2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things to know from Dolphins win over Falcons

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-23 02:45

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - Jubilant to be 3-0 for the first time in 11 years, the Miami Dolphins doused coach Joe Philbin in the locker room with a bucket of icy sports drink.

The players believe they're practicing for celebrations to come.

Surprising Miami rallied Sunday with a 75-yard touchdown drive in the final 5 minutes, scoring with 38 seconds to go to beat the Atlanta Falcons 27-23.

The three-game start is the best by Miami since 2002, and never mind that those Dolphins didn't make the playoffs.

``We have a special team,'' receiver Brian Hartline said. ``Expectations will continue to rise, and high expectations bring out the best in you. We welcome it.''

Backup tight end Dion Sims, a rookie, made a one-handed catch of Ryan Tannehill's 1-yard pass for the decisive touchdown.

``Awesome,'' Sims said of his first NFL score. ``Amazing.''

Atlanta led 10-0 and 20-10 and lost despite advantages of 24-16 in first downs, 377-285 in yards, 5-0 in sacks and 37-23 in time of possession minutes.

``Statistics don't always tell the whole story,'' Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan said.

The injury-plagued Falcons, who were one play from the Super Bowl last season, fell to 1-2. Here are five things we learned in Miami's defeat of Atlanta:

1. MISSED CHANCES: The Falcons stalled four times in scoring territory, and Matt Bryant went 3 for 4 on field goals, missing a 35-yarder that would have given them a six-point lead with less than 5 minutes left.

Ryan led drives of 14, 11 and 13 plays on the first three possessions, but twice Atlanta settled for field goals. As a result, the Falcons' lead was only 13-10 at halftime, even though they kept the ball for nearly 23 minutes in the first half.

``We had a lot of opportunities to finish the game,'' Ryan said. ``We just didn't get it done in the red zone. We have to find a way to punch it in.''

2. TANNEHILL LEADS RALLY: The last-minute comeback victory was the first for Miami's second-year QB. Tannehill finished 24 for 35 for 236 yards and two scores, shook off two turnovers and was at his best at the end of each half.

On the final drive Tannehill went 8 for 11 for 69 yards, with two of the incompletions because of dropped passes. The winner came on second down, when Tannehill lobbed his throw over linebacker Stephen Nicholas to Sims.

Tannehill suggested the play to his coaches during a timeout just beforehand.

His other scoring pass was an 18-yarder to Hartline to make it 20-20 late in the third quarter. Tannehill also moved Miami 60 yards in the final 2:04 of the first half for a field goal on the final play.

3. DEFENSE DIGS IN: The Dolphins lost defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) and linebacker Koa Misi (shoulder) to injuries, but the defense dug in after a slow start.

At one point the Dolphins trailed in total yards by 127-3. Ryan finished with 231 yards passing, and in the absence of Steven Jackson - one of several sidelined Falcons - Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling combined for 139 yards rushing.

But consecutive possessions by Atlanta in the second half netted a total of 10 yards, which allowed the Dolphins to rally.

``Guys had to step up,'' said first-round draft pick Dion Jordan, who came off the bench to see his most extensive action of the season. ``We stuck together and it came up big.''

4. SPECIAL TEAMS TURNOVER: Despite the contributions by Jordan and Sims, the biggest play by a rookie may have come from seventh-round draft choice Don Jones.

A jarring tackle by Jones on punt returner Harry Douglas forced a fumble the Dolphins recovered to set up the touchdown that made the score 20-all.

``Biggest play of the game,'' Miami receiver Mike Wallace said.

5. HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Dolphins are only 35-46 at home since 2003, and they've often played in a half-empty stadium in recent years.

But an enthusiastic crowd of 70,660 reflected the buzz building about the home team. After Hartline's touchdown, he jumped on the bench and waved both arms to encourage more noise from the crowd.

The place could really be rocking in two weeks when the Dolphins play defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore. First comes a game at New Orleans next Monday night.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Mike PounceyJul 23 12:33p

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) could miss the first eight weeks of the season because of the hip surgery he had this offseason, according to a source. He [ More ]

Evan RodriguezJul 23 12:23p

Buffalo Bills FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were hospitalized because of complications from cramps and were getting hydrated, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Rodriguez [ More ]

Dustin HopkinsJul 23 12:20p

Buffalo Bills PK Dustin Hopkins will have to try to make the roster as a kickoff specialist, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Vernon DavisJul 23 12:13p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis has reported to camp Wednesday, July 23, according to an Instagram post from 49ers S C.J. Spillman.

Jason BabinJul 23 12:03p

New York Jets signed DE Jason Babin (Jaguars) to a two-year contract, with the second year being a team option. He's expected to serve as a situational pass rusher.

Reggie WayneJul 23 11:13a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (knee) said he has been medically cleared to practice. He's expected to be limited, though, especially in the near future.

Kraig UrbikJul 23 10:53a

Buffalo Bills OG Chris Hairston continued to receive first-team repetitions at right guard in the red zone drills Wednesday, July 23. OG Kraig Urbik struggled with first-team the previous day.

Jamaal CharlesJul 23 09:53a

Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles will not report to training camp Wednesday, July 23, barring a major contract breakthrough.

Vick BallardJul 23 09:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Vick Ballard (knee) reported to camp and has passed his physical.

Rob GronkowskiJul 23 08:53a

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) has been cleared for contact and will not be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to head coach Bill Belichick.

Evan RodriguezJul 23 08:43a

Buffalo Bills TE Chris Gragg (cramps), FB Evan Rodriguez (cramps) and CB Brandon E. Smith (leg) were out of practice Wednesday, July 23. OT Seantrel Henderson (hip) returned to action.

Rashad JenningsJul 23 08:23a

New York Giants RBs Rashad Jennings, David Wilson and Andre Williams could be used in a three-man rotation this season to keep Jennings fresh.

Caleb McSurdyJul 23 02:53a

The St. Louis Rams waived four players Tuesday, July 22, as they cut loose OL Abasi Salimu, WR Diontae Spencer, LB Caleb McSurdy, and LB Tavarius Wilson.

Carl NicksJul 23 02:43a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey, G Carl Nicks and DE Da'Quan Bowers may be fighting for roster spots once training camp begins due to other competition for their [ More ]

Chris CulliverJul 23 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver (knee) has been cleared to take part in practice when training camp opens this week. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament to [ More ]

Ben TateJul 23 01:13a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate and Terrance West will compete for the starting tailback job during training camp and the preseason, and it's a battle head coach Mike Pettine [ More ]

Joel BitonioJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OG Joel Bitonio (ankle) lined up with the first-team offense during organized team activities (OTAs), and he held the spot until he suffered a sprained ankle June [ More ]

Paul McQuistanJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns OLs Garrett Gilkey, Paul McQuistan and Jason Pinkston are fighting for position in the pecking order at right guard, and one of them might even push OG [ More ]

Craig RobertsonJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns LBs Christian Kirksey and Craig Robertson will compete for an inside linebacker job during training camp, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Joe HadenJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns CBs Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine will compete for the starting cornerback job opposite CB Joe Haden in training camp. 'We weren't going to hand Justin that [ More ]

Gary BarnidgeJul 23 01:03a

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray will battle for the No. 2 tight end spot during training camp and the preseason.

Eli ManningJul 23 12:23a

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) has shown no ill effects during camp from ankle surgery that sidelined him for earlier offseason activities.

Tom CoughlinJul 22 11:53p

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was not happy that several players were forced to leave practice with dehydration issues Tuesday, July 22. 'It pisses me off,' Coughlin [ More ]

Brandon LloydJul 22 11:23p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson is the frontrunner for the No. 3 WR job, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, but he added that neither Johnson nor WR [ More ]

Darren SprolesJul 22 11:13p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles' ability to win one-on-one matchups in space is what head coach Chip Kelly plans to exploit this season. Kelly said opposing defenses played a [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 11:03p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and WR Tori Gurley had miscommunications on three occasions Tuesday, July 22, resulting in two incomplete passes and an interception. Joe Buscaglia of WGR [ More ]

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 10:53p

Buffalo Bills QB Thaddeus Lewis and QB Jeff Tuel are in an open competition for the backup quarterback job, head coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday, July 22.

Brian MoormanJul 22 10:43p

Buffalo Bills P Brian Moorman was more effective than P Jake Dombrowski on punts in terms of both average hang time and average distance Tuesday, July 22.

Titus YoungJul 22 09:53p

Updating a previous story, free-agent WR Titus Young (Lions) was charged with felony battery with serious bodily injury from an alleged July 8 incident inside a Los Angeles-area hospital. [ More ]

Ryan MathewsJul 22 09:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews' rookie contract will expire after the 2014 season, which means this could be his final year with the organization, in the opinion of [ More ]

Mario WilliamsJul 22 09:43p

Buffalo Bills DE Mario Williams, DT Marcell Dareus and DT Kyle D. Williams were all rotated out of the lineup at times during team drills Tuesday, July 22. LB [ More ]

Nigel BradhamJul 22 09:23p

Buffalo Bills LB Nigel Bradham was one of eight players to record sacks during team drills Tuesday, July 22. The team's pass rush has been consistent since camp began, [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group