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Clay Comes Through At The Tight End Position

Posted Nov 25, 2012

Young tight end has his best all-around game.

Even though veteran tight end Anthony Fasano bounced back from a hip injury and managed to start the game, second-year tight end Charles Clay knew he was going to have more on his plate today. That was fine by him as the versatile H-back feasted on Seattle’s linebackers.

Clay caught six passes for a career-high 77 yards and a pivotal touchdown that tied the game at 21-21. His fingertip grab near the right corner of the end zone was the answer to Leon Washington’s 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but he took more pride in the block he made on Marlon Moore’s 9-yard end around on the previous touchdown drive that had tied the game the first time.

“It’s big because that’s what I’ve been trying to do it to be an all-around player and not just be able to catch the ball but to block as well,” Clay said. “I just have to keep it going and at the end of the day to get the win is the most important thing to me.”

Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill grew more and more comfortable with throwing the ball in Clay’s direction as the game progressed, especially after Clay’s diving 18-yard catch in the second quarter. That kept the first scoring drive and led to Reggie Bush’s 21-yard touchdown run for the game’s first score.

Later in the fourth quarter, Tannehill found Clay down the seam for another 19-yard gain and two plays later Tannehill connected with Bess on a 39-yard pass that led to Daniel Thomas’ 3-yard touchdown run and tied the game at 14-14. The touchdown pass on the next drive showcased Clay’s speed and route running ability.

“He had a big game for us,” Tannehill said. “He’s a fast guy for a tight end. He’s able to make plays and to get him involved today, get him some balls downfield, get him a touchdown is huge.”

As the week of practice progressed, Clay found himself more involved in the game plan with Fasano’s status up in the air. He had been waiting for this chance for a while after a slow start to the season and to deliver the way he did was not lost on Head Coach Joe Philbin.

“We found him in a couple of favorable match-ups,” said Philbin, who utilized Jermichael Finley productively when he was offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. “We thought there were some things we could take advantage of and he played well, caught the football well. He got a lot of snaps in the game. I can’t tell you right now how many there were, but I thought he produced well.”

Miami’s running game helped open things up for Clay and Bess all afternoon and Seattle never really seemed to be able to find an answer or a strategy to slow down the Dolphins. That’s what Clay took the most pride in, was being a part of a well-balanced offense that came through when it had to.

“I feel like this week we had a real good week of preparation,” Clay said. “We had a chance to work on our fundamentals and just worry about us and go back and look at some of the things we were doing well and some of the things we weren’t doing so well. So I feel like this week of preparation went real well.”
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