where he’s going to be at, how he’s going to come in and out of breaks. He’s done a good job of getting open and catching the football.” – Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill