Tha Sports Junkies 101

Dolphins Upset Falcons After Trailing 17-0 – Quick Review

Dolphins upset Falcons Atlanta Falcons via Flickr


Dolphins Upset Falcons On The Road

The Miami Dolphins just shocked the NFL world in just about every fashion. “Dolphins Upset Falcons On The Road” is the last headline anyone expected to be reading. They came back from 17-0 in Atlanta Sunday afternoon with Jay Cutler leading the charge. Behind two second-half touchdown passes and a couple of clutch throws, talks of benching him are out the window. Although they gave up a couple of big plays, the defense played well and made the game-winning interception with under a minute to play.

Miami played their best football of the season, and are finally showing signs of life.

The Offense Exists

After four games, the Miami Dolphins ranked last in almost every major offensive category. In the first-half, Jay Cutler and company moved the ball, but couldn’t get Jay Ajayi going. However, the offensive line blocked well and gave Cutler time. He only passed for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the game, most of which came in the first-half. Those are not mind-boggling numbers, but the touchdowns are what matter. Following their longest drive of the day, Cutler tossed an interception just before halftime, taking the air right out of the team.

It seemed like a different game in the second-half. Down 17-0, the Dolphins came out flying around and making plays. Jay Cutler marched down the field and threw a third-down touchdown strike with pressure in his face. Cutler was actually better under pressure on Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cutler was 12-of-15 for 109 yards and a touchdown when the Falcons brought pressure.

The next drive, Cutler throws an interception but a roughing the passer call erases it. Two plays later, Cutler finds a wide-open Jarvis Landry to pull within three. After that, the Falcons punt but botch the snap and Miami takes over at the 50. Following two incredible Jay Ajayi runs, Cody Parkey drills the game-tying field goal. On the next drive, Ajayi does the same thing and breaks back-to-back 18-yard runs. Cody Parkey hits another clutch field goal and takes the lead with just over two minutes to go. The rest is history, as the defense put the clamps on Matt Ryan for the entire second-half. Miami scored on all four of their second-half drives and did it exactly how they wanted. Dolphins upset Falcons; reigning NFC champs. THIS is the team Adam Gase has been saying they can be, and here they are.

Defense Bends, Doesn’t Break

Early in this game, Miami’s defense looked pretty lost. With the help of a pass interference call, they gave up with a field goal on the first drive of the game. Then Matt Ryan found a wide-open receiver for a 40-yard touchdown. Reshad Jones bit on the play action, leaving no safety help and an easy touchdown. Two drives later, DeVante Freeman torched the defense for a 40-yard run, setting up a Tevin Coleman red zone touchdown. On both plays, Miami was just out of position, leaving inside running lanes wide open. 17-0 halftime deficit, the game is over, right? Surely “Dolphins Upset Falcons” can’t be a headline?

Whether it was a halftime speech or a halftime threat, this team came to play in the second half. They shut out the Falcons and sacked Matt Ryan twice. Following a third-down stop in the fourth, Atlanta botched the snap on the punt, and the punter was tackled at midfield. This has nothing to do with Miami’s defense, but it is about time they caught a break. Atlanta never crossed the Dolphins 45-yard line in the second half until the final drive of the game. Justin Hardy breaks out for a 38-yard reception, and the Falcons are in field goal range. Three plays later, Ryan throws it deep down the seam to a double-covered receiver. Cordrea Tankersley gets his hand in the bread basket and knocks the ball right into Reshad Jones’ hands. In the most un-Miami Dolphins win of all time, the defense comes to play.

Can This Continue?

Dolphins upset the Falcons, and play their best game of the season. The play calls are creative, plays are being executed, and in the wise words of Adam Gase, “guys are doing their jobs.” The defense is playing fast and physical but needs to work on giving up big plays. Offensively, this is by far the best game of the season for both Jays in the backfield. Special teams were crisp, and if you take away the paid of 40-yard plays by Atlanta, this game is probably a lot closer at halftime. Miami hosts the Jets next week, looking for revenge after they embarrassed the Dolphins a few weeks ago. The Dolphins need to score early and let the defense feast. If Miami wants to continue to win, they need to replicate Sunday’s effort in Atlanta.