The Miami Dolphins came in to today's game with hopes of still gaining a position in the playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings came in with little to play for outside of pride and possibly playing spoilers for some teams still fighting for playoff spots.
The Dolphins looked lack luster in the first half of the game. The Dolphins began this game with the ball at their own 20. Miami managed to drive down to the Vikings 32 yard line on a series of short passes and runs with the exception of one 18 yard reception by Lamar Miller. The drive stalled when Tannehill was sacked back at the Minnesota 38 yard line forcing Miami to attempt the 56 yard field goal. Kicker Caleb Sturgis came up just short turning the ball over to the Vikings at their own 46.
Taking the short field Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater drove his team down the field to the one yard line. On a third and one from the Miami one Minnesota running back Matt Asiata converted, scoring the touchdown and giving the Vikings the first points of the game with a 7 to 0 lead.
Miami took over the ball on their own 19 for their second drive of the game. After a couple of nice gains the Dolphins once against stalled out inside of Vikings territory. This time from Minnesota's 44 Brandon Fields came in the game and punted 44 yards to the end-zone for the touch-back. By the time the quarter ended the Vikings had moved to their own 34 and were facing a 2nd and 3 as the second quarter began.
The Second quarter began with the Vikings only driving to their own 41 before being forced to punt to the Miami 19. Miami started out their first drive of the second with a pass to Lamar Miller for 16 yards followed by a pass to Mike Wallace for 10 more taking the ball down to their own 45. On the very next play Ryan Tannehill dropped back to pass and with a defender in his face somehow managed to throw the ball right in to his hands for the interception.
The Vikings with the short field, starting at the Miami 23, had the ball for less the a minute before scoring their second touchdown of the day off a 21 yard pass from Bridgewater to Gregg Jennings. Following a penalty during the kick off return by Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins started their next drive from deep within their own territory at their own 8 yard line.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill then engineered a long drive down to the Minnesota 14 yard line. The drive was punctuated by a Charles Clay reception for 33 yards. On the very next play, a second and five from the Minnesota 14 Tannehill tossed the ball short to Dion Sims who took the ball to the end-zone for Miami's first points of the game.
Minnesota's next drive ended on a three and out at their own 31 forcing the punt down to the Dolphins 9 yard line. Once again Miami took over deep in their own end. This time the Dolphins only managed to drive down to the Vikings 46 after Tannehill failed to convert on a pass to Miller on a 3rd and 2. Fields came in, punting the ball to the Minnesota 13 yard line and the fair catch. The Vikings then took over for their final possession of the game with just over a minute to play.
On their final possession of the game, the Vikings, in very short order, drove down the field, 86 yards. The Vikings, with time quickly running out were forced to settle for the field goal giving them the 17 to 7 lead going in to the locker room at half time.
Minnesota began the second half with the ball. Following the Dolphins defense stepping up and forcing a 3 and out the Vikings were forced to punt with the Dolphins taking over at their own 20. Tannehill and the offense then drove the field to the Vikings 6. The drive was again punctuated by a big reception by tight end Charles Clay, this time pulling in the ball for a 41 yard gain. With a second and 16 from the 16 Tannehill threw the ball to Mike Wallace who made a great catch followed by an amazing twisting move to spin and hit the pylon for the touchdown, pulling Miami to within 3.
On the Vikings next drive it again appeared if they may be driving for another score. On a first and ten from Miami's 34 yard line Bridgewater dropped back to pass when Derrick Shelby jumped up snagging the ball out of the air for the interception. Miami took over the ball with just over three and a half minutes to play in the quarter. After a couple of nice plays, a 14 yard run by Lamar Miller and a 17 yard pass to Dion Sims coupled with a hand full of short gains the Dolphins ended the quarter with the ball at the Minnesota one yard line and a third and goal to go.
The fourth quarter began by running back Lamar Miller taking it right up the gut for the one yard and the touchdown to give the Dolphins their first lead in the game at 21 to 17. The Vikings then took over driving down to the Miami 21 coming up short on a 3rd and 14. Minnesota was forced to go for the field goal, converting it and pulling within one point of the Dolphins at 20 to 21.
Once again Tannehill took over and drove the field. This time it was Brandon Gibson with the big catch of the drive pulling down a 40 yard reception. Tannehill finished off the drive with a touchdown throw to Mike Wallace making it his second on the day. Following the extra point Miami kicked the ball off to the Vikings with a 28 to 20 lead.
The Vikings took the ball with just over six and a half minutes to go in the game at their own 40 following a short kick off by Caleb Sturgis. Bridgewater drove his team down to the Dolphins 8 before throwing the eight yard touchdown to Jarius Wright, bringing Minnesota to within 2 points of Miami. After what seemed like the longest two point conversion in the history of the NFL mostly due to back to back penalties on the Dolphins, the Vikings convert for the two points to tie the game up at 28 all.
On the ensuing kickoff to the Miami goal-line Dolphins wide out Jarvis Landry returned the ball to the his own 6 before fumbling and seeing the ball recovered by the Vikings reserve conerback Antone Exum at the Miami 5. It only took the Vikings one play to convert the touchdown with a rush up the middle for 5 yards by Asiata to take the 35 to 28 lead.
Miami took over the ball with just over four and a half minutes to go in the game. For the fifth time on the day Ryan Tannehill drove the offense down the field to the Vikings 3 yard line. Again on the drive Charles Clay came up with the biggest catch, a 22 yard play down to the Dolphins 42. This time it was Damien Williams turn to get a score off a 3 yard pass from Tannehill to the end-zone. The touchdown gave Miami a tie with just over one minute to play in the game.
After the kickoff the Vikings took over at their own 13. On a 3rd and 8 from their own 15 Bridgwater dropped back to pass and was sacked by Cameron Wake, giving him his second sack on the day. With 45 seconds left in the game the Vikings were forced to punt. That's when rookie defensive end Terrence Fede stepped up with his play of the season blocking the kick thought he back of the end-zone giving the Dolphins the safety and the two point lead.
Following Fede's brilliant play all that was left to do was receive the free kick and take the victory kneel down. The Dolphins played a very shaky first half but stepped up when needed in the second half to seal the victory. The Dolphins defense gave up 357 yards on the day but the Dolphins offense racked up 493 yards on the day. Despite his interception early Ryan Tannehill had a very solid day throwing 35 of 47 for 396 yards and 4 touchdowns giving him a 118.8 passer rating on the day.
The Miami Dolphins move to 8 and 7 on the day, ensuring that they will not suffer a losing season. The final game of the season for the Dolphins will be their home game next Sunday at 1PM ET against the New York Jets.