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.
Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway in Indianapolis this week and on Monday morning, one of the prized quarterbacks that will be available early in the first round of the draft was there for official measurements and to meet with teams.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, whose season ended with a fractured hip last November, is on the road to recovery and he was officially measured and also, met with numerous teams that are looking at the possibility of drafting him:
Tua Tagovailoa measured at 6-0, 217 pounds at the NFL combine today. Left throwing hand at 10”
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) February 24, 2020
In addition to not only the injured hip, but also a history of high ankle sprain problems, Tagovailoa has got to answer critics on his size. At just 6 – 0 feet there will be concerns about his ability to clearly see downfield through the massive bodies on NFL Sundays.
However, this can be combated by moving him around out of the pocket and that’s something that Alabama was successful at doing over his three years as well.
As we wrote recently, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering a fractured hip on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan
He came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.
Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.
In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.
As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.
Tagovailoa is obviously on the Dolphins list to look at strongly to select in the top five in the draft and currently, Miami is slated to pick fifth.
It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even, early April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.
Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday
Former UCLA coach and recently promoted Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell is headed back to college, as the new head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.
The school confirmed Dorrell’s hire on Sunday evening with a five-year contract to take over their Big 12 program:
We'd like to officially introduce you to our new HC, Karl Dorrell.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) February 23, 2020
The Buffaloes have been seeking a head coach since there coach Mel Tucker abruptly left to take the Michigan State job earlier this month.
Dorrell came to the dolphins with Brian Flores this past season, as wide receiver coach and earlier last week was promoted to assistant head coach for the upcoming season. Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, blossomed under Dorrell’s tutelage as the year went on. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns becoming the favorite target of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Dorrel is the latest Dolphins assistant on the move. Flores fired the offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea he brought with him from New England. And, his defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the same job with the Giants.
Dorrell had also been the Dolphins receivers coach, previously from 2008 – 10 and then, their quarterbacks coach in 2011 under the late Tony Sparano.
“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”
The CU Board of Regents still have to approve Dorrell’s contract, which will be $18 million for five seasons.
Dorrell had previously been on Colorado staffs two other times in his career, including most recently as offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995- 98.
Dorrell was named head coach of his alma mater UCLA in 2003, where he lasted five seasons and went to a bowl game every year finishing with a career 35 – 27 record before being fired after the 2007 season.
Dorrell had previously been receivers coach for the New York Jets 2015 – 18 under Todd Bowles (above) and two of his receivers had made the Pro Bowl during his time there.
Colorado picked Dorrell from an interview process that also included former Buffaloes player and Kansas City Super Bowl offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who interviewed and was under strong consideration.