Maybe the Dolphins have found their new tight end for their jumbo-plus packages.
That would be 6-6, 335-pound defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, who used his giant mitts to grab what must be, for him, that tiny little football, returning his first career interception 17 yards.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase, known for his work on the offensive side, saw the tail end of Phillips’ third-quarter play, which set Miami up at the Jets’ 14-yard line, resulting in a field goal.
“If there’s one guy who — when the ball comes at you — he’s going to catch it, [it’s Phillips],” Gase said after the Dolphins defeated the Jets 27-23 on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. “He has really good hands.”
Phillips, a second-year player who has been mostly a disappointment since the Dolphins drafted him in the second round last year out of Oklahoma, made a great read on the play.
He dropped back in a zone-blitz concept and stepped in the passing lane. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick targeted tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the play and obviously didn’t expect to find Phillips in his path.
Too late, though, as Fitzpatrick — who had an NFL-high 11 interceptions entering the game and threw two more on Sunday — had delivered the ball … and now the real fun was beginning.
Phillips made like a running back — surely every lineman’s dream — and hurdled over a would-be Jets tackler.
“I thought [the Jets player] was going to go low on me,” Phillips said. “I just jumped, and, luckily, I didn’t get flipped.”
Gase, meanwhile, nearly flipped out when he saw Phillips at work.
“We were having so many issues on offense,” said Gase, explaining why he missed the beginning of the play. “I look up, and I saw him catch it, and I said, ‘Please score!’ We hadn’t been so hot in the red zone.”
Fortunately for the Dolphins, the defense came through, holding New York to just 10 second-half points.
There were several standouts on the line that helped hold off the Jets:
Defensive end Cameron Wake had two strip-sacks on Fitzpatrick, although the Jets recovered both times.
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh led the linemen with five tackles, including a sack. He also had a quarterback hurry.
And Phillips, of course, had his interception and rumbling return.
Suh, though, set the tone inside.
“He is a tough man to block,” Gase said. “I’m glad he’s on our side. It’s impressive to see an interior guy cause that much disruption and be able to get his hands on the quarterback.”
Wake, limited to just seven games last season because of an Achilles tendon injury, has five sacks this year but 3 1/2 in his past two appearances.
“We want to make sure that whatever [Wake] has in the tank, he puts it out on the field on Sundays,” Gase said. “He’s not going to leave anything out there. He’s going to show up.”