Miami Dolphins

Dolphins special teams, pass rush key in win over Cardinals

Franks talks about his game winning field goal against the Cardinals

Miami Dolphins' placekicker Andrew Franks spoke tin the locker room after his game winning field gave the Dolphins a 26-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, December 11, 2016.
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Miami Dolphins' placekicker Andrew Franks spoke tin the locker room after his game winning field gave the Dolphins a 26-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, December 11, 2016.

Dolphins special teams vs. Cardinals special teams

Who won: Dolphins

The impact: Ultimately, the Dolphins’ 10-point advantage in this matchup decided the game. Arizona kicker Chandler Cantanzaro hooked an extra point halfway to the ocean (and not necessarily the Atlantic) and bounced a 41-yard field goal try off an upright. Whether snap, kick or penetration, the Dolphins’ Jordan Phillips blocked an extra point and Walt Aikens returned it for two points. Jarvis Landry’s 20-yard punt return set up the Dolphins drive to a game-winning, walkoff field goal.

Dolphins pass rush vs. Cardinals pass protection

Who won: Dolphins

The impact: After watching Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco’s Sunday brunch buffet feast on the Dolphins last week, you knew Carson Palmer could do the same Sunday unless he got unsettled. Palmer spent the first half (six of 14, 45 yards, two interceptions) throwing off his back foot from pressure up the middle by Jason Jones, Earl Mitchell and Ndamukong Suh. That’s when Cameron Wake wasn’t embarrassing offensive tackles on the way around the corner to Palmer. This changed in the fourth quarter, but the Dolphins led 21-9 by then.

Dolphins WR Kenny Stills vs. Cardinals’ Marcus Cooper/Justin Bethel

Who won:: Dolphins

The impact: Stills wound up with six catches for 97 yards (16.2 yards per catch) and a touchdown, and his big catches were timely. For a Dolphins team looking to start quickly after weeks of using the first quarter as feel-out time, Stills beat Cooper for a 28-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. The Dolphins last two completions: Stills beating Bethel for 12 yards to the Arizona 30 and Stills outmaneuvering Bethel downfield for a 29-yard big play to the 1-yard line to set up the game-winning field goal.

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