Two years ago today, the Miami Dolphins shocked the New England Patriots with a final play touchdown that went down as the best play of the year, and, honestly, one that should be the play of the decade, immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and remembered forever. It is time to celebrate the Miami Miracle.
The ESPN play-by-play for the 2018 Week 14 Patriots at Dolphins game reads, “Kenyan Drake 69 yd pass from Ryan Tannehill.” It was a little more than that. With seven seconds remaining in the game, Miami trailed 33-38 and, following a Patriots kickoff and Kalen Ballage return, were set up at their own 31-yard line. It clearly appeared the Dolphins were going to drop the game.
Instead, Tannehill took the snap and threw a pass to Kenny Stills on a curl route for a 14-yard gain. Stills then pitched the ball back to DeVante Parker, who picked up another three yards before it appeared he was set to be tackled. He flipped the ball back to Kenyan Drake, who somehow found a lane through the Patriots defense, with the help of a block from guard Ted Larsen who knocked Patrick Chung out of the way 40-yards downfield, for a 52-yard run to the endzone.
Chaos. Madness. No penalties.
“It’s just something that we practiced every Saturday in walkthroughs,” Drake said after the game of the play, which was named “Boise” in the playbook but became known as the Miami Miracle. “Obviously, in a situation (like that), you never know what would happen. It was just by the grace of God we were able to hold our composure and just make a play.”
Asked when he knew the play would work, Drake explained, “Until I got in the end zone … I mean honestly, I’m sitting before you all and I still don’t believe it. I just saw it was ‘Gronk’ (Rob Gronkowski) in front of me and I was just like ‘Look, I’ve got somewhere to be.’ So I had to get in the end zone.”
Tannehill also took note of tight end Rob Gronkowski at the end of the play. Gronk was playing deep safety on the play as part of a defense against a Hail Mary pass play. Once Drake got into the open field, with just Gronkowski to beat, Tannehill knew Drake would find the endzone. “‘KD’ came back inside – I kind of had a great view of the whole thing – came back inside, then I saw him and Gronk about 10 yards away and I was like, ‘Gronk is on the field! We got this!’”, Tannehill said, laughing. “It was pretty amazing. I was following behind and I kind of just turned around and collapsed just with the emotion of the whole thing.”
Parker, who caught the first lateral then made the pitch to Drake, explained what was going through his head as he got the ball, “When I caught it, I just wanted to get some extra yards. I got what I could get and then pitched it back to ‘K.D.’ (Kenyan Drake) and then he took care of the rest. It was the last second [when I saw Drake]. I just wanted to get a little yard. I just looked back, and he was right there, so I pitched it to him.”
Of course, we have to be able to watch the entire play again, right?
And, remember, Gronk still does not have the angle.