Miami Dolphins

Ugly two-point conversion dooms Dolphins, keeps Miami winless on the season


Exhale, tankers.

You did it.

One fewer winless team to worry about.

One step closer to the No. 1 pick.

If you could ever be OK with a loss, Sunday was it. And it had little to do with how Miami played in its 17-16 defeat at the hands of the Redskins.

The path to Tua still goes through Miami.

But oh, did the Dolphins make it interesting.

As in, scored a touchdown (Ryan Fitzpatrick to DeVante Parker) with six seconds left and tried to win it with a two-point conversion close.

But a bad play and even worse execution doomed Miami. Kenyan Drake dropped a screen pass, but had no chance of scoring anyway. The Dolphins forgot to block the Redskins.

Still, the Dolphins are trending the right way. After four weeks of blowouts, finally a game that came down to the end. And the locker room was all for trying to end it in regulation.

“I was like, ‘Hell yeah, let’s do this. I don’t want to play overtime,’” said Dolphins tackle Jesse Davis. “I think it was a good call. We’ve got to be aggressive doing that. What do we have to lose? Go for it. Kick and overtime, string it out and maybe end up in the same situation. I like the call.”

Sadly, the execution stunk.

But the Dolphins are not going anywhere in 2019 anyway. The difference between a win and loss means far more in the long-term than the short. The Dolphins can probably afford one win and still pick first. But that’s no guarantee.

Plus Sunday brought up fresh questions about the quarterbacks on the team, and more certainty that they need a new one — hopefully taken first overall — in 2020.

More on that in a minute.

Sunday’s affair, and its wild finish, deserves our immediate attention.

The Redskins had Sunday’s game firmly in control. And then Redskins interim coach Bill Callahan lost his mind.

Up 14 with the Dolphins’ offense in hibernation, he decided to try a 55-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter. A punt would have pinned Miami deep. Instead, when Dustin Hopkins predictably missed, it lit a spark.

A quarterback change did too. Fitzpatrick — affectionately called by Callahan “a salty, savvy veteran” — replaced an ineffective Rosen, and immediately directed a nine-play, 55-yard touchdown drive. When Kalen Ballage rumbled in from a yard out, it gave the Dolphins their first second-half points of the season.

And after a quick defensive stop, they had the ball back at Washington’s 41.

Their next three plays? Disaster.

Fitzpatrick one-yard pass to Albert Wilson.

Incomplete pass deep to Parker.

And botched shotgun snap by Daniel Kilgore, resulting in an eight-yard loss.

Drive over.

Game seemed over, too. Until FitzMagic showed up, and nearly pulled it out.

He directed a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took less than two minutes. The only thing missing? A successful, game-winning conversion on the two-point try.

“It was fun,” said Fitzpatrick, who completed 12 of 18 passes for 132 yards and the touchdown in one quarter of work. “I mean that whole fourth quarter was fun just to be out there. I think there was a lot of confidence on that last drive. ... That’s the kind of stuff – that’s why I still like being out there and playing this game. That’s the kind of stuff that you love, and I was happy that we decided to go for two. That was the right move, and I wish we would have got in there.”

They didn’t. And as a result, the Dolphins fell to 0-5 on the season. The Redskins won for the first time in six games.

The upside: The Dolphins’ odds at picking first overall have never been better. They were three in four before the game. And they now have to be far higher. The way the season is shaping up, the Dec. 22 showdown with the Bengals could be for the whole shebang.

No matter how that game goes, it’s but impossible to see a scenario in which the Dolphins don’t pick first or second in 2020.

And with each passing week, Rosen’s odds of being the guy going forward diminish. He was bad entering the game. He was awful during it.

Before Rosen was pulled, he had completed 15 of 25 passes for just 85 yards, two interceptions and took five sacks. Miami managed just three points in his eight drives.

So the Dolphins’ quarterback battle stayed “settled,” as Flores called it last week, just a few days. Rosen is expected to start again Sunday in Buffalo, but the leash will clearly be short.

“I was disappointed, but I understood the situation,” Rosen said. “I mean it obviously was a smart decision given how the game almost ended. [Flores’] job first and foremost is to win football games and I respect the decision, and it’s my job to not put him in that position.”

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