The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

FINS WIN THE MEANINGLESS BOWL

In a game pitting two teams going nowhere, the Fins emerged victorious over the Vikings when a blocked punt with 41 seconds remaining in the game resulted in a game-winning safety.  It was an exciting end to a game that gave the Fins a chance at a winning record this season, which will be decided next week in the Fins’ season finale against the Jets.  A win against the Jets would take the Fins’ record to 9-7, but a loss would leave them with the same 8-8 record they had last season.  Either way, the game against the Vikings meant nothing more than they had won this week’s Meaningless Bowl.

The Fins were outplayed in the first half and headed to the locker room down 17-7, thanks in part to 2 timeouts called by Head Coach Joe Philbin which enabled the Vikings to score late in the half.  Although they only managed a field goal, they came very close to a touchdown.  But even those 3 points almost came back to haunt the Fins who otherwise would not have needed the safety to pull out the win.

Dolphin QB Ryan Tannehill was 35 of 47 (74.5%) for 396 yards.  He had 4 TDs and 1 INT.  His QB Rating was an impressive 118.8.  It was his second consecutive 300+ yard effort, but it came all too close to being in a losing effort (as it was last week).  After all, the Fins were down 35-28 with 4:35 left in the fourth quarter.  Tannehill then led an 11-play, 80 yard drive to tie the score at 35.  When the defense forced a three-and-out, it set the stage for Terrence Fede’s heroics when he cleanly blocked the punt, sending the ball out of the end zone and with it the Fins to victory.

One would think that Tannehill’s strong effort will go a long way to tilting the scale in his favor with regard to the difficult decision he Fins’ face this offseason when they must decide whether to pay the $15 million price tag to continue trying to determine whether he is the QB of the future.

Mike Wallace caught all 5 balls thrown his way, two of them for TDs.  Darien Williams caught all 6 balls thrown his way, one of which for a TD.  Charles Clay had 6 catches for 114 yards.  Lamar Miller (who also ran for 98 yards) caught 5 balls for 58 yards.  Miller did an excellent job of moving the chains on Sunday.

Viking QB Teddy Bridgewater made some very impressive throws and showed great picket presence for a rookie.  He threw 2 TD passes and had a QB Rating of 114.1.  His only turnover was an interception that resulted from a tipped ball.  It was an impressive day for the young man in his return to Miami.  It just didn’t have quite the ending he would have liked.

So now the Fins head toward their last game of the season.  Having beaten the now 6-9 Vikings really doesn’t say too much, particularly since they just barely won the game.  Now they can try to finish the season with a 2-game winning streak if they can beat the Jets at home next Sunday.  Too bad they couldn’t finish last season with a win when that would have meant going to the playoffs.  Instead, they will play the 3-12 Jets in what will be yet another Meaningless Bowl.

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