Hapless Dolphins bumble late chance at first win in loss to Redskins

The Miami Dolphins tried to win on Sunday.

But the best effort of the league’s worst team wasn’t enough as they bumbled a 2-point attempt in the game’s final seconds to come up short in a 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Fitzpatrick’s rally falls short

Miami trailed 17-3 heading into the fourth quarter, but mounted a late rally behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins cut the deficit to 17-10 when Kalen Ballage finished a 55-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth.

Then with 2:02 remaining in the game, Fitzpatrick drove the Dolphins 75 yards, capping the drive with an 11-yard pass to DeVante Parker, who beat Josh Norman for a touchdown.

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What do you do in that spot in a battle of winless teams? You go for two, of course — roll the dice to win the game on the spot and spare the football world a hapless overtime session.

The Dolphins did just that. They just didn’t do it well.

Bungled game-winning effort

Fitzpatrick took the snap from under center and immediately looked left to running back Kenyan Drake on a screen pass. Drake dropped it in what looked like a fumble on a sideways pass. But it was ruled incomplete, and the play was whistled dead — 2-point conversion and effort to win the game failed.

The drop didn’t matter so much, as the play looked doomed from the beginning. Washington was ready for the screen, and linebacker Ryan Anderson met Drake in the backfield as soon as the ball arrived.

With the victory, the Redskins improve to 1-5 while the Dolphins drop to 0-5, getting a leg up on Sunday’s opponent for the top pick in next April’s draft.

Tank for Tua alive and well

Judging from the play and decision-making on Sunday, the Dolphins look primed to spend their top pick in the draft on a quarterback with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert expected to be vying for the top pick.

Josh Rosen had a miserable day on the field before watching Miami's comeback fall short from the sideline. (Getty)
Josh Rosen had a miserable day on the field before watching Miami's comeback fall short from the sideline. (Getty)

Miami coach Brian Flores benched second-year pro Josh Rosen for Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter after Washington opened up its 17-3 lead.

Rosen completed 15-of-25 passes on the day for 85 yards and a pair of interceptions as the Dolphins failed to get their offense moving. Fitzpatrick clearly gave them their best chance to win, finishing the day with 132 yards and a touchdown while hitting 12-of-18 attempts in one quarter of football.

Rosen still the starter after being benched

After the game, Flores told reporters that Rosen will remain the starter and that he went to Fitzpatrick in the second half because “I felt like we needed a spark.”

Reach your own conclusion on what that means for the Dolphins and their approach to winning games moving forward. But playing Rosen obviously gives them their best shot at finding out what they have in the 2018 first-round pick out of UCLA.

Based on his play so far, that’s not much. If the goal is gaining the No. 1 pick, he’s a better bet than Fitzpatrick.

Glimmer of joy for Washington

For Washington, Sunday was a respite from the misery of a brutal season that saw owner Daniel Snyder fire head coach Jay Gruden last week. Interim head coach Bill Callahan picked up a win in his first game behind a 118-yard effort on the ground from Adrian Peterson and a 100-yard, two-touchdown day from rookie receiver Terry McLaurin.

Quarterback Case Keenum did little to demonstrate he’s a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL, hitting 13-of-25 passes for 166 yards and the two scores to McLaurin. But he remains Washington’s starter for now as the team appears to have little faith that rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins is ready for the job.

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