Top News: Comeback Victory In Atlanta

Posted Oct 15, 2017

Reshad Jones’ game-clinching interception would have been sweet no matter what. That it came in his first NFL game in his native Georgia made it that much sweeter.

This was the Dolphins’ first game in Atlanta since 2009, which was Jones’ final year at the University of Georgia before he would come to Miami as a fifth-round pick. Jones made sure to give a shout-out to his hometown when he talked about the victory.

“It was a huge win for us in my hometown of Atlanta, against a great team,” Jones said. “We’ve got the ball going in the right direction. We’ve just got to keep it going.”

The interception was Jones’ second big play in as many weeks. You may recall he returned a fumble for a touchdown in the 16-10 victory against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday.

On the play, Jones caught a rebound in midair after Cordrea Tankersley broke up a pass intended for tight end Austin Hooper instead the Dolphins 10-yard line.

“Tank made a great play,” Jones said. “I kind of cheated a little bit back side and came up with the tipped ball. I kept my eyes on the ball and made a great play.”

Great Comebacks: The victory against the Falcons marked the biggest comeback for the Dolphins since December 2005 when they overcame a 21-0 deficit against the Buffalo Bills to win 24-23. It also tied for second-biggest second-half comeback in franchise history. The Dolphins overcame a 24-6 deficit to beat the New York Jets in the famous “Fake Spike” game in 1994, and they overcame a 17-0 deficit to beat the Bills 21-17 in 1968.

Winning the close ones: The Dolphins’ magic in close games continues. The Dolphins improved to 3-0 this season in games decided by seven points or less, increasing their franchise record to 11 consecutive victories in such games. The streak began with the 30-24 overtime victory against the Cleveland Browns last September and includes victories last season against the Bills (30-25), Jets (27-23), Chargers (31-24), Rams (14-10), 49ers (31-24), Cardinals (26-23) and Bills (34-31 in OT), and against the Chargers (19-17) and Titans this year.

O-line perseveres: The Dolphins scored all of their points in the second half with second-year player Jake Brendel playing at center. Brendel, who was playing in his sixth NFL game, took over after Mike Pouncey left the game with a concussion late in the first half. “We felt confident (in Brendel),” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “He’s a focused kid. This wasn’t new to him and he didn’t flinch. He came in there and did a great job.”

The Jay way: Running back Jay Ajayi rushed for a season-high 130 yards in the victory against Atlanta, complete with a season-high four runs of 10 yards or longer. Ajayi had three runs of 18 yards, including two in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins showed a commitment to stick with the run despite falling behind, with Ajayi getting five carries on the first drive of the second half when the score was 17-0. “He makes it real easy to stay with,” Head Coach Adam Gase said. “It’s almost like throwing the ball. You’re going to get some of these 10-, 12-, 15-yard runs. He’s a tough guy to bring down.”

Anatomy of a touchdown: The Dolphins’ second touchdown came on a misdirection play where all offensive players moved to the right and Cutler then threw left after Jarvis Landry looped back to that side. Gase said after the game the play actually was designed for Cutler to pass to fellow wide receiver Kenny Stills, who was among those going to the right. “That was supposed to be Kenny’s touchdown,” Gase said. “I’m glad that (Cutler) kept his head up.”