There have been some crazy gadget plays and wild finishes the over 50 years of Miami Dolphins football, but Sunday may have been the craziest and wildest to the game in franchise history.
And, when it was all said and done, a double lateral run by running back Kenyan Drake (above) with no time left, enabled Miami to turn what look like a hopeless situation into 34 – 33 stunning win over first place in New England at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Dolphins appeared to be finished off in the final minute of the game, as New England moved inside the Miami 10-yard line up 30-28, but after Miami’s defense stiffened. Then, Pats coach Bill Belichick was faced with a bit of a dilemma.
Leading two points, but facing 4th and goal from the 4-yard line, the Patriots had two obvious choices:
Take the easy field goal with one of the best kickers in the last 25 years in the NFL, Stephen Gostkowski ,and pushed the margin to Five Points at 33 – 28.
Or, the other option, to go ahead and go for a touchdown and that clinching score with an extra point could make the lead beyond eight points and put the game away with :16 left.
Belichick chose the higher percentage play, the field goal, to go up by five meeting Miami would have to have a touchdown in the final seconds to win the game.
After the Dolphins rookie RB Kalen Ballage ran the kick out to the 31 yard line. It setup the zany final play for the Fins to make.
That’s when quarterback QB Ryan Tannehill hit Kenny Stills with a pass over the middle. Stills then lateraled to DeVante Parker and Parker scrambled around and then threw a second lateral to running back Kenyan Drake. Drake, proceeded to weave through the Patriot defenders downfield outracing two of them, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was on the field for the final play defensively.
— NFL (@NFL) December 9, 2018
Drake covered the final 52 yards himself and scored with nothing but “zeros” remaining on the clock.
He was mobbed my nearly the entire Dolphin team in the corner of the end zone, as Miami celebrated an improbable second straight win that keeps alive their AFC wild-card hopes in the craziest of fashions.
Coach Adam Gase told the media after the game that they had worked on that play the entire season and it set up exactly like they worked on it with a completion to Stills with him flipping the ball to Parker and then looking to set up a block or two for Drake to have a lane to run for the end zone.
The win deny the Patriots from winning the AFC East for the 10th consecutive year.
It also enables the Dolphins to reach 7 – 6 in the Wild Card Standings, as they get ready to play at the Minnesota Vikings next week.
So yes you can have Tony Nathan catching a backwards lateral in the playoff game comeback against the Chargers in 1981. You can also have Dan Marino’s famous fake spike against the Jets with under a minute to play throwing a touchdown to Mark Duper.
But none of those memorable trick play moments came on a final play of the game touchdown like Sunday did. No, that’s reserved for Tannehill, Stills, Parker and, eventually Kenyan Drake, earning the distinction of the wildest finish to a game Miami Dolphins fans have ever seen.
Dolphins gave WR Parker extension- huge raise Friday
The Dolphins have had a mostly awful 2019 season, however, one of the bright spots this year and for their future, has gotten a new deal and a hefty raise.
Former first-round pick WR, DeVante Parker, will be a Dolphin for some time to come after agreeing to a four-year contract extension that could pay him up to $40 million. The deal was first reported by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, and the Dolphins confirmed Parker agreeing with this video released on social media:
.@DeVanteParker11 is here to stay‼️
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 13, 2019
Parker, who was playing on the fifth year option of his original rookie contract will reportedly get $8 million now to sign the deal and will also receive a fully guaranteed salary in 2020.
Parker has been one of the few bright spots for Miami this season totaling 55 receptions for 882 yards and six touchdowns. The yardage and the TD totals are both career highs for the former first-round pick out of Louisville in 2015. He had a breakout performance two weeks ago in Miami’s 37-31 upset of the Eagles. Parker caught a season high 7 passes for 159 yards and two TDs in the win.
Miami and GM Chris Grier had picked up option on Parker’s original four deal which was paying him $5 million for this season. Grier also has the Fins well positioned under the salary cap this year and next year, as Miami rid themselves of high price contracts for players like QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Robert Quinn and WR Kenny Stills.
The Dolphins do not have much else in terms of receiving talent after having traded away #1 receivers, Jarvis Landry and Stills the last two seasons. And then, Miami saw free agent Albert Wilson suffer a hip injury which cut his 2018 season short, and now, Wilson has been injured much of 2019, as well. Miami had high hopes for big-physical rookie free agent WR Preston Williams, but he tore his ACL in a game in October and is now on IR.
Parker is currently in concussion protocol after last week’s 22 – 21 loss against the Jets. He is officially listed as questionable for this weekend’s game with the Giants.
Fantasy Football playoff “start/sit” advice for week 15
Week 15 of the NFL season brings us the semi-finals of fantasy football leagues. If you are still playing congratulations, you’re almost there. If not, well, then you can always play daily fantasy. This week all three in-state teams have some plus matchups to take advantage of.
The Buccaneers will travel to the Lions. The Dolphins are back in the Meadowlands for the Giants, and the Jaguars travel to the Raiders for the final scheduled game in Oakland.
The Bucs will be going up against the Lions weak defense. The Lions rank 29th overall- 30th against the pass and 23rd against the run. QB Jamies Winston has been dealing with a hand injury, and we now know that he will try to play Sunday. In the event that Winston falters, Ryan Griffin will be one throwing to the Bucs receivers.
If Winston can throw mostly normally, then that opens up more opportunities for Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson. With Mike Evans out due to a hamstring injury, someone will have to step up and take those reps. Perriman has become more and more reliable over the weeks, and Watson rose to the occasion last week with his first TD catch. RB Ronald Jones continues to start, but Payton Barber continues to steal important carries. With both splitting, it will be hard to trust either at this point.
The Dolphins will be facing the Giants on the road and their poor defense. The Giants rank 27th overall, 26th against the pass, and 20th against the run. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has been able to keep the Dolphins competitive in a lot of games this season. Last week he failed to find the endzone, but should change that this week against the much worse defense.
The best fantasy player on the team, DeVante Parker, looks to be on track to play in concussion protocol this weekend, but is listed officially as questionable. He and TE Mike Gesicki continue to be the only trustworthy players to play. RB Patrick Laird has had two productive games in a row. If you are running very low on options this week, perhaps he could be a flex option if you’re desperate.
The Jaguars will head to Oakland and will go against another below-average defense. The Raiders rank 28th overall, 28th against the pass, and 15th against the run. The Jags offense has been in a rut over the past few weeks. There is no better time for them to fix that here against the Raiders. Though, they are better against the run, still expect the Jags to run Leonard Fournette 20 times.
D.J. Chark still is yet to practice with a bad ankle, and was ruled out Friday afternoon. That opens up an opportunity for guys like Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley. QB Gardner Minshew will be another quality option to roster in DFS in a game that could end up being high scoring.
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