Miami Dolphins’ kicker Jason Sanders set the franchise record for made field goals on Sunday, cashing in on seven-of-eight tries. He broke kicker Olindo Mare’s record of six made field goals in a single game that came on Oct. 17, 1999 in New England.
“I think he did a great job all day. Seven is a pretty remarkable number of field goals in a game. Every time we really needed it, he kept hitting them, especially that last one. That was a great kick,” Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said.
Sanders joins elite company
Sanders joins just eight other kickers in NFL history to make seven field goals in one game: Jim Bakken of the St. Louis Cardinals (1967), Rich Karlis of the Minnesota Vikings (1989), Chris Boniol of the Dallas Cowboys (1996), Billy Cundiff of the Cowboys (2003), Shayne Graham of the Cincinnati Bengals (2007), Cairo Santos of the Kansas City Chiefs (2015), Greg Zuerlein of the Los Angeles Rams (2017) and Jason Myers of the New York Jets (2018).
The NFL record for field goals in a game is still held by Rob Bironas of the Tennessee Titans in 2007 when he made eight field goals, including the game winner, to beat the Houston Texans. Sanders would have tied Bironas’ record, but he missed a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter. He did however hit from 22, 25, 28, 31, 53, 47 and 37 yards respectively.
Jets win as time expires
The feat does come in a last-second loss to division-rival New York (5-8), 22-21. Opposing kicker Sam Ficken hit a game-winning 44-yard FG as time expired to help the Jets avoid a season-sweep from their South Florida foe.
Sanders, Fitzpatrick lead team plagued with more injuries
Sanders and Fitzpatrick did most of the heavy-lifting in the loss. Miami’s (3-10) game-plan took a drastic hit when wide receiver DeVante Parker got knocked out of the game with a concussion in the second quarter and was done for the game. Parker has been relied on heavily as of late with the team going through three starting running backs and season-ending injuries to multiple WRs. Furthermore, WR Albert Wilson was also knocked out of the game and is also in concussion protocol.
“Obviously, when you go into a game with a specific game plan with guys in mind, when you lose one player at any position, you have a backup for that. When you lose two, that’s when it’s tough,” Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said. “I would say Allen Hurns, he was dinged a little bit and really, really fought through. Again, Isaiah Ford stepped in and played well. Mack Hollins who we just got a couple days ago, he stepped in and gave us some good snaps, drew a pass interference penalty.”
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With Parker out, it was Ford who was the team’s leading receiver. He entered the game as the team’s No. 4 wideout but finished with six catches (nine targets) for 92 of Fitzpatrick’s 245 yards. Additionally, Hurns finished second with five catches on eight targets for 68 yards – a career high for him in a Dolphins’ uniform.
“(I) just (have) to stay ready. That has been my mindset this entire year, to be ready when my number is called. I’ve had confidence in myself the entire time that I can play at this level. I know I can go on the field and help our team win,” Ford said.
Miami run game making progress
RB Patrick Laird made his first career NFL start and carried the ball 15 times for 48 yards for 3.2 yards per carry. In just one game, Laird nearly doubled Kalen Ballage’s season YPC total. Laird also added four catches for 38 yards on five targets and was the team’s third best receiver. Fitzpatrick had the most rushing production on the team as he ran the ball seven times for 65 yards.
“Just when you thought this season couldn’t get any crazier. Isaiah (Ford) has been on the active (roster) and off, on the practice squad and up and down. He’s worked so hard. He’s a guy we have so much faith in as quarterbacks because whenever anybody has a question, sometimes when coaches have questions, we’ll go back to Isaiah and say, ‘What is this signal? What is this route?’ and he knows everything,” Fitzpatrick said. “I was happy to see him get out there and get an opportunity to catch some balls and really take advantage of it and make the most out of it today.”
How New York stayed in the game
For the Jets, not much went right for them either, but they did score two TDs. Both scores came in the first half, the first, a 26-yarder from QB Sam Darnold to WR Robby Anderson. The second, a 14-yarder from Darnold to WR Demaryius Thomas. Anderson piled up 116 of Darnold’s 270 yards on seven catches (11 targets). No other Jet had more than three catches.
New York was also missing starting RB Le’Veon Bell who missed the game with an illness. The Jets used somewhat of a committee approach with Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery who combined for 105 rushing yards. Powell rushed 19 times for 74 yards and Montgomery rushed nine times for 31 yards.
Miami took the lead on Sanders’ seventh made FG of the day with 1:37 remaining in the game, but its defense, who has been improving from week to week, faltered and couldn’t hold New York out of FG range. The Jets were able to spike the ball with four seconds remaining in the game at the Dolphins’ 26-yard line to kick the game winner.
The Dolphins will stay up in New Jersey as they will play in the Meadowlands for a second straight week when they face the New York Giants in the NFL’s week 15 on Sunday at 1 p.m.