MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s not often that a team outgained 462-192 comes out ahead when the final gun sounds, but that’s just what the Miami Dolphins managed to do on Sunday. Between failed red-zone chances and bad field goal kicking, Miami escaped with a 17-14 win over St. Louis.
The win sent the Dolphins to 3-3 on the season and moved them into a four-way tie in the AFC East. The win, the second in as many weeks, sends the Dolphins into their bye week with momentum. Still, things did not go the way the Dolphins had hoped Sunday.
“It’s a lot better than the alternative,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “It’s a long time between games. You’ve got 14 days between games. You’re going to play a very good team on the road. It’s another hurdle. We’ve got a division game on the road. Those are tough to win. That’s what our focus is going to be. It certainly makes the bye week a lot more palatable, no question.”
The Dolphins gave up 162 yards rushing to the Rams after not allowing any running back to go for more than 100 yards against them all season. The Dolphins running game was almost non-existent throughout the game, managing just 19 yards on 18 carries.
What saved the Dolphins was the solid play of rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein hitting an unexpected funk.
Tannehill was 26-39 for 185 yards and two touchdowns, but just as importantly no interceptions. For the season, Tannehill is completing 60 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,454 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions.
On the flip side, the Rams had all the faith in the world in Zuerlein. He had yet to miss a field goal this season heading into the Dolphins game and hit his first two of the game to get to 15 for 15 on the season.
Then, Zuerlein couldn’t hit anything. He missed wide left on three straight field goals. The last field goal attempt was from 66 yards, which would have set an NFL record by three yards. Zuerlein had plenty of leg for the kick to go in, but hooked it wide left.
The reason the final kick was so long was thanks to Dolphins rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon. The former University of Miami Hurricane had two sacks in the game, including one on the Rams’ next-to-last play.
“He’s a football player,” Philbin said. “He’s played a lot and been productive on special teams. He’s a guy that gives a lot of energy and effort out there and sometimes you see him after six plays and you wonder if he’s ever going to make it back to the game.”
The team has rallied around Tannehill and bought into Philbin’s philosophy and that’s going to make the Dolphins a tough out through the rest of the regular season.
“I think we have a better chemistry on the football team,” Philbin said. “They guys have more confidence in themselves, they believe in themselves more.”