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Miami Dolphins

Amazing numbers show Dolphins dismal record setting Sunday

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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It’s now been around 48 hours since the Dolphins attempted to play the Baltimore Ravens in their Sunday 2019 opener. And that’s the right word, attempted, because in the end, Baltimore embarrassed the Fins on a record-breaking scoring Sunday at Hard Rock stadium.

If you need it further illuminated, here are the numbers (most of them awful for Miami) but wild, nonetheless:

42- the record number of first-half points ever allowed by the Dolphins in any game. It’s also the most ever scored by the Ravens in a first-half in their franchise history. It did come up short on the most first half points in NFL history, as that’s 1983 Packers scoring 49 in the first half of a game with the Buccaneers.

59- record most points scored by the Ravens in any game, and it was the most points scored in a season opener in the NFL, since the 1973 Atlanta Falcons scored 63 points in their first game that year.

158.3- the perfect passer rating for Ravens second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson. The foremer Heisman Trophy winner became the youngest QB in NFL history to attain that mark as he is just 22 years, 8 months and threw five touchdown passes in the first half alone, in the rout of the Dolphins.

83 and 47, the distance on two touchdown bombs that rookie Marquise Brown caught from Jackson in the first half making him the first player in NFL history to have two touchdown catches of 40 yards or more, as a rookie in the first game of the season. Miami obviously had no answer for his speed downfield.

35 – 3 that was the score with just over two minutes remaining in the first half, when Ravens coach John Harbaugh authorized a fake punt run on a 4th and 1 at his own 30 yard line. Linebacker Anthony Levine took off up the middle and raced 60 yards to the Miami 10 yard line. And, it led to the sixth touchdown just before half-time for Baltimore.

48-3 that had been the previous Dolphins worst home loss, to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1968. that is before they lost by 49 Sunday.

643  the franchise record number of yards the Ravens put up  and it was also the most ever allowed by the Dolphins in their franchise history in a single game. The previous mark was 622 yards compiled by the Patriots in a 2011 game.

52 – 3 that was the score when Harbaugh once again called for his team to pile on. Instead of kicking a field goal on 4th and goal at the three, backup quarterback Robert Griffin III hit tight end Mark Andrews for their final touchdown and the 59 – 10 margin.

17 – the number of plays the Dolphins ran before they finally crossed midfield late in the first half. That’s when QB Ryan Fitzpatrick hit DeVante Parker with a 49-yard pass to the Baltimore 27. It eventually led to Jason Sanders 54 yard field goal and the first points of the year. However, it only slightly dented Baltimore’s lead of 28 – 3, at the time.

And finally,

14.5 the opening spread for the defending champion Patriots in Las Vegas for this week’s game. That number, almost unheard of for road favorites this early in the season, may rise as the week goes on and more people bet New England, too.

Miami Dolphins

“Mountaineer Shot” earns Dolphins K Sanders AFC honors

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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One of the great trick plays, not just of this NFL season but in recent pro football memory, has earned the Dolphins kicker who caught a touchdown pass Sunday AFC weekly honors.

The league announced Wednesday that kicker Jason Sanders, who became the first place-kicker to catch a touchdown pass in 42 years, is the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week:

Sanders also made his only field-goal attempt, as well as two extra points, earned the weekly honor for Miami’s 37 – 31 upset of the Eagles.

However, it is the play that is known as “Mountaineer Shot” that Sanders will forever be remembered for not just in Dolphin history, but NFL.

We wrote about the play on Monday, as head coach Brian Flores and special teams coordinator Danny Crossman implemented the direct snap to punter Matt Haack, while players were spread wide on either side of the formation.

Haack then, took the snap, rolled left and when the Eagles rushed at him, he flipped the ball to Sanders for the touchdown. The play is named for the center, Kilgore, because he played at Appalachian State, whose nickname is the Mountaineers. And, it’s something that Dolphins had been practicing regularly on and off for the past two months.

Furher, as for the historical aspects of the play, Sanders became the first kicker to catch a touchdown pass in an NFL game since Baltimore’s Jim Turner did it in a game in 1977.

It is also the first time since the AFL – NFL merger in 1970 that a punter has completed a touchdown pass to a kicker and the play will live on for years and years to come.

It is the second time that Sanders has won the AFC special teams player of the week award this season. He also got the honor for his two clultch 48 yard field goals in the fourth quarter of the Dolphins 16-12 upset of the Indianapolis Colts in November.

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Dolphins fans still buzzing over “Mountaineer Shot” trick play

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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Move over, “Miami Miracle,” we now have a rival Dolphins trick play that will be talked about forever by fans and observers.

While it wasn’t the crazy lateral clinching play that Miami scored on with no time left to defeat the Patriots last December, “Mountaineer Shot,” as it’s known, is one of the wildest gadget plays to ever score a TD in the NFL. That’s because it involved the punter throwing to the kicker for a touchdown on a fake field goal.

It was the second quarter with the Dolphins trailing the Eagles 13 – 7, when Miami elected to kick a field goal (or so we thought) from Philadelphia’s 1-yard line.

That’s when dolphin punter Matt Haack lined up behind Center Daniel Kilgore with Miami spreading players to the right and the left. Then, what happened next was comical special teams touchdown, maybe in NFL history:

Haack’s first ever NFL completion was a forward option pitch to the kicker, Jason Sanders. And for good measure, it was Sanders first reception in his entire football career (dating back to high school) with the play stunning the Eagles and helping Miami pull off a 37 – 31 upset win.

Here was more on the play from David Wilson of the Miami Herald, including how long coach Brian Flores, special teams coach Danny Crossman and the players had been waiting to pull it out of the bag of tricks:

“We felt like that was a good time to run it,” coach Brian Flores said, and it gave us a spark….

“It was one of those plays Miami had been waiting weeks for the chance to run. Tight end Mike Gesicki said the Dolphins started working on it about two months ago and have been waiting weeks for the right opportunity to arise. Sunday finally presented such an opportunity….

“The gutsy call was just the latest in a line of gutsy calls by special teams coordinator Danny Crossman. In an October loss to the Buffalo Bills, Haack ran for a first down on a fake punt attempt. Last month, the Dolphins successfully executed a surprise onside kick in another loss to the Bills….

“The gutsy call was Crossman distilled to his mad-scientist essence.

“Danny Crossman is crazy. Like what is he dreaming up? This is the NFL,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “Like, that’s not—that doesn’t happen.”

Of course there is further irony that the Eagles famously ran their “Philly Special” play, which was an option pass to then-quarterback Nick Foles, for a touchdown in their upset of the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.

So, teams have constantly been looking to get the Eagles on trick plays themselves.

This would include the Patriots having run a double pass to wide receiver Julian Edelman, who threw a touchdown against them in New England’s 17-10 victory couple of weeks ago at Philly.

Back to “Mountaineer Shot” on Sunday. The play is named for the center, Kilgore, because he played at Appalachian State, whose nickname is the Mountaineers.

And as for the historical aspects of the play, Sanders became the first kicker to catch a touchdown pass in an NFL game since Baltimore’s Jim Turner did it in a game in 1977.

And, it is the first time since the AFL – NFL merger in 1970 that our punter has thrown a touchdown pass to the kicker.

Oh, and the Fins have suddenly come to life with three wins in four games after and 0-7 start. And, it’s in part because the team is still playing hard for a coach and coaching staff that’s willing to take wild risks they did with “Mountaineer Shot,” Sunday.

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