Miami Dolphins

Quarter-by-quarter analysis: Miami Dolphins’ 20-16 loss against Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay drops a ball in the end zone in the fourth quarter of the team’s game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 9, 2014.
Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay drops a ball in the end zone in the fourth quarter of the team’s game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 9, 2014. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

▪ Impact player: Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson, in his first game back from injury, caught two passes for 54 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown that was the start and finish of Detroit’s second possession.

▪ Highlights: Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi stopped Lions running back Theo Riddick for a loss of 3 on third-and-2 from the Dolphins 5. Otherwise…um, well, at least nobody got injured.

▪ Lowlights: Detroit held the ball for the first 8:41, extending the drive with a 24-yard pass on a fake punt from punter Sam Martin to Jed Collins. Johnson boxed out smaller Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes for his touchdown reception. The Dolphins first eight offensive snaps: two sacks, a loss on a run, loss on a reverse, a 5-yard run, 6-yard pass, two punts.

▪ Impact player: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill got the Dolphins into scoring position twice. Hed led one drive to a field goal and threw an interception on the other — he at least saved a touchdown on the interception return.

▪ Highlights: Working the two-minute drill, the Dolphins drove 75 yards to a Caleb Sturgis field goal and 10-3 halftime deficit. Tannehill chased down Detroit’s James Ihedigbo on the interception return and drew a face mask penalty on Ihedigbo. On the next play, Grimes made an acrobatic interception of Matthew Stafgford, who attempted another bomb to Johnson. The Dolphins stopped a second fake punt attempt short of the first down.

▪ Lowlights: The Ihedigbo interception was a terribly thrown ball by Tannehill. Another bad throw, behind tight end Charles Clay, forced Clay off balance, turning a possible 5-yard touchdown into no gain.

▪ Impact player: Dolphins defensive tackle Earl Mitchell blocked a field goal that was returned to the Detroit 4 and set up the Dolphins’ lone touchdown.

▪ Highlights: Mitchell buffaloed up the middle to block the low kick and Dion Jordan returned the ball 58 yards to the Detroit 4. The next play, Tannehill swung the ball out to Mike Wallace for a touchdown and a 13-10 lead. Earlier, Sturgis nailed a 50-yard field goal.

▪ Lowlights: Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas fumbled on the second play of the half and Ndamakong Suh recovered at the Detroit 44. The defense gave up a 12-yard completion to Johnson on fourth-and-6 from the Dolphins 40.

▪ Impact player: Stafford zipped the Lions downfield, going 8 of 11 for 79 yards, to the game-winning 11-yard touchdown sling to Riddick with 29 seconds left.

▪ Highlights: Sturgis’ 20-yard field goal gave the Dolphins a 16-13 lead after Matt Prater’s 50-yard field goal tied the score. The next possession, the Lions went three and out, giving the Dolphins a chance to put the game away.

▪ Lowlights: Needing to run the four-minute offense and exhaust the final 3:57, the Dolphins went three-and-out and gave the ball back to the Lions with 3:13 left. The defense allowed the final drive without so much as a sack and precious few quarterback hits. Clay dropped what would’ve been the go-ahead touchdown with the score tied 13-13, although Ihedigbo did get his arm in to bother Clay on the play.

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