Week 14 provided an ample supply of sizzle during a slew of game-winning sequences. In Dallas, Amari Cooper reeled in a deflected pass, waltzed into the end zone and put the Cowboys firmly in control of the NFC East. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes likely locked up his first MVP with a ridiculous no-look pass, an incredible throw on 4th and 9 late in the fourth quarter, followed up by a fourth-down touchdown pass on the same drive that forced overtime. However, the most impactful play of the week occurred in the waning seconds of Miami’s clash with the AFC East-leading New England Patriots.
In a back-and-forth contest in which the Patriots typically win, they failed to take advantage of multiple opportunities to put Miami away on their final two drives. On their penultimate drive, New England settled for a field goal and on their final possession, Bill Belichick went conservative and took the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands on third down. Instead, Sony Michel took the handoff from the 6-yard-line and was stopped after a two-yard gain. The Patriots would kick a field goal to put them ahead 33-28 with 16 seconds remaining.
It was a decision they would soon regret. Left with a measly seven seconds remaining on the clock after a kickoff return, the Dolphins had few options. From their own 31-yard-line, Miami could have tried to whip a quick pass 15-20 yards down the sideline and launch a Hail Mary from near midfield, but the Dolphins couldn’t take that type of risk with no timeouts left.
Instead, with the Pats in a prevent defense and Rob Gronwkowski in as the deep free safety, Tannehill dropped back and lasered the ball across the middle to Kenny Stills at the 45-yard-line. Surrounded by the Patriots secondary, he lateraled it to Devante Parker, who ran towards the sideline before shoveling it to running back Kenyan Drake who was running along the sideline. Drake escaped an ankle tackle, cut it back inside and found an alleyway between blockers, allowing him to pick up steam and run downfield unbothered.
Center Ted Larsen found himself in the right place at the right time at the Patriots 32-yard-line when he obstructed cornerback JC Jackson’s path to Drake. Gronkowksi had the angle on Drake as he cut inside, but the Pats tight end tripped over his own feet and faceplanted grasping at air in an attempt at making a game-saving goal-line tackle.