So many of Miami’s games this season have come down to the fourth quarter and with painful memories of overtime losses to the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets still lingering, the offense took it upon itself to script a different outcome. Rookie quarterback
“That is one happy locker room and it was great because we needed it,” said Dolphins owner Steve Ross as he left the locker room. “They came back twice and I think it really showed the maturity of Tannehill there. He really led them. It was a great team victory.”
For Tannehill, it was a bit of redemption for him as he had yet to complete a fourth-quarter comeback. But as has been his calling card all season, the first-round pick out of Texas A&M deflected any praise.
“This is huge from a team standpoint because anytime you lose consecutive games like that it’s really rough,” said Tannehill, who finished 18-of-26 for 253 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 97.1 passer rating. “We were just looking to get back on track so to have a big game like this where it’s a total team effort was gratifying. Our defense got a big stop at the end when we needed it, our offense executed in the two-minute and Dan made a big field goal to win the game, that really feels good.”
A little more than five minutes prior to Carpenter’s game-winning kick, Tannehill finished off a six-play, 80-yard scoring drive with a perfectly thrown 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end
“I thought the protection was better over all,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said after the game. “We thought going into the game, these guys have a good pass-rush so my initial reaction is that our protection was good. I thought Ryan extended a couple of plays that allowed him to get the ball downfield a couple of times.”
Defensively, the Dolphins returned to their early season form against the run by shutting down Seattle’s physical running back, Marshawn Lynch. The league’s third-leading rusher coming into the game was held to just 12 yards on nine carries in the first half and finished with 46 yards on 19 carries for an average of just 2.4 yards per carry.
Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson felt the pressure from inside early and once he saw Lynch being handled he realized he had to put the offense on his shoulders. The youngster out of Wisconsin with an impressive outing, completing 21-of-27 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns, but he succumbed to Miami’s pass rush late when it counted in crunch time.
“You couldn’t have really asked for much else out of us in a home game and coming off a tough stretch facing a playoff-caliber team,” said defensive end
The Dolphins were pitching a shutout in the first half and held a 7-0 lead after Bush’s 21-yard touchdown capped off a nine-play, 94-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. But Wilson got his team into the end zone with 29 seconds left in the first half on a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy to tie it at 7-7.
In the third quarter, Wilson put together a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive that he finished off with a 4-yard strike to fullback Michael Robinson, Wake’s college teammate at Penn State. If there was a sense of frustration, Tannehill and the offense didn’t let it show as he put together a seven-play, 82-yard scoring drive that Thomas finished off with a 3-yard touchdown run.
“Ryan and I were on the same page in that fourth quarter and we saw what coverages they were lined up in,” Bess said. “The coaches did a great job by dialing up and it was perfect timing for the specific calls. Coach Philbin stressed it all week about making the necessary plays and we knew that could be the difference in the game.”
The fact that Philbin had the confidence in Tannehill to let him air it out on that last drive rather than play for overtime spoke volumes. He had plenty of confidence in his entire team and they responded in kind.
“I told the guys they never buckled. They never buckled,” Philbin said. “It could have been easy to say, ‘Woe is me’. We hadn’t done a good job throughout the game of complimenting one another, the units. We score and go up 7-0, they score right before the half. We make it 14-14, they take the kick off and go down to score. The guys kept believing in one another, they just kept playing.”
Now the Dolphins get ready to host the New England Patriots in one week at Sun Life Stadium for a chance to close the gap in the AFC East.