04-May-2015 17:11pm
 
RealTime Fantasy Sports
5 things to know from Dolphins win over Falcons

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-23 08:07

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - Jubilant to be 3-0 for the first time in 11 years, the Miami Dolphins doused coach Joe Philbin in the locker room with a bucket of icy sports drink.

The players believe they're practicing for celebrations to come.

Surprising Miami rallied Sunday with a 75-yard touchdown drive in the final 5 minutes, scoring with 38 seconds to go to beat the Atlanta Falcons 27-23.

The three-game start is the best by Miami since 2002, and never mind that those Dolphins didn't make the playoffs.

``We have a special team,'' receiver Brian Hartline said. ``Expectations will continue to rise, and high expectations bring out the best in you. We welcome it.''

Backup tight end Dion Sims, a rookie, made a one-handed catch of Ryan Tannehill's 1-yard pass for the decisive touchdown.

``Awesome,'' Sims said of his first NFL score. ``Amazing.''

Atlanta led 10-0 and 20-10 and lost despite advantages of 24-16 in first downs, 377-285 in yards, 5-0 in sacks and 37-23 in time of possession minutes.

``Statistics don't always tell the whole story,'' Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan said.

The injury-plagued Falcons, who were one play from the Super Bowl last season, fell to 1-2. Here are five things we learned in Miami's defeat of Atlanta:

1. MISSED CHANCES: The Falcons stalled four times in scoring territory, and Matt Bryant went 3 for 4 on field goals, missing a 35-yarder that would have given them a six-point lead with less than 5 minutes left.

Ryan led drives of 14, 11 and 13 plays on the first three possessions, but twice Atlanta settled for field goals. As a result, the Falcons' lead was only 13-10 at halftime, even though they kept the ball for nearly 23 minutes in the first half.

``We had a lot of opportunities to finish the game,'' Ryan said. ``We just didn't get it done in the red zone. We have to find a way to punch it in.''

2. TANNEHILL LEADS RALLY: The last-minute comeback victory was the first for Miami's second-year QB. Tannehill finished 24 for 35 for 236 yards and two scores, shook off two turnovers and was at his best at the end of each half.

On the final drive Tannehill went 9 for 12 for 69 yards, with two of the incompletions because of dropped passes. The winner came on second down, when Tannehill lobbed his throw over linebacker Stephen Nicholas to Sims.

Tannehill suggested the play to his coaches during a timeout just beforehand.

His other scoring pass was an 18-yarder to Hartline to make it 20-20 late in the third quarter. Tannehill also moved Miami 60 yards in the final 2:04 of the first half for a field goal on the final play.

3. DEFENSE DIGS IN: The Dolphins lost defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) and linebacker Koa Misi (shoulder) to injuries, but the defense dug in after a slow start.

At one point the Dolphins trailed in total yards by 127-3. Ryan finished with 231 yards passing, and in the absence of Steven Jackson - one of several sidelined Falcons - Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling combined for 139 yards rushing.

But consecutive possessions by Atlanta in the second half netted a total of 10 yards, which allowed the Dolphins to rally.

``Guys had to step up,'' said first-round draft pick Dion Jordan, who came off the bench to see his most extensive action of the season. ``We stuck together and it came up big.''

4. SPECIAL TEAMS TURNOVER: Despite the contributions by Jordan and Sims, the biggest play by a rookie may have come from seventh-round draft choice Don Jones.

A jarring tackle by Jones on punt returner Harry Douglas forced a fumble the Dolphins recovered to set up the touchdown that made the score 20-all.

``Biggest play of the game,'' Miami receiver Mike Wallace said.

5. HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Dolphins are only 35-46 at home since 2003, and they've often played in a half-empty stadium in recent years.

But an enthusiastic crowd of 70,660 reflected the buzz building about the home team. After Hartline's touchdown, he jumped on the bench and waved both arms to encourage more noise from the crowd.

The place could really be rocking in two weeks when the Dolphins play defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore. First comes a game at New Orleans next Monday night.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Zac StacyMay 1 08:22a

St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy has asked the team for a trade or to be released after the team selected RB Todd Gurley in the first round of [ More ]

Sam BradfordMay 1 12:52a

The Philadelphia Eagles offered the Tennessee Titans two first-round picks, one third-round pick, DT Fletcher Cox, CB Brandon Boykin, LB Mychal Kendricks and QB Sam Bradford in exchange for [ More ]

Ryan TannehillApr 30 10:52p

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is coming off his best season as a pro, and the team has added WR Kenny Stills, WR Greg Jennings, WR DeVante Parker and [ More ]

Manuel RamirezApr 30 10:42p

The Detroit Lions traded the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft to the Denver Broncos for C Manuel Ramirez, the 28th overall pick, the 143rd overall pick and a 2016 fifth-round pick.

Trindon HollidayApr 30 03:32p

San Francisco 49ers WR Trindon Holliday was released Thursday, April 30, while OG Fou Fonoti and WR Lance Lewis were waived.

Montee BallApr 30 03:32p

Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball is confident that he will regain the lead-back role with the team, but admitted that RB C.J. Anderson deserves the job right now. Ball [ More ]

Philip WheelerApr 30 03:22p

Free-agent LB Philip Wheeler (Dolphins) signed with the San Francisco 49ers Thursday, April 30. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 30 02:12p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is still expected to remain with the Vikings even though former NFL WR Cris Carter indicated Peterson could be traded in the near future.

Tom CrabtreeApr 30 01:02p

Free-agent TE Tom Crabtree (Saints) has announced his retirement from professional football.

Bruce IrvinApr 29 11:33p

The Seattle Seahawks do not plan on picking up the fifth-year option on LB Bruce Irvin, according to sources.

L.J. FortApr 29 03:13p

Cincinnati Bengals LB L.J. Fort was waived Wednesday, April 29.

Martellus BennettApr 29 02:33p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett could be on the move since the Bears are entertaining trade offers for him, according to sources. Bennett is looking for a new contract [ More ]

Johnny ManzielApr 28 08:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's commitment is 'night and day' from last year, according to Browns OT Joe Thomas, Tuesday, April 28. Manziel has been participating in the Browns' [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 28 06:13p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers will not be traded, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Additionally, the Chargers will not extend Rivers' contract as of now, but they [ More ]

Matt ForteApr 28 05:13p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte was not present for the team's commencement of their voluntary minicamp Tuesday, April 28. Forte was also absent for the beginning of the offseason [ More ]

Quanterus SmithApr 28 01:23p

Denver Broncos DE Quanterus Smith (knee) was waived Tuesday, April 28, after a failed physical on his left knee. Smith played in 15 games last year and had 11 tackles and zero sacks.

Dion JordanApr 28 01:13p

Miami Dolphins DE Dion Jordan will be suspended for the entire 2015 season for another substance abuse policy violation, according to league sources. Jordan will not appeal the suspension.

Quanterus SmithApr 28 10:32a

Denver Broncos DE Quanterus Smith was waived Tuesday, April 28, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 28 08:52a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is 80% likely to remain with the Vikings, in the opinion of ESPN insider Chris Mortensen.

Sam BradfordApr 28 01:13a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford was acquired to be the team's quarterback, not as a trade pawn. Bradford will only sign an extension with the Eagles with a no-trade [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 27 09:12p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers hadn't been the topic of conversations between the Chargers and other NFL teams as of Monday, April 27. There have been plenty of [ More ]

Jonte GreenApr 27 04:22p

Buffalo Bills CB Jonte Green was released Monday, April 27.

Michael CoxApr 27 02:42p

New York Giants RB Michael Cox was waived Monday, April 27.

Philip RiversApr 27 02:12p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers is unlikely to be traded to the Tennessee Titans on draft day this Thursday, April 30. A deal couldn't be done without Rivers [ More ]

Sam BradfordApr 24 06:02p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota could be selected by the Philadelphia Eagles if the team could make trades with the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans, according to one draft rumor. [ More ]

Chris PolkApr 24 05:42p

Philadelphia Eagles restricted free-agent RB Chris Polk's tender offer has been rescinded by the Eagles, according to a source. Polk will become an unrestricted free agent and allowed to sign with any team.

Jaiquawn JarrettApr 24 04:52p

New York Jets restricted free-agent SS Jaiquawn Jarrett signed his tender offer Friday, April 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Hakeem NicksApr 24 01:42p

Free-agent WR Hakeem Nicks (Colts) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the Tennessee Titans Friday, April 24.

Justin BlackmonApr 24 12:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon is likely done with the Jaguars if he's reinstated into the league, in the opinion of beat writer Ryan O'Halloran.

Adrian PetersonApr 23 05:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson may not be in the Dallas Cowboys' plans after all, according Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson said the Cowboys have not spoken to the Vikings regarding Peterson.

Demaryius ThomasApr 23 03:32p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has decided not to participate in offseason workouts because he does not want to suffer an injury, but general manager John Elway does not [ More ]

Will HillApr 23 03:12p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent FS Will Hill signed his tender offer Thursday, April 23, according to sources. Hill received a one-year deal worth $1.54 million.