Sunday, September 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 27, Falcons 23
By James Walker
MIAMI -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 27-23 victory against the Atlanta Falcons:
What it means: The Dolphins are just one of five teams to improve to 3-0 to start the season. The Chicago Bears (2-0) have a chance to become the sixth undefeated team with a win Sunday night. It surely wasn’t pretty for Miami. The Dolphins needed a fourth-quarter comeback from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who threw the game-winning touchdown to rookie tight end Dion Sims, and a little luck in the form of a missed 34-yard field goal late by Matt Bryant. For the Falcons (1-2), this is another heartbreaking loss for a talented team that is having trouble closing out games. Many believed Atlanta had potential to go the Super Bowl in the preseason. But its failure to finish is a major concern.
Stock watch: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan got off to a fast start, completing 15 of his first 17 passes. Julio Jones had another big game with nine receptions for 115 yards. Tannehill was beaten up but kept his composure with several big throws on the final drive. He threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Trending down was Miami’s surprisingly poor tackling against Atlanta. The Dolphins missed on numerous opportunities for key stops because of not finishing plays. Atlanta receiver Harry Douglas didn’t do much on offense (one reception, nine yards) and lost a key fumble in the second half on special teams.
Wake injury: Miami Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake suffered a knee injury in the second quarter and didn’t return to the game. He remained dressed the rest of the game but didn’t return. Wake is Miami’s best pass-rusher and would be a big loss if he has to miss future games. Miami starting outside linebacker Koa Misi also injured his shoulder in the second half and didn’t return.
What’s next: This was a big game for both teams. The Falcons will host the undefeated New England Patriots (3-0) in a big game next week at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta could be in big trouble if it starts 1-3. The Dolphins will travel next week for a huge clash against the undefeated New Orleans SaintsNew Orleans Saints (3-0) on “Monday Night Football.”