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Dolphins take advantage of Browns’ kicking woes to win first game

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It took overtime and some good fortune, but the Miami Dolphins have their first win of the season. Jay Ajayi’s 11-yard touchdown run 6:34 into overtime gave Miami a 30-24 win over the Cleveland Browns at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Dolphins had to like their chances against rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, who was making his first career start. Still, the Browns led at halftime 13-10 on the strength of a Briean Boddy-Calhoun interception return for a touchdown.

It was one of three turnovers by Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He also had another interception and a fumble. Most thought the latter had cost Miami the game.

Miami built a 24-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Browns fought back to tie the game with 3:14 left on a Cody Parkey 38-yard field goal. Cleveland had signed Parkey on Friday when regular kicker Patrick Murray was placed on injured reserve.

Parkey would play a key role in the game, but for the wrong reasons.

Tannehill was trying to lead Miami on a game-winning field goal drive in the latter stages of the game. The worst of his three turnovers came with 20 seconds remaining when he fumbled after being sacked with only 20 seconds remaining.

The Browns recovered and took a knee to run down the clock for Parkey’s game-winning field goal. His 46-yard field goal try was wide left and the game headed to overtime.

It was Parkey’s third miss of the day from makeable range. He also failed on attempts from 41 yards and 42 yards.

After exchanging punts in overtime, Miami took over at the Cleveland 44. Three plays later, Ajayi was in the end zone and Dolphins’ Coach Adam Gase had his first victory as a head coach.

Despite the turnovers, Tannehill threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns. Jarvis Landry hauled in seven passes for 120 yards, including an impressive 42-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.

Former Hurricane Duke Johnson had 69 yards on 10 carries for the Browns in his homecoming.

The 1-2 Dolphins have a short turnaround as they head to Cincinnati to face the Bengals on Thursday night.

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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