Call him a possession receiver. Tell him he doesn’t have the speed to be a downfield threat. In other words, believe Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess doesn’t have what it takes to do what he did in the fourth quarter when Sunday’s game evolved out of the mud into a modern NFL score-o-rama.
Bess’ three catches for 63 yards, the flourishing finish on a seven-catch, career-high 129-yard day, put the Dolphins into position for the touchdown that tied the game at 14 and the 43-yard field goal that gave the Dolphins a 24-21 win.
No receiver has caught more passes in his first five seasons as a Dolphin than Bess, who now has 315 since the Dolphins signed him as an undrafted free agent (yeah, that’s 32 NFL teams telling him they didn’t think he could do what he’s done).
So it figures that a slot receiver averaging from 10.0 to 10.5 yards per catch throughout his career turned into a big-play receiver for a quarter Sunday for an offense that hadn’t had a 20-yard play in weeks.
“Every game I approach, I’m expecting to have a big game,” Bess said. “From that standpoint, we were excited about the game. It was a good game plan this week. Coach dialed it up and we made the necessary plays.”
What he didn’t expect on second-and-4 from the Dolphins 43 with the Dolphins down 14-7 was the nothingness he found. Out of the left slot, Bess moseyed through the middle of the Seahawks defense, passed off into a gap in the deep right portion of Seattle’s coverage.
Wants one back
The busted coverage yielded only a 39-yard gain instead of a touchdown when Bess stumbled to the ground while catching the ball and regained his feet as Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner arrived on the scene. Bess got shoved out of bounds.
“Whoo, I don’t know, I don’t think so,” Bess said when asked if he’d ever been that open. “I wish I had that one back, but we scored, so it’s all good. I was just trying to secure the catch. That’s the biggest thing in that situation. People don’t understand, those are the hardest ones to catch right there.”
That cost the Dolphins nothing. Daniel Thomas scored on a 3-yard run after a roughing the passer penalty nullified a Seattle interception.
The 14-14 tie forged there grew to 21-21 when the Dolphins took over on their own 10-yard line with 1:32 left. What happened early in the drive usually would determine how much the Dolphins would press for the regulation win. And Bess streaked over the middle to get open for a 19-yard gain to spark the drive.
No one around
Following a 15-yard scramble by Ryan Tannehill and an illegal motion penalty, Bess got open where he’s not supposed to be able to — deep into a secondary packed with Pro Bowlers. Tannehill hit him for 26 yards to the Seattle 36.
Kicker Dan Carpenter said that play put the Dolphins in field goal range. Eleven more yards and Carpenter nailed the game winner.
“[Bess] was just doing a good job getting open,” Tannehill said. “He’s an elusive guy who’s able to get open on man coverage and he was going it.”