Only a few minutes separated the Miami Dolphins from cooling off the NFL’s hottest team at Sun Life Stadium, but a late touchdown drive by the Carolina Panthers allowed them to escape with a 20-16 win.
Miami drops to 5-6 with the loss and travels to face the New York Jets next Sunday. Carolina improves to 8-3 by winning its seventh consecutive game and first ever over the Dolphins in five tries.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen with 43 seconds remaining thwarted the Dolphins’ upset bid and their bid to go one game over .500. It’s the ninth game this season that has come down to the fourth quarter for Miami.
“This was probably more frustrating than if they would have come here and just put 50 points on the board,” said Dolphins defensive end
Carolina’s comeback victory also rendered Dolphins wide receiver
Newton was harassed all afternoon by an active Dolphins defensive front and was sacked twice, once by
“I thought in the first half we did an excellent job, not only on pressure but getting him to the ground a couple of times and not letting him out of the pocket,” Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “I think we had him at a second and fifteen and he scrambled away. There were two or three times in the second half where he got away from us and got positive yardage and that’s something you don’t want to have happen when you’re playing him.”
It looked like the turnover was going to result in seven points and a 20-3 halftime lead for Miami but Tannehill’s pass to
Newton drove Carolina 52 yards on eight plays in 1:01 at the end of the half to set up Graham Gano’s 46-yard field goal as time expired, giving his team a little momentum. He then engineered a 14-play, 83-yard drive to open the second half, capping it off with a 5-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 16-13.
The two teams kept trading punts after that until Newton was able to come up with the necessary plays on that final drive and take advantage of what looked like a tired Dolphins defense. Early on in the drive it appeared that Miami was going to close the deal, putting the Panthers in the position of having to convert on fourth-and-10 from their own 20, but Newton found wide receiver Steve Smith for 19 yards to keep the drive alive.
“We knew that we had another chance to be in a game like that, in a game-winning type of situation where it was going to come down to a last play or a last drive and that’s exactly what it was,” defensive tackle