Miami Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler says today’s victory over the Chicago Bears felt like ‘heavyweight fight’.
Kenyan Drake almost never fumbles.
Like three times in his first 276 career touches rare.
Like once every nine games rare.
And he’s never had a fumble like the one Sunday against the Bears — lunging for walkoff touchdown in overtime.
But he did. At the worst possible time.
Hero to potential goat in a second.
He screwed up. And he knew it. The emotions poured from him like a broken water balloon. He cried. He hid his face with a towel. He cried some more. Fox’s broadcast cameras caught it all.
And then he gathered himself, put his helmet back on and helped the Dolphins win the game.
Drake somehow pulled himself together after arguably the lowest moment of his three-year career and helped the Dolphins gut out a win the likes of which few on this team have ever been apart of.
Drake accounted for 22 of the Dolphins’ 28 yards on the Dolphins’ final drive, allowing Jason Sanders to boom through a 47-yard field goal as time expired, lifting Miami to a thrilling 31-28 victory over the Bears Sunday.
“This game is the greatest team sport,” Drake said. “We need all 11 players for four-quarters plus. It was awesome to get this win. Awesome the defense picked me up when they needed to.”
Tears of agony quickly turned to tears of joy. Drake was face-down on the grass as his teammates celebrated — ecstasy and relief pouring from his soul.
Drake is an emotional guy. A prideful guy. And a private guy.
There’s no way his body had reached equilibrium when reporters mobbed his locker after the game.
So when someone asked him if the fumble — his first of the season — still bugged him, he responded: “Next question.”
The Dolphins were in a war Sunday. They were without quarterback Ryan Tannehill. They led 7-0. Then trailed 21-10 midway through the third quarter. And even after tying the game at 21-21, their defense seemed to give the game away with a terrible coverage bust, allowing Bears tight end Anthony Miller to run free and catch an easy 29-yard touchdown pass.
Yet every time they took a punch, the Dolphins punched back. They tied the game again on the next play from scrimmage, with Albert Wilson scoring his second touchdown on a long catch-and-run — the first for 43 yards, the second for 75.
And when the Dolphins won the overtime toss, got the ball first and Frank Gore took over — Sunday was his 46th career 100-yard game — they seemed destined to win. Gore ran for 38 yards on three plays, and the Dolphins faced third-and-goal from the Chicago 1.
Everyone thought Gore was going to finish it off. But he was spent and needed a blow.
“I was tired, but we’ve got another guy in [Drake] who’s a lead dog too,” Gore said. “If it happened again, I would do it again because that’s how much I believe in him. He’s a baller. If it happened again I would do it again.”
Drake probably wished Gore would have just closed it out himself. Drake took the handoff, ran into the line, but was pushed back and then when he reached for the goal line on second effort, Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks jarred the ball loose. The Bears recovered, and Drake was devastated.
“It was a great hit,” Drake said. “... I’ve got to finish that as a playmaker.”
He looked broken. Then, one by one, his teammates put him back together.
“Keep your head up,” defensive end Andre Branch told Drake. “Keep your head up. That’s all you can do. We got you.”
During those devastating few minutes on the bench, Senorise Perry — “my brother,” Drake later called him — sat next to a sobbing Drake on the bench. And he was as much a therapist as he was a teammate in that moment.
“Got to stick together,” Perry recalls saying. “We’re in this.”
Drake added: “They lifted me up when I needed it. ... When we’re down, we’re never out.”
Still, things looked bleak when the Bears moved from their own 20 to the Dolphins’ 41 in just three plays. Miami’s defense was on its heels.
But Chicago coach Matt Nagy threw the Dolphins a lifeline, running three straight times and settling for a 53-yard field goal attempt by ex-Dolphin Cody Parkey — who put together the most accurate season in team history in his only season in Miami.
That’s when Osweiler — who threw for a career-high 380 yards and three touchdowns — offered up one last bit of encouragement.
“They’re going to miss this field goal,” Osweiler told Drake, “and I need you to bring the swagger and confidence you’ve been playing with all day.”
Drake looked Osweiler in the eye and responded: “OK.”
Parkey pushed the kick right.
Drake’s thoughts at that moment: “We’ve got a game to win. You can’t look in the rearview. .... I’ve got to go out there and do my job.”
And he did, setting up the first game-winning field goal attempt of Sanders’ career. Sanders later said his range was as long as 65 yards, and that was plausible, considering his 47-yard attempt was good with plenty to spare.
“You got that feeling it’s going in before you even look up,” Sanders said. “I struck it really well.”
And he turned an awful day into unforgettable one.