Keys to the game | Panthers at Dolphins

 

Tannehill-to-Wallace vs. Carolina’s coverage

Who won: Dolphins.

The impact: The big plays the Dolphins envisioned when they signed Mike Wallace to a $60 million contract finally showed up. There was the 53-yard TD pass, on which Wallace was so wide open, it didn’t matter that Ryan Tannehill underthrew him. There was the 57-yarder on which it did matter that Tannehill underthrew him because the Dolphins turned that into only a field goal. And there was the 60-yard desperation pass that Wallace dropped after Tannehill underthrew him.

Dolphins run game vs. Carolina run defense

Who won: Carolina.

The impact: The matchup didn’t look good for the Dolphins coming into the game — their patchwork offensive line against Carolina’s big, physical front seven that has been eating running games for brunch. That’s kind of the way it went. The Panthers held running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas to a combined 16 yards on 13 carries and injured Thomas in the fourth. The lack of a run game prevented the Dolphins from operating an efficient four-minute drill to close out the game.

Cam Newton’s scrambling vs. Dolphins pass rush/containment

Who won: Carolina

The impact: Cam Newton’s scouting report is the same as it ever was: make him a pocket passer. Early on, the Dolphins did just that. On the first drive, the Dolphins hit Newton hard enough to have him spitting up blood. They seemed to use a linebacker as a spy at times. In the second half, Newton ran three times for 27 yards, including a 5-yard score on one touchdown drive. On the game-winning drive, his three runs led to 31 yards, including 15 on a unnecessary-roughness penalty.

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