Two clutch field goals in Sunday’s upset win at Indianapolis have earned another Dolphins player another league award. Kicker Jason Sanders earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, as the the NFL announced it’s weekly winners on Wednesday morning:
Special Teams Players of the Week (Week 10):
— NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2019
Sanders successfully converted all four of his kicks, including three field goals in the Fins 16 – 12 victory over the Colts. The final two were from 48 yards each in the final six minutes of the game to give and then extend the Dolphins the lead.
Sanders also made a 47 yard field goal in the first quarter and that means that he’s the first Miami kicker to have kicked three or more field goals of 47+ yards in the same game since 1999.
Sanders is in his second season having won the Dolphins kicking job as a rookie free agent in 2018. This season he is 9-13 on field goal attempts with a long make of 54 yards and also, a perfect 12-12 on extra points.
Sanders’48 yarder with just under six minutes to go Sunday put Miami up 13-12.
Next, Colts backup QB Brian Hoyer threw critical interception (his third of the day) to Dolphins DB Nik Needham, and that enabled Sanders to eventually boot the second 48 yard field goal to push the margin to four with 3:31 to go. It obviously forced the Colts to have to score a touchdown to win the game.
In the waning moments, Hoyer drove Indy inside the Miai 20-yard line, but on fourth down at the 16 and less than a minute to go, TE Eric Ebron was stopped short of the first by 2 yards after a completion.
So, Miami took over on downs and ran out the clock out. It was the Fins second straight win after a horrendous 0-7 start to the year.
Sanders is the first Dolphins kicker to get the AFC award, since Cody Parkey kicked four field goals in the week two 2017 win at the L.A. Chargers.
Dolphins look to win in familiar road place
Forgive the Dolphins is they are feeling like they’re having a little “Deja Vu.” That’s because for the second straight week, they will be right back at the Meadowlands, as the visitors. This time, against the Giants.
However, we’ll further forgive the Fins, coach Brian Flores and the fans, if they aren’t quite over last weekend’s trip to “the Big Apple.”
Questionable calls and decisions by the coaching staff have plagued the Dolphins all season. And in the 4th quarter, just when it seemed like they were going to make another one that could cost them the game, they called time out and ended up making the right call.
That’s when Miami, trailing the Jets 16 to 15 and sitting around the 28-yard line, was about to go for it on 4th and one after just hitting a 53-yard field goal earlier. But, after thinking about it, they sent Jason Sanders and the field goal unit on, yet again, with him kicking a 37-yarder… That made it six field goals on the day for the Dolphins, and they finished with an amazing seven made field goals, setting a new Miami Dolphins record.
Going into Week 14, the Dolphins were scoring 16.67 points per game. Prior to their showdown with the Jets this weekend where they covered the spread at SBR best sportsbook, the Fins were putting up 16 points on the road, but now they have managed to increase that number to exactly 17 points per game on the highway.
They did everything they wanted and needed, made the Jets use all three of their time outs and then put up that last field goal to take the lead… but still blew it on defense on first down of the next possession when Darnold threw the ball from the 20-yard line to Smith and coverage went for the deflection instead of a solid tackle in-bounds and the Smith ended up getting a long reception with a chunk of yards after the catch.
Then, a big and controversial pass interference that we wrote about Monday that wasn’t called on the field to keep the drive alive. Then with nothing left on the clock, Jets kicker Sam Ficken boots a field goal to win the game 22-21. Miami lost, but again, they didn’t get beaten by the Jets, they beat themselves with silly mistakes on the final drive.
The Giants have struggled all season. They had a brief moment of hope early in the year when Daniel Jones had a couple of good games. But since then, they have been tail-spinning in a downward spiral. They went back veteran Super Bowl winning QB Eli Manning on Monday night, and looked good for 17-3 third quarter lead. Alas, they allowed the Eagles to tie them late and beat them with a TD in overtime.
That pretty well sums up the sad state of the Giants, who may be parting with coach Pat Shurmur soon.
The G-men are putting up 19 points per game overall, but they fall to 16.66 points per game while at home and allow almost 26 (25.66) per game. Meanwhile, the Dolphins allow 27.33 per game on the road.
So we have what amounts to a less than 1-point scoring differential. This one could be another battle just like we saw last weekend against the Jets.
As we mentioned, the plus side for the Dolphins is it’s the same stadium. It isn’t like they have to go to a different venue on their back-to-back road games, and they should be familiar.
Now, let’s see if Miami can put the ball in the endzone this week.
Pass interference overrule in Jets win over Dolphins shows flaws
The inconsistent application and rulings of the new NFL pass interference replay policy was, again, on full display Sunday afternoon at The Meadowlands. And when the league’s officiating command center gave the Jets a first down on a pass interference call that wasn’t even made by their game officials, it helped New York kick the winning field goal to beat the Dolphins 22 – 21.
And, understandably, Dolphins coach Brian Flores was none too happy with the whole thing.
Although Flores refused to elaborate about why he went running after and arguing with the officials before his post-game handshake with Jets coach (and former Dolphins boss) Adam Gase, it was clear he was none too pleased with the ending to the game.
From last nite…The afternoon for Brian Flores and Adam Gase: Emotions decided by an unseen strangerhttps://t.co/XkUmph2hWK
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) December 9, 2019
To reset the scene, the Jets were driving trying to retake the lead trailing 21 – 19. This was after Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders had made his seventh field goal from 37 yrards for Miami to hold a two-point advantage.
Then on a 3rd and 18 play, Sam Darnold’s incompletion to Vyncint Smith may or may not have been enough contact to throw a flag. The on-field officials let it go.
But, that’s when the NFL supervisor of officials Al Riveron, his assistants and the command center initiated a replay review, as it was under two minutes remaining in the game.
Eventually Riveron overruled the on-field refs, and he gave the Jets the pass interference call, a first down at the Miami 38, and it eventually led to Sam Ficken making the game winning field goal from 44 yards out with no time left.
Now, it was not the first time, even recently, that the NFL has done this in the final two minutes with the game on the line. In the Buccaneers win over the Arizona Cardinals last month, Riveron and the command center overruled the on-field officials having not thrown a flag. That’s when Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans was clearly interfere with in the end zone, as Tampa Bay was looking for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Buccaneers got a first and goal at the one, scored and won the game 30 – 27.
Further adding to the confusion and controversy is that the NFL has been so reluctant to overturn flags for pass interference, one way or the other, throughout this first year of using instant replay for pass interference.
However the command center in New York has now demonstrated, not just with the Evans situation but even another case in the Dolphins-Browns game a couple of weeks ago, that they will use replay to overrule their on-field officials and make a penalty call in the final two minutes of a half or game.
Our Jason Cole wrote that this aspect of the review mechanism is troubling and potentially only going to get worse. This is because the league is interjecting themselves rather than backing their guys on the field who didn’t throw a flag unless it is blatantly obvious.
Back to Sunday, Miami had numerous chances, especially early, to get touchdowns while moving inside the Jets 10 yard line. However, three times, Sanders kicked a field goal of 28 yards or less giving Miami only nine points at the half.
The Dolphins had plenty of struggles in losing to Gase/their AFC East rival, and the replay decisions out New York aren’t going to make anyone feel any better about it.