NOTEBOOK: Matthews Has Coming Out Party; Other Notes

Posted Nov 11, 2013

Second-year wide receiver was Tannehill’s go-to guy all night.

There was plenty of concern for the Miami Dolphins when veteran wide receiver Brandon Gibson suffered a season-ending knee injury at New England two weeks ago, but Rishard Matthews knew he could step in.

And step in he did tonight against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Matthews caught 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, all career highs, as he became the first NFL receiver since Kelvin Martin of the Dallas Cowboys in 1988 to catch his first two career touchdowns on Monday Night Football. Coming into the game, Matthews had totaled 10 receptions for 117 yards in eight games but he became the one receiver Tampa Bay could not cover beginning in the second quarter and his 11 catches are tied for the most in team history on a Monday night with Ted Ginn’s 11 for 108 on September 21st, 2009 at the Indianapolis Colts.

“He played well and he was very productive,” Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “We’ve said many times he’s a competitive guy. He likes to practice, he likes to go out there and he played well. He caught the balls that were thrown to him, he got open, he competed for the balls and I thought he played well.”

As if moving into a tie for third place in franchise history for the most touchdown receptions on Monday Night Football wasn’t enough, Matthews also became the first receiver in franchise history to have 11 or more receptions and two touchdowns in a single game. Those 11 catches also tie him for the third most in Dolphins history behind Chris Chambers’ 15 for 238 yards against Buffalo on December 5th, 2005 and Jim Jensen’s and Brian Hartline’s 12 (Jensen at New England on November 6th, 1988 for 110 yards and Hartline at Arizona on September 30th, 2012 for 253 yards.

Things started going Matthews’ way on the final possession of the first half when he was the catalyst behind Miami’s 90-yard scoring drive on nine plays that culminated with his 6-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone. The second-year receiver out of Nevada caught five passes for 51 yards on the nine-play drive and caused a 15-yard roughing penalty on Tampa Bay’s Dashon Goldson after he was head butted without his helmet following a 12-yard reception.

“We have guys like Hartline and Wallace on the outside and me playing the Zebra receiver, he’s a big part of the offense as well,” said Matthews, who was a seventh-round draft pick last year. “With Brandon going down I needed to step up and me and Ryan have been together for two years so I don’t think he had a problem with targeting me.”

Matthews’ 19-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was a play that Tannehill checked to at the line of scrimmage because he recognized the coverage. After taking the shotgun snap and faking the inside handoff, Tannehill saw Matthews all alone to his left and floated a perfect pass to him that Matthews caught in stride and raced untouched into the end zone for Miami’s first lead of the game at 16-15.

Prior to tonight, the most passes Matthews had caught in a single game was four for 42 yards in the home opener this year against the Atlanta Falcons and he is hoping he is not done yet.

Statistical milestones

Tannehill recorded his fourth multi-touchdown passing game of the season and now has seven games with two or more touchdown passes in his career. … His 12 consecutive completions are the fifth most in franchise history behind Chad Pennington’s and Chad Henne’s 17, Dan Marino’s 15, 14 and 13 and Earl Morrall’s 13. … Safety Jimmy Wilson intercepted his second pass of the season and second of his career in the third quarter and returned it 23 yards to the Bucs’ 7, setting up Caleb Sturgis’ second field goal. He is now tied with cornerback Brent Grimes for second on the team behind Dimitri Patterson, who had four interceptions. … Cornerback Nolan Carroll recorded his first sack of the season and second of his career.


The Dolphins return home this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Sun Life Stadium in a game that was flexed out by the NFL from a 1p.m. kickoff to a 4:05 p.m. kickoff.
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins