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Dolphins wake up in fourth quarter to beat Rams

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For those who missed the first three quarters of Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams, good for you. That especially goes for the Dolphins’ fans.

But if you missed the last half of the fourth quarter, you missed something that has never happened before. Miami, who had done nothing in the first half of the game, marched to two touchdowns in the closing minutes to erase a 10-0 deficit and pull out a 14-10 victory.

In the 50-year history of the Dolphins, they had been shut out in the first three quarters 31 times. Their record in those games was 0-31.

They are now 1-31.

Miami was the poster child of offensive futility for most of the game. They had six three-and-outs on offense.

Among their first 10 possessions were nine punts and an interception. Midway through the fourth quarter, Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill had 57 yards passing.

With 6:38 remaining, Miami took over on their own 23. A little more than two minutes later, Tannehill hit Jarvis Landry with a 10-yard scoring pass to cut the deficit to 10-7. After a three-and-out by Los Angeles, the Dolphins took over with 2:11 left on the clock and 75 yards away from the goal line.

No problem.

With a suddenly accurate Tannehill spreading the ball around, and the assistance of a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty, DeVante Parker caught the nine-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with only 36 seconds remaining.

Miami had 240 yards of total offense for the game, with 152 of those coming in the final two possessions. Tannehill wound up with 172 yards passing and the two touchdowns.

The Rams held Jay Ajayi to only 77 yards rushing, while his Los Angeles counterpart Todd Gurley had only 76. The most active players seemed to be Matt Darr and Johnny Hekker, the punters for both teams. Darr punted 10 times and Hekker kicked it away eight times.

This game started out as something highly forgettable, but turned into something unforgettable. It says a lot about the coaching style of first-year Coach Adam Gase. Sunday’s game seems to prove he has instilled a MAD Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman-style of confidence in his team.

“What, me worry?”

With the way the game played out, Gase was not even sure what, or how, it happened.

“I don’t even know,” he said. “Just nothing was going right for us. We were terrible on offense.”

When it was crunch time, the Dolphins sucked it up and came away with a win. After starting 1-4, the Dolphins have now won five straight games and are squarely in the AFC playoff race.

Next Sunday they host the woeful San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium.

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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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