Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/15/12
Head coach Jeff Fisher probably thought it was fate that Sam Bradford was sacked by Miami's Olivier Vernon on the second to last play of the game, adding three yards to the game tying field goal attempt with four seconds left. Fisher, brazenly, in the preseason made a point of saying his kicker, Greg Zuerlein, would break the 63 yard field record held by four different NFL kickers. Fisher had to be thinking, "here it is," the perfect opportunity, as if the football gods themselves believed it, wanted to see it. As the clock ticked to zero Zuerlein had plenty of distance on the 66 yard field goal attempt but it sailed just left. The same way two other Zuerlien kicks sailed earlier in the game leaving the St. Louis Rams with an empty feeling and a 17-14 loss.St. Louis more than doubled up Miami in nearly every category Sunday including the bad ones like penalties and turnovers. St. Louis shot themselves in the foot with a costly turnover, going just 3-for13 on third down, and were flagged for 12 penalties for 94 yards. Two other fumbles by St. Louis were overturned by instant replay.Even so it was the three missed kicks by Zuerlein that were the difference. All three of which came facing the same goal post and all three, of 52, 37, and 66, yards sailed just left on a very blustery Miami day.St. Louis marched up and down the field all day long on the Dolphins but could not turn the 462 yards of offense into touchdowns. Instead St. Louis settled for five field goal attempts and didn't score their only touchdown of the game until 8:35 left in the game. A one yard plunge by Sam Bradford when he reached the ball just across the goal line on 4th-and-1 for the the Rams first rushing touchdown of the year.Miami went into halftime with a 10-6 lead despite being horribly outplayed.St. Louis racked up 137 first half rushing yards against the NFL's best run defense and moved the ball at will between the 20 yard lines. The Dolphins gave up almost 300 yards of offense in the half, 294, but they held St. Louis to four field goal attempts. Zuerlein who had been 15 of 15 on the year missed two consecutive field goals of 52 and 37 yards.Miami gained just 99 first half yards, 29 of them came on blown Ram coverage that left Marlon Moore wide open for the first touchdown of the game. The Dolphins recovered a fumble by Britt Miller on the ensuing kickoff. They gained no yards on three plays but Dan Carpenter made a 42 yard field goal for the 10-6 lead.St. Louis marched right down the field when Zuerlein missed his second field goal at the half time gun.Marcus Thigpen took the second half kickoff to the 44 yard line for Miami. The Dolphins drove the remaining 56 yards capped by a beautiful play action pass from Ryan Tannehill to a wide open Anthony Fasano and lead ballooned to 17-6. Tannehill was 7-8 on the drive.Neither team scored again until the 4th quarter. St. Louis drove 62 yards, converting two 4th downs and a two point conversation to close the gap to 17-14. Bradford was 5-6 during the drive, including the two point conversion completion to Steven Jackson.Miami was able to chew up 6:49 on the ensuing drive, but stalled out at midfield and the Rams had one more shot with 1:41 remaining. The punt was covered well pinning St. Louis at their own eight, seemingly. A Ram penalty backed them up another five yards.From there Bradford and the Rams, with just one timeout remaining, put together a beautiful drive. Bradford was 6-7, helped out by an absolutely spectacular one handed grab by Brandon Gibson down the left sideline, as he was falling to his back, for a 22 yard gain. The Rams were able to get out of bounds on seemingly every play to save that one timeout. They needed it when Bradford was sacked on 3rd and 4 for a three yard loss setting up the potential NFL record and game tying Zuerlein attempt.The penalty on the punt and the sack of Bradford cost St. Louis eight yards they could have used on that game tying field goal attempt. Yep. St. Louis was their own worst enemy Sunday.After three putrid games in a row Bradford was much better today, although not perfect. He still is a bit off with his accuracy, throwing behind receivers a number of times. He finished 26-of-39 for 215 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, and a 91.3 passer rating.St. Louis attempted a pass on all 13 of their 3rd down opportunities. All three Miami sacks came on 3rd down plays. Obviously Bradford and the Rams need to be better on third down.Daryl Richardson and Jackson split carries in Miami. Richardson had 11 for 76 yards, including a game long 44 yarder, and Jackson 12 for 52. The two combined for 14 carries and 108 yards in the first half, but just nine carries for 20 yards in the second.Brandon Gibson led all receivers with 7 catches and 91 yards. Chris Givens added another 85 yards on three grabs.Tannehill was an efficient 21-of-29 for 185 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, and a 112.0 passer rating.Reggie Bush was shut down rushing for just 17 yards on 12 carries. He did add 5 catches for 44 yards.Each team is now 3-3 on the year.Miami is two overtime losses away from being 5-1.
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