The Carolina Panthers self admittedly came into the game this Sunday disrespecting the Miami Dolphins. After giving up a half time lead to the Dolphins, coach Rivera of the Carolina Panthers walked into a somber and beaten visitors locker room where the players where waiting for the half time speech.
Rivera told his team that it wasn’t ready to play and that they have “disrespected” the Dolphins.
“I just think it was something where we started clicking,” running back Mike Tolbert said after the Panthers rallied to defeat the Dolphins 20-16. “When he came in and he was yelling at us and cussing at us, it flipped the switch.”
Through out the game the Dolphins held the lead for 50 minutes and controlled the line of scrimmage the entire first half , starting with a season rarity of a touchdown reception by Mike Wallace of 53 yards. The tempo was set and the Dolphins began to take hold of a team that just last week routed the division leaders New England Patriots.
The Dolphins defense came in strong and kept pressuring Cam Newton forcing him to try to beat them with his arm and not his legs. The Dolphins pass rush kept Carolina to a 52-yard field goal from a drive starting at the Dolphins’ 42. In the second quarter the defense didn’t allow a first down for the first 14:26 of the quarter. Cornerback Nolan Carroll baited Cam Newton into throwing for Brandon LaFell, then intercepted and ran the ball back to the 22. The defense was ready to play and the offense put up numbers on the score board. By the end of the first half Carolina was at a loss with a score of 16 -6 Dolphins.
The momentum switched in the third quarter when Cam Newton lead an 83 yard possession for a touch down and even though Ryan Tannehill held the stats over Newton in the game, it was now a 3 point lead left for the Dolphins. The Dolphins defense was tired and it was not the same defense that played the first half, but even as tired as they were they played well enough to keep the Dolphins leading the game. The offense on the other hand had its “glitches” – A miss by Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis on a 53 yard attempt gave the Panthers good field position but yet the Dolphins defense held them to a 3 and out. On the second to last Dolphins possession the Dolphins offense just couldn’t put it together, penalties and poor protection on that drive forced a punt back to the Panthers who were able to capitalize with a Cam Newton moving the ball on the ground and a touchdown pass to Greg Olsen.
The Dolphins had a chance to come back with only seconds left though as Tannehill threw a perfect pass to receiver Mike Wallace just feet from the end zone with 28 seconds left, unfortunately it was not to be as Wallace let the ball slip through his fingers and land on the ground. Tannehill played very well after the early interception, unfortunately it wasn’t enough to win the game. Tannehill went for 310 yards through the air, adding 36 yards rushing on just four carries.
Dolphins 16 Panthers 20
By Sergio Peralta