Sometime later tonight when the San Diego Chargers are flying back across the country, strong safety Marcus Gilchrist is likely to utter the name
Gilchrist was the player Clay bowled over on his way into the end zone in the third quarter of the Miami Dolphins’ 20-16 win at Sun Life Stadium. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during Clay’s 39-yard touchdown reception that broke a 10-10 tie on what was Clay’s career-high sixth catch of the game.
“That was huge,” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has gotten Clay into the end zone four time this season. “I saw a point, threw it to him in the opening and I never thought that it was going to be a 39-yard touchdown. But he’s a tough runner and a big physical guy that showed his physicalness and toughness getting into the end zone.”
When San Diego’s plane does land, all Gilchrist needs to do is watch the sports highlights of the play that put Miami in the lead for good and he’ll have a better idea of what Tannehill was talking about. Clay caught the ball in the right flat maybe four yards from the line of scrimmage on a 1st-and-5, split two defenders and then left his footprints all over Gilchrist. He shook off the attempted tackle of linebacker Donald Butler and pranced into the end zone.
Head Coach Joe Philbin has been preaching about those types of runs after catch all season and was hoping to get them from all of the skill positions – tight end, running back and wide receiver. Chances are he will be playing the film of Clay’s play more than a few times this week as Miami prepares to host the Carolina Panthers.
“We’ve struggled – let’s put it on the table – to make real big, explosive plays and we need more of them,” Philbin said. “Sometimes you just have to have a player decide that he’s going to break some tackles and kind of make it on his own. … It wasn’t a long pass, but he made it.”
Being as this is the third time in his short career that Clay has caught six passes and he fell just 10 yards shy of his second 100-yard receiving game, he could be on track for more of those types of plays.
The Chargers were driving towards a possible go-ahead touchdown or at the least a fourth field goal that would have cut Miami’s lead to one point with under five minutes left in the game. Quarterback Philip Rivers had moved the offense from his own 20 the Miami 29 and faced a 3rd-and-5 when he lined up in the shotgun looking to convert another first down.
Dolphins defensive end
The Dolphins host the Carolina Panthers at Sun Life Stadium next Sunday at 1 p.m.