The Miami Dolphins slim playoff hopes came to an end on Sunday but that didn’t stop the team from making an inspired comeback against the visiting Minnesota Vikings. Miami fell behind 14-0 in the first half only to score touchdowns on all four of their possessions after halftime en route to a 37-35 win. The Dolphins appeared to be in the driver’s seat when Mike Wallace made a highlight-reel touchdown catch to put them up 28-20 with 6:39 left in the game.
Minnesota took advantage of a short field provided by a poor Caleb Sturgis squib kick and scored a touchdown just 1:53 later, tying the game thanks to a successful 2-point conversion. Dolphins rookie Jarvis Landry then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Vikings the ball at Miami’s five yard line. In an 11-second span, Minnesota went from trailing by eight to leading by seven after Matt Asiata ran in his second touchdown of the game with just 4:35 left on the clock. Credit has to go to the Dolphins though, as they didn’t crumble despite the sudden lead change.
Ryan Tannehill, playing one of his best games of the season, led Miami down the field in just 3:24 and tied the game with his fourth touchdown pass of the afternoon. With just over a minute left in the game, the Dolphins defense kept Minnesota from picking up a first down as Cameron Wake came up with a huge sack on third down. A low snap on the Vikings fourth down punt attempt gave Dolphins rookie Terrence Fede enough time to get his big paw in the air and block the kick right out of the back of the end zone, giving Miami the game-winning safety.
It’s unfortunate that one of the most exciting games of the Dolphins season came to an end just minutes after the team was officially eliminated from playoff contention thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs. Still, it was impressive to see the team fighting hard for the win and for their coach, who was told after the game by owner Stephen Ross that he would in fact be returning in 2015. With the season just days away from ending, here are the top performers from the Dolphins thrilling comeback win over Minnesota.
It appears that many of the concerns about Tannehill being the long-term answer for the Dolphins at quarterback have been answered this season. He had just 12 incomplete passes over his 47 attempts on Sunday, throwing for 396 yards and four touchdowns, a career-high, for a QB rating of 118.8. Tannehill became the first Dolphins quarterback since Dan Marino to throw four touchdown passes in one game and has thrown for 300 or more yards in back-to-back games for just the second time in his career.
It’s been very much feast or famine this season for Wake, who has come up with several big games while having others where he was barely noticeable. Wake feasted on the Vikings on Sunday, coming away with four tackles, three QB hits and two sacks. His second sack was one of the biggest plays of the afternoon, stopping Minnesota deep in their own territory and forcing them to punt out of their end zone. The punt would end up being blocked for the Dolphins game-winning safety. Wake now has 11.5 sacks on the season, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to record double-digit sacks three different times with Miami.
Despite playing in an offense that doesn’t go for many big plays, Wallace seems to have settled into a role that has been very productive for the Dolphins this season. He made five catches for 58 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns against the Vikings, one of which being of the highlight-reel variety. Wallace now has 67 receptions and 862 yards on the season while tying a career-high with 10 touchdowns. He’s also made several of the aforementioned highlight catches and has become a leader in the Dolphins locker room.
Miami’s starting running back had a huge impact on their win over the Vikings, both on the ground and through the air. Miller ran for 92 yards and a touchdown while adding five receptions and 58 receiving yards. He’s now 79 rushing yards away from achieving the first 1,000-yard season of his young career. Miller has definitely been a bright spot for the Dolphins, especially after Knowshon Moreno was lost for the season after Week 2.
Watch Miami take on the New York Jets this Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS4, your official Dolphins station!
[display-posts category=”dolphins” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]