Myles Gaskin scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a 6-yard run with 1:47 left to give the Dolphins a 34-27 victory against the Atlanta Falcons in their preseason opener at Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday night in Brian Flores’ first game as head coach.
Gaskin broke a 27-27 tie with a 6-yard run after Atlanta decided to go for the first down on a fourth-and-9 from its own 16-yard line and defensive end Dewayne Hendrix came up with his second sack of the game.
The Dolphins clinched the victory when Jalen Davis broke up a long pass on fourth down after Atlanta had moved to the Miami 25-yard line in the final minute.
Josh Rosen, who is in a battle with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting quarterback position, did not throw a touchdown pass but guided two touchdown drives that ended with 1-yard scoring runs by Kalen Ballage in the second quarter and by Mark Walton in the third.
Walton’s run gave the Dolphins a 20-19 lead before quarterback Jake Rudock had the only touchdown pass of the game for the Dolphins, a 6-yard completion to Gaskin with 8:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Atlanta tied the score with 4:43 left with a 15-yard touchdown run by Quadree Ollison followed by a two-point conversion.
Rookie free agent wide receiver Preston Williams, who was among the stars of the scrimmage last weekend, had another big performance with four catches for 97 yards.
Rosen completed 13 of 20 passes for 191 yards with one interception, and a passer rating of 75.2.
Fitzpatrick started at quarterback and played two series, both of them in the first quarter. He was 2-for-5 for 20 yards, with a 52.1 passer rating.
He guided the Dolphins to a field goal drive on the opening possession of the preseason, with Jason Sanders connecting on a 48-yard field goal. Fitzpatrick’s best play came he spun to his left to avoid a pass rusher and threw a 14-yard pass to DeVante Parker while still moving to his left.
Rosen came into the game in the second quarter, and his first series ended with Ballage’s 1-yard dive one play after a defensive pass interference call in the end zone gave the Dolphins a first-and-goal.
The best play of that possession came when Rosen completed a 16-yard pass to Williams while he was being dragged down by a Falcons defender.
Rosen put together a 70-yard drive at the end of the first half to set up Sanders’ second field goal, a 23-yarder with three seconds left. He completed two passes to Williams on the drive, the first good for 36 yards when Williams snagged it down the left sideline with his left hand, the second when Williams tiptoed to get both feed in bounds. That second play first was ruled incomplete before the call was overturned after it was reviewed.
The defensive highlight of the first half came when Nate Orchard brought down Atlanta quarterback Matt Schaub for a sack. Linebacker Jerome Baker led the defense in the first half with five tackles.
Hendrix had a sack early in the second half; Tyrone Holmes and Jonathan Ledbetter combined for a third-down sack right before the two-minute warning before Hendrix’s second sack.
Rosen had the Dolphins in position to pad their 27-19 lead early in the fourth quarter, but wide receiver Allen Hurns fumbled inside the Atlanta 20-yard line after catching a short pass.
Kenyan Drake gained 9 yards on a running play on the Dolphins’ first offensive play, and Patrick Laird (19) and Ballage (16) each had runs longer than 15 yards.
Atlanta got first-half touchdowns on 1-yard runs by Ito Smith and Brian Hill, along with two field goals by Giorgio Tavecchio. Hill’s touchdown came after Kenjon Barner took a screen pass from Matt Schaub and went 37 yards to the 1-yard line.
One of the Falcons field goals was set up by linebacker Jermaine Grace’s interception of a Rosen pass.
Among the Dolphins players who did not play were tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receivers Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant, linebackers Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso, cornerback Eric Rowe and safety Reshad Jones.
Defensive tackle Kendrick Norton, who was placed on the waived/non-football injury list after losing an arm in a car accident in early July, served as a honorary captain and was at midfield for the pregame coin toss, along with game captains Jerome Baker, Bobby McCain and Daniel Kilgore.