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Dolphins survive in wild overtime game with Bengals Sunday

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It was a wild Sunday afternoon with twists and turns and two teams in the Dolphins and the Bengals who didn’t look like they were “tanking” for anything in next April’s draft. And in the end, Miami survived a fourth-quarter epic collapse to win, 38 – 35.

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 419 yards and four touchdowns but more importantly, led the game-winning overtime scoring drive, as the Dolphins secured a fourth victory on the season.

However, give the Bengals credit in this one, as they came in having won only one game and were in prime position with a loss to lock up the number one overall pick. Instead, Cincinnati veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, who may be playing his final couple of games for the Bengals as he is a free agent at the end of the year, rallied his team, big time, at the end.

Dalton threw three touchdown passes in the final six minutes of the game, including a “Hail Mary” completed to tight end Tyler Eifert through a mass of bodies with no time left to pull the Bengals with two points. Then, with a do-or-die two-point conversion attempt, Dalton rolled to the right and outraced the Dolphins to tie the game at 35 and force the overtime.

The overtime was a mess and looked like two teams that came into the game with only four wins and 24 losses. Each team punted twice in the first seven of the scheduled 10 minutes of extra play. But, Miami got the ball with three minutes remaining and Fitzpatrick went to work.

Having already hit tight end Mike Gesicki (above) for two touchdowns earlier in the game, Fitzpatrick found him with a 14-yard catch to put the Fins in Bengal territory. He then completed a 28-yarder to Isaiah Ford that set up the game-winning field goal. Jason Sanders knocked it through from 37 yards out with no time at left, giving Miami is fourth win on the season.

Fins wide receiver DeVante Parker went over the thousand-yard mark on the year with 111 yards and a first-half touchdown, as Miami built a 21-6 lead at intermission. The game appeared to be a laugher, as Myles Gaskin capped a 9-play Dolphins drive with a 2-yard touchdown run and it was 35 – 12 with 11 minutes left.

But, the Bengals did not quit for first-year Coach Zach Taylor and were able to rally and get the tie. That included Dalton hitting Tyler Boyd with a 3 yard score and getting the two pointer to put them within 35-27 with :29 seconds left. Cincinnati recovered the onside kick to set up the Dalton-Eifert miracle play at the buzzer.

In the end though, Miami wins a game that some of their fans in South Florida will be upset with, because it all but assured that the Dolphins will pick at least fourth and may be as low as 6th or 7th before it’s over in the upcoming draft.

Still, coach Brian Flores and his team have been showing a winning mentality after an 0-7 start. And, they got another one Sunday.

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Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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.

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Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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.

Colorado’s athletic director Rick George said in a statement Sunday night,

“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.

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