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Missed FGs help Dolphins edge Rams 17-14

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Missed FGs help Dolphins edge Rams 17-14

MIAMI (AP) Along the Miami Dolphins' sideline, players tracked the flight of the ball, leaning and twisting and hoping as they tried to influence its flight.

The kick sailed wide to end the game, and the Dolphins' celebration began. Field goal defense was one thing they did well Sunday, when they somehow held off the St. Louis Rams 17-14.

The Dolphins were outplayed for much of the game and outgained 462 yards to 192. They managed only 19 yards rushing, and their top-ranked run defense gave up 162 yards.

But Rams rookie Greg Zuerlein missed three field goal attempts, including a desperation 66-yarder on the final play.

``If you look at the stat sheet, you'd be surprised that we came out on top,'' Miami coach Joe Philbin said.

The victory left the Dolphins at 3-3 and in a four-way tie for the AFC East lead heading into their bye week.

The Rams missed a chance at their first three-game winning streak since 2006, and instead fell to 3-3 under coach Jeff Fisher. He lost to the team that courted him in January, when he chose the St. Louis job instead.

``We had a lot of opportunities to win this game,'' Fisher said, ``but we didn't get it done.''

The Rams scored their lone touchdown with 8 1/2 minutes left, then moved 49 yards to face a fourth and 7 at the Miami 48-yard line with 30 seconds left. Rather than go for a first down, Fisher sent out Zuerlein to try a kick that would have been an NFL record by 3 yards.

The attempt appeared to have enough distance but missed wide left.

``I can make that kick. I just didn't come through,'' Zuerlein said. ``I came across the ball a little bit. I should have made it.''

He has been successful four times from 54 to 60 yards this season.

``The odds were much better for him to make the kick than us going for it,'' Fisher said. ``He's got that kind of leg.''

Zuerlein made his first two field goals to improve to 15 for 15 this season, then missed three times in a row, including wide left from 52 and 37 yards in the first half.

``I didn't do my job and I cost my team the game,'' he said.

Another rookie, Miami's Ryan Tannehill, went 21 for 29 for 185 yards with no turnovers. The rookie threw touchdown passes of 29 yards to Marlon Moore and 1 yard to Anthony Fasano.

Sam Bradford went 26 for 39 for 315 yards for the Rams, who struck for early gains of 44 and 65 yards. At halftime, St. Louis had outgained Miami 294-99 but trailed 10-6.

``We've got to find a way to score touchdowns and not kick field goals,'' Bradford said. ``That really hurt us.''

The Rams were down 17-6 before they finally got into the end zone when Bradford scored on a 1-yard sneak on fourth down. He juggled the ball as he held it over the goal line, but the call was upheld following a review.

Bradford then hit Steven Jackson with the 2-point conversion pass to make the score 17-14.

Two other key reviews also went against the Dolphins. They led by 11 points and appeared on the verge of pulling away when they recovered a fumble by Bradford on a sack midway through the third quarter. But the turnover was negated by a review, when the officials ruled the play an incomplete pass.

On the Rams' next possession, Chris Givens lost a fumble after a short catch, but again the ruling was changed to an incompletion following a look at the replay.

``A lot of real close calls,'' Fisher said. ``Difficult, under-the-hood calls to make. But they got them right.''

NOTES: Fisher and Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland chatted on the sideline during pregame warm-ups. ... St. Louis averaged 6.0 yards per carry against the NFL's No. 1 rushing defense. ... Miami rookie reserve Olivier Vernon had two sacks, including one on the play before Zuerlein's final kick. ... The Dolphins pulled off a fake punt to sustain a drive with four minutes left. ... The Rams still haven't won in Miami since Oct. 3, 1976.

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NHL Power Rankings: Not every night is a big-time game for the Capitals

NHL Power Rankings: Not every night is a big-time game for the Capitals

There was a lot of excitement to start the season for the Caps. First, there was the home-opener and the banner raising against the Boston Bruins. Then there was a trip to Pittsburgh to take on the rival Penguins. After that, it was a Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Vegas Golden Knights.

And all of that was followed up with a trip to Newark.

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

With all due respect to New Jersey, given the slate the Caps faced to start the season, it was no real surprise to see the team struggle to get up for Thursday’s game against the Devils, a game in which the Caps were blown out 6-0. Of all the games Washington faced to start the season, the trip to New Jersey was definitely the least exciting.

But not every game is going to be a big rivalry matchup or a playoff rematch. With every team gunning for the Caps, they better make sure they can get themselves ready for the grind of an 82-game season that won’t always feature a big-time matchup.

A trip to Newark may not be flashy or exciting, but it still counts as two points.

The Caps dropped the game in New Jersey and lost a tight contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Where do they stand now after two straight losses?

FIND OUT HERE IN THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS

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The five key plays in the Redskins’ win over the Panthers

The five key plays in the Redskins’ win over the Panthers

Every play in an NFL game is important but some matter to the outcome more than others. Here are the key plays in the Redskins’ 23-17 win over the Panthers.

Q1, 10:41—Tress Way punts 51 yards to CAR 21, D.J. Moore to CAR 22 for 1 yard (Shaun Dion Hamilton). FUMBLES (Hamilton), RECOVERED by WAS-Jeremy Sprinkle at CAR 21. Sprinkle to CAR 22 for -1 yard. 

The Redskins did not get off to a promising start on offense as they went three and out on their first possession and punted. Panthers rookie D.J. Moore fielded the punt and tried to find some running room. He found Hamilton, who stripped the ball away and Sprinkle pounced on it. It only took one play for the Redskins to cash in as Alex Smith found Vernon Davis wide open—as in nobody else in the picture open—for a touchdown to put the home team up 7-0. 

Q1, 8:50—Alex Smith pass short middle to Jordan Reed to WAS 45 for 7 yards 

The Redskins were looking to add to their lead on their possession following the Davis touchdown. On third and eight at their own 38, Smith threw for Reed in the middle of the field. The pass was high and inside, forcing Reed to jump, reach back and stab the ball with his right hand. It was a true one-handed catch because he never touched the ball with his left hand. 

The only thing Reed did wrong on that play was to signal for a first down. It was short, but Smith got the first with a sneak on the next play. Some Adrian Peterson runs and a 21-yard pass from Smith to Davis helped get the Redskins down to the two-yard line. On third down from there, Smith found Paul Richardson for a TD to make it 14-0.

Q2, 11:32—Cam Newton pass short middle to Moore to WAS 37 for 17 yards (Josh Norman). FUMBLES (Norman), RECOVERED by WAS -Mason Foster at WAS 33. 

Norman got his first interception since 2016 earlier in the second quarter but the offense couldn’t do anything with the possession. The next time the Panthers had the ball, Newton went to Moore on a crossing Pattern. He had some running room and it looked like the Panthers would advance well into Redskins territory. But as defenders converged on Moore, Norman reached in and stripped the ball out. “He never saw me coming,” said Norman. Foster recovered, and the Redskins drove for a field goal to go up 17-0. 

Q4, 13:43—Alex Smith sacked at CAR 46 for -6 yards (Julius Peppers). FUMBLES (Peppers), recovered by WAS-Trent Williams at CAR 46. Williams to CAR 38 for 8 yards.

The Panthers had rallied to make it a one-score game at 17-9. On third and seven from the Carolina 40, Smith was immediately swarmed by the pass rush. The ball popped out and it fell into the hands of Williams to the left of the scrum. Going on sheer instinct, Williams headed upfield. Starting from six yards behind the line of scrimmage Williams rumbled eight yards for a net gain of two. That’s not much but it was enough to have Jay Gruden send Dustin Hopkins into the game to attempt a 56-yard field goal. The boot just made it over the uprights and Hopkins’ career-long kick had the Redskins up by two scores at 20-9. 

Q4, 0:38—Cam Newton pass incomplete short right to Jarius Wright.

After the Redskins kicked a field goal to go up by six, Newton led a final drive that kept everyone on edge. Starting with 3:15 to play, Newton was sharp, completing six of seven passes for 50 yards to move the Panthers from their own 16 to second and five at the Washington 16. The Washington defense finally stiffened, and Newton’s next three passes fell incomplete. The last one went harmlessly to the ground, not particularly close to Wright or any other receiver. The Redskins and their fans could finally exhale and celebrate. 

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