Dolphins Pull Off Dramatic Win Over Seattle

Posted Nov 25, 2012

Late offensive fireworks put Miami over the top.

Extra practice on the two-minute drill this week paid huge dividends for the Miami Dolphins as they pulled out a dramatic 24-21 victory over the Seattle Seahawks today at Sun Life Stadium. Dan Carpenter’s 43-yard field goal as time expired proved to be the difference.

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 Ryan Tannehill engineered three fourth-quarter scoring drives to help the Dolphins end their three-game losing streak and improve to 5-6 on the season.

“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.”

Running backs Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas provided just the right balance to Tannehill’s aerial attack with effective runs between the tackles and on sweeps. Bush led all running backs with 87 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and Thomas added 60 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Tannehill contributed another 33 rushing yards as the Dolphins rolled up 189 yards on the ground and 6.8 yards per carry.

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 Charles Clay to tie the game for the second time in the closing stanza. The strong running of Bush on a 22-yard sweep and a dump off to Thomas that picked up 18 yards helped keep that scoring drive alive.

“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. Jared Odrick sacked him Wilson play after his outlet pass to Lynch lost six yards and the Seahawks were out of field goal range with 1:38 left, forcing a punt.

“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 Cameron Wake, who had one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit but applied plenty of pressure on Wilson. “Obviously, for us as a defense having one of the league’s top rushers coming in, it was set up just right. The guys had to continue to believe in one another and it showed our character in the end on both sides of the ball.”

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. Davone Bess hauled in a 39-yard pass from Tannehill for the drive’s biggest play and finished with a career-high 129 receiving yards on seven catches.

“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.
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