The Dolphins almost pulled off a remarkable comeback against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, but came up agonizingly close.
A failed two-point conversion attempt proved the difference in a 17-16 loss at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Dolphins went for the victory instead of kicking an extra point to send the game to overtime after Ryan Fitzpatrick, who sparked the Dolphins after coming off the bench in the fourth quarter, threw a touchdown pass to DeVante Parker with 6 seconds left.
Fitzpatrick threw a quick pass to Kenyan Drake in the flat on the two-point conversion attempt and Drake dropped it, even though there were several Washington defenders in the area and he might not have been able to get into the end zone anyway.
As it was, it was a spirited comeback effort for the Dolphins, who trailed 17-3 when Fitzpatrick replaced Josh Rosen early in the fourth quarter.
Fitzpatrick, who started the first two games before Rosen replaced him as the starter, completed 12 of 18 passes for 132 yards in his one quarter of work.
The Parker touchdown capped a 75-yard drive that Fitzpatrick engineered in 1:56. On the drive, Fizpatrick hit tight end Mike Gesicki for a 30-yard gain and had a 5-yard scramble to convert a third-and-2 situation.
Washington built its lead two touchdown passes from Case Keenum to rookie Terry McLaurin along with a 21-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins.
The Dolphins first cut into Washington’s lead with a 1-yard run by Kalen Ballage that was their first second-half touchdown of the season.
On their next two possession, the Dolphins got in Washington territory before the drives stalled. One of those drives began after Preston Williams, filling in for injured Jakeem Grant, had a 21-yard punt return, the Dolphins’ longest this season.
Ballage’s touchdown not only gave the Dolphins their first points in the second half this season, it also was their first rushing touchdown.
It capped a 55-yard drive after Dustin Hopkins was wide right on a 55-yard field goal attempt on the first play of the fourth quarter.
After Fitzpatrick took over at QB, the Dolphins showed their most consistency on offense all game. Kenyan Drake had a 9-yard run, followed by an 8-yard completion to Albert Wilson, making his return to the lineup after missing three games with a calf injury.
After a Drake run gained 5 yards, Fitzpatrick had an 18-yard completion to Mark Walton for the Dolphins’ longest play of the game. Ballage scored on a second-and-1.
The Dolphins then successfully executed an onside kick, but just as was the case in the game at Dallas, it was nullified by a penalty.
Rosen, making his third consecutive start, completed 15 of 25 passes for 85 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also was sacked five times, including the last play he was in the game.
Washington scored the first 10 points of the second half to extend its lead from 7-3 to 17-3.
The first score came on Keenum’s 33-yard pass to McLaurin and the second on a 21-yard field goal by Hopkins after linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton picked off Rosen.
A day after being promoted from the practice squad, cornerback Nik Needham played in his first NFL game and made his first NFL start.
He had a solid debut that included a pass breakup in a third-down situation.
After the teams combined for five punts and one first down, the Dolphins had the legitimate first scoring opportunity of the first half thanks to a daring play.
On a fourth-and-3 from the Washington 45-yard line, punter Matt Haack lined up in shotgun formation and running back Kalen Ballage motioned in front of him. Haack took the snap and handed off to Ballage, who got around the corner for a 6-yard gain.
The drive, however, stalled after a completion to Albert Wilson to the Washington 26-yard line was nullified by a questionable offensive pass interference penalty on Preston Williams.
After the Dolphins punted, Washington put together a 93-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead.
The key player on the drive was veteran running back Adrian Peterson, who had four rushes for 55 yards, including runs of 18 and 25 yards.
The Dolphins moved again into Washington territory on their ensuing possession, but Rosen was picked off by cornerback Quinton Dunbar on a second-and-10 from the Redskins 36-yard line.
The next time they got the ball, the Dolphins got on the scoreboard as the result of a 10-play, 63-yard drive. The big plays on the drive were a 14-yard run by Walton and a roughing-the-passer penalty on linebacker Ryan Anderson.
The Dolphins return to action next Sunday when they face the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field.