The Miami Dolphins lost a heartbreaker at home this past Sunday against another winless team in the Washington Redskins, 17-16.
Flores turned to Fitzpatrick after Rosen struggled
The Dolphins offensive line gave up four sacks on Josh Rosen in just the first quarter alone. This ultimately became one of the factors for Miami choosing to bench Rosen midway through the third quarter. He ended up being sacked a total of five times during the game. After going 15-for-25 for 85 yards and two interceptions, the Dolphins’ coaching staff decided to bench the second-year quarterback for the 14-year veteran, Ryan Fitzpatrick. This came just days after head coach Brian Flores named Rosen the starter for the remainder of the season.
“I thought we struggled in the first half, especially the first let’s call it two, three series. They’ve (the Washington Redskins) got a really good defensive line. Powerful. They were in the middle of the pocket early,” Flores said. “We (Miami) kind of settled down after some time and then played better as the game went on. But we still need more consistency.”
Miami had a solid chance to win when Fitzpatrick entered
Fitzpatrick came into the game down 17-3, and opened with a 55-yard touchdown drive, 44 yards of which came through the air. The drive capped off with a 1-yard TD run by third-string running back, Kalen Ballage.
The Dolphins got the ball back down a TD with 1:56 to play in the game. Fitzpatrick accounted for 74 of the 75 yards on the scoring drive, slinging it for 69 yards on the drive. On the Washington 11-yard line, with six seconds to go in the game, Fitzpatrick connected with wide receiver, DeVante Parker, for what looked to be the game-tying TD.
With all the momentum swinging Miami’s way, the Dolphins looked to come all the way back and force over time against a gassed Washington defense who had no answers for Fitzpatrick.
We don’t want OT, we want the win
However, instead of kicking the extra point to send it to OT, the Dolphins then made the decision to go for the win on a two-point conversion on a pass to RB Kenyan Drake in tight coverage. The pass wound up falling incomplete, giving the Redskins the ball back with next to no time left. Some fans were disappointed by the coaching decision, but most members of the team would rather have laid it on the line than risk taking the loss in overtime.
“There’s a million different things like the play design and everything else that we could talk about; but I felt like the aggressiveness,” Fitzpatrick said. “I felt like giving arguably our best guy the ball and giving him a chance to win it for us, those are the types of situations that I think everybody on the team wants to be in. Kenyan (Drake) is one of our best playmakers.”
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After playing a little more than one quarter of football, Fitzpatrick threw for 132 yards and a touchdown, also scrambling for another five yards.
“I mean we didn’t score, so it wasn’t executed very well. A lot of things could’ve gone a lot better. We’ve got to make a good throw and a good catch. That’s really where it starts. If we don’t get that, then the rest of it doesn’t really matter,” Flores said. “At the end of the day, I think it looked a little bit better watching it again. We may have had a little bit better of a shot watching it last night. At the end of the day, we didn’t execute it, we didn’t get it done. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted.”
Walton gets the nod over Ballage
Former third-string RB Mark Walton entered the game as Miami’s backup to Drake. His play in practice elevated him into the role and moved Ballage down to the third-string back. Walton ended the game with 85 total yards on six carries and five receptions.
“Like I say, I try to go out there on the practice field and do my job each and every day, and I think that’s translating to the field and it gives the coaches more energy to try to put me out there and see what I can do. Practices translate to the game, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do on a week to week basis. It’s just showing up.”
Walton ran for 32 yards and received another 43. He’s still yet to reach the end zone this season, but moved his total yards on the season to 137. This is good enough for 71 on the ground and another 66 through the air. Averaging 4.4 yards a carry, it’s been a productive season for the rookie through six games, despite receiving less than 10 carries per game and one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.
“We’re just trying to win a game. We’re just trying to get something going over here. We went for two. We could have went for a field goal and went to overtime, but we’re trying to win the game. It just came up short, but I like the way everybody came out and competed and worked hard, and pushed through the final quarter and started fighting back. I think we’re just moving step by step and we just have to keep going.”