Five Plays That Won the Game

The Dolphins wrapped up their brief week of practice Wednesday before taking the next four days off for their bye. The time off gives us another chance to look back at the St. Louis game, more precisely breaking down the five plays that made the biggest difference in the game.

1. St. Louis kicker Greg Zuerlein misses a 66-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the game.

This game came down the last drive after the Dolphins failed to run out the clock and involved a couple of different elements.

When St. Louis moved from its 3 to the Dolphins 45-yard line for a second-and-four with 42 seconds left, it seemed as though the Rams would get themselves in good field goal position for the rookie sensation who had earlier made two field goals but also had his first two misses of the season.

But after the Dolphins pushed Steven Jackson out of bounds for no gain after he caught a pass out of the backfield, Olivier Vernon sacked Sam Bradford for a 3-yard loss to bring up fourth-and-7 from the Miami 48.

There was about 30 seconds left and St. Louis was down to its final timeout. So the Rams either could try to get the first down or let Zuerlein attempt a 66-yard field goal.

Jeff Fisher says there was never any hesitation and the decision was made to go for the field goal after letting the clock run down to 4 seconds before calling the timeout.

Now, the length of the kick wasn't nearly as much of an issue for Zuerlein as the wind. Sure enough, the kick had plenty of distance but was wide left, the third time he missed that way.

The decision to attempt the 66-yard field goal has been second-guessed, but book it that Zuerlein will make a kick that long at some point — if not this season, then next.

2. Ryan Tannehill throws a 29-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Moore in the second quarter

How often have we seen this? A team shows no signs of life for a while, the opponent jumps out to a lead but then misses a long field goal attempt, and the good field position jump-starts everything.

That's what happened to the Dolphins, who took over at their 42-yard line trailing 6-0 after Zuerlein's first miss of the game in the second quarter.

The Dolphins had managed exactly one first down through the first 21:26 of the game and then Tannehill got sacked on first down.

But the Dolphins moved to the Rams 29 and on second-and-5, Moore lined up across from cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

Now, Jenkins is a talented rookie who's got the Pro Bowl in his future, but on this one he made a bad mistake, namely getting caught looking in the offensive backfield.

By the time Jenkins reacted, Moore already was behind him and Tannehill had an easy thrown to make for a touchdown that gave Miami a 7-6 lead.

3. Tannehill hits Reggie Bush for a 14-yard gain in the third quarter

Leading 10-6, the Dolphins got the second-half kickoff after deferring upon winning the coin toss. Thanks to a pass interference on cornerback Bradley Fletcher against Brian Hartline, the Dolphins moved the ball inside the St. Louis 20.

They then faced a third-and-6 when Tannehill faced some pressure. He unloaded a short pass over the middle to Bush, who found a nice opening and was knocked down by safety Craig Dahl just before reaching the goal line.

On the next play, Tannehill hit Anthony Fasano with a short touchdown pass for a 17-6 lead.

4. Cameron Wake sacks Sam Bradford in the first quarter

On the second offensive play of the game, Rams running back Daryl Richardson took a handoff got to the sideline and sprinted 44 yards to the Miami 31-yard line for the longest — by far — run of the season against the Dolphins.

On third-and-5 from the 26-yard line, though, Wake sacked Bradford to force St. Louis to settle for a field goal.

It was almost deja vu on the Rams' next drive when a 65-yard pass to Chris Givens moved the ball to the Miami 11 before the defense stiffened thanks to a third-down sack by Vernon.

Those two drives would set the tone for a day when the Dolphins were able to win despite being outgained by 270 yards.

5. The Dolphins' last punt of the game

One of the plays that got the most attention and was praised for its gutsiness was the fake punt on fourth-and-1 from the Dolphins 40 with 4:15 left.

It was a great call and worked to perfect, but its impact shouldn't be overstated because after gaining 8 yards and being assessed a 10-yard penalty, the Dolphins ended up punting from the 41.

The first down off the fake punt did kill more time off the clock, but the Dolphins held on because the Rams missed a field goal on fourth down not because they ran out of time.

No, what had more impact was the punt from the 41, which Brandon Fields nailed. Jenkins fielded it at the Rams 8-yard line, but Jimmy Wilson was able to drop him at the 6 with some great downfield coverage.

Making matters worse for the Rams, they were called for holding on the play, meaning they had to start the last drive from their 3.

Who knows, those extra yards might have been the difference on the last missed field goal.

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