Ryan Fitzpatrick was the NFL’s leading passer in week 16. DeVante Parker eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. Mike Gesicki had his first multi-touchdown game. Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins had a big-man offensive touchdown. Myles Gaskin rushed for his first career TD. Isaiah Ford had two key grabs in the Miami Dolphins’ game winning-drive in over time to set up Jason Sanders for the game-winning field goal as time expired. The Dolphins won their fourth game this season in their home finale.
Amidst all those accomplishments that spread smiles across the faces of Dolphins fans everywhere, the looks on their faces when Miami blew a 35-12 fourth quarter lead to force OT with the worst team in football told a different story.
“They’re (Cincinnati) out there making plays, too. I think that we put ourselves in a position to go out and win a game and then they came back and kept fighting, so you tip your hat off to them,” Gesicki said.
Cincinnati’s wild fourth quarter forces OT
Andy Dalton lead the now 1-14 Cincinnati Bengals all the way back to almost create the Miami Unmiracle, after South Florida saw arguably the greatest play to win a game in NFL history. Dalton connected for two TDs and two successful two point conversions in the final 33 seconds of the game to force extra football.
He found No. 1 WR Tyler Boyd for a three-yard strike with :33 remaining and after a recovered onside kick, he found tight end Tyler Eifert for a 25-yard score as time expired. Dalton then rushed wide right for the two-point conversion to tie it all up at 35.
“I’m thinking, ‘No way. No. No way. Well, they’ve got to get the 2-point conversion. Well, they’ve got to get an onside kick. Well, they’ve got to score again. Well, they’ve got to get the 2-point conversion (again).’ And it all happened. That’s tough. That was tough for us to kind of reset,” Fitzpatrick said.
Dolphins get it done as Sanders wins it as time expires
Miami won the coin toss and elected to receive in the extra frame. It was driving down the field, with Fitzpatrick successfully killing clock, but a drop after contact by Gesicki in Bengal territory forced the drive to end with zero points.
Cincinnati however failed on the ensuing possession to pick up any points of its own. With the ball back in the hands of the Dolphins, they turned to Ford who has come in clutch more times than not in his young career. Ford hauled in a 15 and 28-yard catch on the game-winning drive to set up Sanders to be the hero once again. As time expired, Sanders shot a 37-yard field goal into the direct center uprights.
“We all knew the situation. There was not much to be said, honestly. We were just dialed in, knowing that we had to get in at least field goal territory. Ball security, being alert, anything that the defense wanted to give us was going to … at that point, they were kind of in desperation mode at that point,” center Daniel Kilgore said. “So just for us, we just knew what we had to get done and luckily ‘Fitz’ and guys made big plays. Jason (Sanders) came in and put it through the uprights.”
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Fitzpatrick set up Parker, Gesicki and Wilson for memorable days
Fitzpatrick completed 31 of 52 passes for 419 yards and four TDs in the victory and made history again. He passed Tom Brady (3) and tied Aaron Rodgers for career games of throwing for more than 400 yards and four scores, doing it for the fourth time in his 15-year career.
Parker and Gesicki benefited from Fitzpatrick’s accolade the most on Sunday. Parker was 46 yards away from 1,000 yards on the season entering the contest, and finished with 111 yards on five receptions. He also popped in his ninth TD of the season and will have a chance to reach double digits for the first time in his career in the season finale next weekend. Gesicki hauled in six catches for 82 yards and two trips to the end zone. Both only trailed Albert Wilson (seven catches) for the lead on the day.
“I mean eventually, one of the seasons I would have 1,000. It happened to be this one. Thank ‘Fitz’ for that, and the o-line and everyone else,” Parker said. “’Fitz’ trusts me coming up with the ball in one-on-one coverage. I trust him, too.”
Miami also finally had a leading rusher who actually plays the running back position. Rookie backup Myles Gaskin garnered 16 carries for 55 yards and scored his first career TD from two yards out in the third quarter.
What do you mean a DL just got an offensive TD?
Just to add more trick plays in the book for Miami this season, Wilkins got the scoring started on a trick play for the team’s first TD of the game. He lined up in the red zone and the 315-pound lineman was tossed a pass from a few yards out for the score.
“We worked on it earlier in the week, so I knew it was a possibility. Once we got into the huddle, (Fitzpatrick) made sure I knew ‘this is a pass.’ I appreciated that. But then it was right there for me,” Wilkins said.
Miami honors 1972 perfect team
To add to the excitement, Miami also honored head coach Don Shula and the perfect 1972 Dolphins team who went undefeated and won the Super Bowl that season. The team was recently voted the best team in the NFL’s 100-year history in its “NFL Greatest” campaign.
Week 17 spoiler in the cards
Miami will finish up its season next weekend away in New England and will look to play spoiler (again for how many times?) as it tries to knock the Patriots out of a first-round bye position for the playoffs.