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Dolphins Record 17-14 Win Over Rams

Posted Oct 14, 2012

Defense comes up clutch to get Miami to .500 on the season.

It was only fitting that on the day Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas went into the Dolphin Honor Roll it was the defense for the Miami Dolphins that helped preserve a 17-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon’s sack of Rams quarterback Sam Bradford with 37 seconds left seemingly pushed St. Louis out of game-tying field goal range. Vernon had to go back on the field as a member of the field goal defense team when Rams head coach Jeff Fisher sent rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein out to try a 66-yard field goal.

“I was thinking, ‘Man, I hope they don't make a 66-yard field goal right here,” said Vernon, who finished with two sacks. “The adrenaline was pumping and it felt great to see it not go through.”

Miami heads into its bye at 3-3 on the heels of back-to-back wins and feeling a little better about the rest of the season after losing back-to-back overtime games to the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. The Rams also are 3-3 and were the first team to find success running the ball against the league’s best run defense coming into the game.

By game’s end, St. Louis had rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries for an average of 6.0 yards per carry, but the Dolphins’ streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher was extended to 20 games. That ties the franchise record set back in 2002-03.

Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill also put together his best day so far this season by completing 21-of-28 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 112.0.

“I thought his decision-making was good again. He played a smart game,” Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “He didn’t give the ball to the opposition. There weren’t a lot of throws there. They had more guys than we had. I’m not saying every throw was perfect, I’m not saying everything was 100 percent, but when you don’t throw the ball to the other team, that’s a good place to start. I know that’s simplistic, but I thought he was pretty efficient. He ran the offense well.”

Thanks to the defense tightening up in the red zone after giving up a 44-yard run to Daryl Richardson on the opening drive and a 65-yard pass play from Sam Bradford to Chris Givens later in the first quarter, Tannehill found himself down only six points. He was able to get the offense going after Zuerlein missed a 52-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Tannehill engineered a six-play, 58-yard scoring drive and capped it off with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Moore with just over five minutes left in the first half. He held onto the ball long enough to allow Moore to fake out the defensive back and get open down the field.

“We ran a double move on him and the corner bit pretty hard,” Tannehill said. “We saw it earlier in the week on film. We thought their corners would bite and made then pay early in the game, so it was a big play for us.”

Moore had not had a catch this season prior to the game having missed time with a hamstring injury but ended up with a career-high three receptions for 46 yards. He was the third receiver in that particular formation and saw the Rams trying to take Brian Hartline away.

“That’s how this offense works, where if they take one away of course the other person has to be able to step up,” Moore said. “Being on the back side and the other side of Hartline and Davone (Bess) just gave me an opportunity to make plays and when the ball came my way I caught it and that’s all she wrote. It’s a team win, point blank.”

Clearly, Moore has been listening to Philbin and what he’s been preaching as the offense, defense and special teams did just enough to give the Dolphins another a “W” in the win-loss column.

“I think we have a better chemistry on the football team,” Philbin said. “The guys have more confidence in themselves, they believe in themselves more. I think we’ve had all different units contribute to a team win, even though the offense certainly doesn’t like the stat sheet. They’re not going to be happy watching the tape tomorrow. When you play a game in the National Football League and you have zero giveaways, it’s a great place to start.

“You have a really good chance to win especially when you have a punter like we have and a relatively good defense. That’s the thing I’m most pleased with, as I told the guys in the locker room. We’re going to have a ton of corrections but we’ve got some guys that care and give very good effort.”

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