Image credit @Complex on Twitter
It was a game that will stay with Dolphins’ fans a long time.
The “Miami Miracle” deserves a place in the pantheon of great Miami Dolphins games, not only for the pure excitement, but also for whom it took place against. To once again defeat Tom Brady in Miami, in this fashion, is one of the most satisfying victories in the Adam Gase era.
A well executed game plan on offense with a creative run scheme mixed in was the formula for success. Ryan Tannehill was efficient in the face of a constant pass rush all game, finishing 14-of-19 for 265 yards, three touchdowns, and most importantly zero turnovers. The offensive line did not pass protect at a high level but their run blocking more than made up for it. Frank Gore continues to fight Father Time successfully gaining 92 yards on 12 carries for an impressive 7.7 average.
Kenyan Drake made a play too.
— 🌊 Miami Sports Wave 🌊 (@MiamiSportsWave) December 9, 2018
This Miami Miracle was a culmination of great coaching, consistent offense, and timely defense. Adam Gase went toe-to-toe with the mighty Bill Belichick. New England could never pull away, and a lot of that was by their own hand.
Several moments defined this game for the ages, let’s take a look at a few.
Gostkowski Goes Full Parkey
Having an outstanding placekicker has served the New England Patriots well over the years. Stephen Gostkowski is one of the best ever, but in this game he was generous to the Dolphins. First he clanked an extra point off the upright on the Patriots’ opening touchdown. Later he would push a 42-yarder to the right, a field goal from that distance is pretty much automatic for him. Those four points would prove pivotal, New England would have been up by nine instead of five on Miami’s final possession, putting the game out of reach.
Rare Brain Freeze From Brady
The end of the first half was one Tom Brady would like to forget. After a second blocked Miami punt put the Patriots in business at the 15, Brady and the offense took over with about 30 seconds left in the half. The Dolphins defense stepped up, forcing three out of four passes to go incomplete. New England burned their last timeout. Tom Brady did not know it was their last time out. Robert Quinn would sack Brady with 14 seconds left and the clock would expire. Three more points left on the field.
Miami Coaches Adjust in Second Half
After getting two punts blocked in the first half, Miami special teams coach Darren Rizzi had seen enough. He changed the punt tactic to rugby style, eliminating the interior pressure up the middle directed at John Denney. In the second half, Matt Burke’s defense bent but didn’t break. They held New England to just six points on two field goals after allowing four touchdowns in the first half.
Gronk is not a Free Safety
The final head scratching move was having Rob Gronkowski as the last line of defense on the final play. Miami was 78 yards from the goal line, you know Tannehill isn’t making that throw. Even with a good shoulder. So a flea-flicker was the likely call. However Gronk was planted on the New England 20 and had to react to Kenyan Drake with a full head of steam. Ted Larsen should get a reprieve from all his previous transgressions, his block sealed the final lane for Drake.
Gronk took a poor angle, stumbling at Drake’s feet in a final desperate attempt to keep him from destiny.
And a Miami Miracle was born.