Ever since wide receiver
By the time Miami faced New England for a second time this past Sunday, Matthews was no longer a secret to opposing defensive coordinators and coaches. Yet he managed to frustrate Patriots head coach Bill Belichick at Sun Life Stadium both at the end of the first half and the end of the game in the Dolphins’ 24-20 upset, catching five passes for 64 yards.
“He made some big catches and had a big one too in the first half when he got out of bounds and saved some time. He made a nice contribution,” Philbin said. “I thought his route running was good. He really reached out and really plucked that one you are talking about in the first half. In the second half he did a nice job in a similar concept of a route, keeping his feet inbounds and those types of things. I thought he did a good job.”
Nobody has ever questioned Matthews’ toughness or his hands since he was taken in the seventh round of last year’s NFL Draft out of Nevada and came on strong at the end of the season. It’s one of the reasons Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman felt confident enough to only keep four receivers on the 53-man roster.
Through 14 games, Matthews has caught 36 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns with four starts after Gibson went down. His best game statistically came at Tampa Bay on a Monday night when had 11 receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns, but his most clutch performance came on Sunday with those two tough over-the-shoulder catches at the end of the first half and the end of the game. That 24-yarder that set up quarterback
“He took a page out of my book on that catch,” said wide receiver
Matthews has been good about giving credit to Hartline, Gibson and
“Me, Marlon (Moore) and Wallace had a couple of touches,” Matthews said. “But as everybody knows, Hartline is the master at it.”
Clearly, Matthews isn’t too far behind.