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Miami Dolphins Postgame Transcripts 12/9

Miami Dolphins Head Coach Adam Gase

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Your reaction to the last play?

ADAM GASE: We executed it. (laughter) You have to something for those kind of situations. We work on them every Friday and Saturday and it’s boring because you might go three years without calling them and those guys stuck with it, especially this year, and they executed that one for sure.

Was that exactly how you drew it up?

ADAM GASE: Yeah.

They had TE Rob Gronkowski back there on the Hail Mary. Did you notice that? Did you see that as a vulnerability?

ADAM GASE: I think it was more … all of us noticed it right at the end because we weren’t thinking we were going that … pushing it down the field like that, so we didn’t really think that was relevant to us.

Is there any comparable moment in your career that you can think of?

ADAM GASE: I’ve seen a couple of these. I’ve been lucky enough to be on this side of the ball. I’ve been on the other side of the ball before. But as a head coach, this is first time for sure.

What’s the feeling in the locker room after a game like that?

ADAM GASE: I mean, it’s a lot of excitement. Those guys are fired up. They did a great job the whole game, just sticking together. Things don’t always go your way. The ups and downs of the game, these guys just keep fighting.

What about QB Ryan Tannehill and what he was able to accomplish after he got stepped on?

ADAM GASE: I mean I don’t think there’s any question whether or not he’s tough. It seemed like after that, he did a good job of just kind of avoiding the hits that he was taking in the first half. He was moving at the right time. We kind of screwed a couple things up. We had a lot of things that we wanted to get to that involved him, but got a little nervous to call them just because he wasn’t moving like he normally would.

How much was QB Ryan Tannehill hurt?

ADAM GASE: He was in good pain. You saw how his ankle … that probably didn’t feel good.

Special teams, you always pride yourself on strong special teams.

ADAM GASE: Yeah, I think they got us on obviously those rushes. I’ll have to get those cleaned up. I thought (Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren) Rizzi did a good job at halftime and at least adjusting the protection, making sure that didn’t happen (again). We probably lost a little production in that unit in the second half, but this is something that at least when we go back on Monday, we’ll be able to fix and get cleaned up and make sure that we can adjust for any other teams down the road.

With the defense, obviously you were shorthanded today going against Patriots QB Tom Brady.

ADAM GASE: Their job is to fight 60 minutes and try to keep those guys out of the end zone as much as possible and offensively, we have to score one more point (than them). They had some big stops in the game and we didn’t take advantage of them on offense. There were a couple times where they drove the ball down the field but that’s going to happen against Tom (Brady) and his crew.

You went to a more rugby-style punt in the second half. Is that something you had time in practice this week to work on?

ADAM GASE: I mean we’ve been working on it all year. That was the first time it really kind of came up.

Not sure if you’ve been asked this, but your thoughts on the last play and the emotions that you went through during that?

ADAM GASE: I think I was really mad at DeVante (Parker) at one point because I thought he had a chance to turn and run but he made a good decision. Those guys executed as well as you could with bodies around. I mean, when we practice that stuff, it’s usually on air and you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out. So those guys did a good job of slowing themselves down and doing the right things as far as pitching when they needed to pitch and then Kenyan (Drake) realized that he had a lane and took it.

What does a win like this do for your football team with three games left, looking forward? It’s got to give you a big emotional lift, I would assume?

ADAM GASE: Yeah, basically we’re playing one week at a time right now. Any loss for us could be the end. So we just have to make sure that we refocus on Wednesday and get things cleaned up and get ready for the next one.

Where did RB Brandon Bolden fit in your game plan?

ADAM GASE: We started using him last week. We’ve been kind of waiting to use him. We had some things for him last week. We got him in there on a touch and I think (Kenyan) Drake and him had another play that didn’t work out too well. He runs hard. He was a really good running back coming out of college. We’ve been kind of waiting to use him. He’s so valuable on special teams that he’s getting a lot of snaps there but we’ve got enough packages with him in them that when he touches the ball, he can be explosive.

Did you consider anything else for the last play, like a regular Hail Mary or anything?

ADAM GASE: No. That was the one.

Dolphins Quarterback Ryan Tannehill

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 9, 2018

You knew it all along, didn’t you?

RYAN TANNEHILL: Yeah, we had them right where we wanted them (laughter). Defense did a good job just like we talked about, just hold them to a field goal down there. Came out, got exactly the look we were looking for, like, ‘Hey, this is a perfect look.’ As soon as we lined up, we knew we had it. Not really surprised with how things turned out. Guys did their job and we got in the end zone.

Were you able to run down and celebrate?

RYAN TANNEHILL: Yeah, I was kind of trailing along. (The) play kind of got messed up. Kenny (Stills) was able to … I saw Kenyan there. I’m like, ‘Pitch it! Pitch it!’ He pitches it, ‘KD’ (Kenyan Drake) came back inside – I kind of had a great view of the whole thing – came back inside, then I saw him and ‘Gronk’ (Rob Gronkowski) about 10 yards away and I was like, ‘Gronk is on the field! We got this!’ (laughter) It was pretty amazing. I was following behind and I kind of just turned around and collapsed just with the emotion of the whole thing.

Do you work on that play faithfully every week or is it just once in a while? How often do you work on that? Is it every week, every once in a while you guys work on that?

RYAN TANNEHILL: It’s a play we work occasionally, not every week. We have a walk through that we’ll do it in every couple of weeks or so just for a desperation situation like that. We do it on air, though, so you never really know how it’s going to turn out. I told the guys in the huddle, ‘Hey, once we complete this thing, get downfield, because it’s going to turn into a pitch thing.’ I didn’t think it was going to be one pitch and Kenyan take it the rest of the way. Usually if those things work, it’s multiple throws back across the field until someone can make it happen. Just unbelievable effort. Our guys never quit and I think that showed on that play.

Describe the range of emotions from before that play to the craziness after.

RYAN TANNEHILL: Honestly, I’m really exhausted from the emotion of the whole thing. Got into the locker room and I just felt like collapsing almost just from the emotion of fighting through, giving ourselves a chance. Thought we were going to have another shot. They ended up having a great drive down the field. Defense held. They kicked the field goal and we have one play, so you know it’s a long shot. Just the emotion of that, and then obviously the elation of seeing ‘KD’ (Kenyan Drake) get in the end zone, it’s pretty much as drastic of emotions as you can get right there of knowing you don’t have much of a shot, to winning the game.

What went through your mind when you got accidentally stepped on? Can you take us through everything involved related to that?

RYAN TANNEHILL: Right before half?

Yeah.

RYAN TANNEHILL: I was trying to spin out of the pocket and somebody stepped on my ankle, rolled it pretty good. Came in, got X-rays. Looked good, so taped it up, buttoned it up tight and got back out there for the second half.

You couldn’t have felt very good coming out in the second half with that. How did you make your way through?

RYAN TANNEHILL: Honestly, it feels like crap, but it is what it is. You’ve got to be able to fight through some things like that. Training staff did a good job of tightening it up and giving me a wrap and a spat and felt good enough to go. I kind of went out and tested it a little bit right before we started the second half. Did some drops, did some play-actions, simulated moving the pocket and felt like I was going to be able to evade a rush and get the ball off. I know if I could do that and hand the ball off, then I would be in good shape. Gave it a go and it worked out.

How about you guys offensively: you got a lead, lost the lead, came back, took the lead, always staying within that one-score situation by coming back. For an offense that struggled the last couple weeks, what were you able to do and why were you so successful offensively?

RYAN TANNEHILL: Really we answered. They score, we go back down and score. They score. We score. Really proud of the guys and the way that we answered. You play a good team like that, they are going to score points. Whenever they score points, we march right down the field and scored, as well. Guys were confident the whole day. Everyone had a great look in their eye in the huddle. I don’t think there was ever a question that they were going to be able to move the ball or get in the end zone. Really excited with the way the guys played. Obviously, there were a few plays that we need to clean up. Had a couple more opportunities out there, but guys just kept fighting. Kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance at the end.

What was the play call on the last play?

RYAN TANNEHILL: We call it Boise. Just stole it, basically, from Boise way back in the day when they were in that … I forgot what bowl game that was against Oklahoma. But theirs was a little cleaner than that I think. They didn’t have to dip and dodge and pitch quite as much. It worked, so I’m all for it.

You didn’t have to do that much but you didn’t have everyone getting engaged in yours?

RYAN TANNEHILL: I guess that’s true. Not that I know of, anyways.

Are you going to get the ankle checked further to find out what the deal is, what the damage is? Do you know the assessment of what happened on it?

RYAN TANNEHILL: No, we don’t know the full extent yet, obviously. We’ll take a better look at it tomorrow and go from there.

Are you looking at games one at a time and all that?

RYAN TANNEHILL: And all that.

However, would you say given the fact that if you had lost this game, it was going to look very ugly the rest of the season. Was this a season saver that one play?

RYAN TANNEHILL: It could be. Definitely could be. We know the situation we’re in with this team. Before this game we’re sitting at 6-6 and on the outside looking in. We know every game from here on out is pretty much a do-or-die situation. We’re not immune or ignorant to the fact of the situation that we’re in. We knew what it was. I think that one play at least keeps us alive and gives us opportunity moving forward.

Offensive line was kind of messing with Ted Larson for being 40 yards downfield and making the block. They were chanting his name, they were in the locker room. Did you notice Ted downfield and did you expect Ted to be downfield in that situation?

RYAN TANNEHILL: I didn’t notice specifically Ted. I was kind of following behind everybody as we made our way down the field just to be a last-ditch outlet if the ball had to come back to me. I told the guys, ‘Once we complete this ball, get down the field.’ That’s something we work on in practice. Just a testament to the guys sticking with it and keeping playing because without that block, he’s probably not going to get in the end zone. So, a big-time play by Ted.

As far as Ted Larsen’s season, he seems to be almost a metaphor for this team in the fact that he’s kind of been beaten up a little bit but he comes out here and makes this play. Do you have any insight on what kind of season it’s been for him with the neck and the stinger and all that kind of stuff?

RYAN TANNEHILL: He’s played through a lot of adversity. He’s not the only guy. We’ve had a lot of guys that have been banged up. Lost a few guys in the O-Line early. Ted comes in, plays, gets banged up, he’s out again. Then Jake (Brendel) is in, Jake is out and Travis (Swanson) is back in and Ted is back in. It’s been kind of crazy just with the faces changing on the offensive front and the rotation that we’ve had. But it’s next-man-up mentality. Those guys do a great job of preparing and being ready. Whenever their number is called, they are going to step in and give it everything they have. Really proud of those guys.

Before this, what was the biggest miraculous play to end a game you’ve ever been involved in before? A&M?

RYAN TANNEHILL: A&M, we threw Hail Mary at halftime. Completed it, but it was halftime, so it doesn’t quite have the emotion of this. This is definitely far and away the winner of that.

Was there any question at all as to whether you might try to heave one into the end zone from where you guys were on the last play?

RYAN TANNEHILL: Not from Gase, no. I asked him what the last play was and he called that one, so that’s what we were rolling with.

Could you have reached the end zone from there?

RYAN TANNEHILL: I don’t know where we were at but it was a long ways.

Where did you think you need to get to, the 50? Is there a number where you need to get to where you can be?

RYAN TANNEHILL: It’s not the 50 (laughter) We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

You said you’ve practice that play. Did you practice it this week?

RYAN TANNEHILL: We actually did practice it this week, I believe. We practiced it on Friday in a skill walkthrough. The o-Line wasn’t there. Oh, we scored, obviously (laughter). The o-Line wasn’t with us. It was just the skill positions. We ran it in the walkthrough and ironically it comes up and wins us the game. So it’s pretty cool. That’s why you practice, right?

You said on the field, ‘We got this.’ Why did that thought go through your head?

RYAN TANNEHILL: Because you’re never going to quit. I’m never going to quit. Even if the odds are stacked against you and it look looks grim, you’ve got to keep fighting. There’s no quit in me and there’s no quit in this team, this locker room. You have to keep fighting till the clock hits 0.0. We say it all the time, Bobby (McCain) spoke to us last night and was talking about, ‘We’re going to face adversity in this game. This team doesn’t quit. This team always responds,’ and we did today.

What was it about Rob Gronkowski’s presence on the field that made you feel good about that?

RYAN TANNEHILL: (Kenyan) Drake runs a 4.3 and ‘Gronk’ (Rob Gronkowski) probably runs like a 4.6 or 4.7, so feel good about that match up.

DOLPHINS PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM

Running Back Kenyan Drake

(On the game-winning touchdown.) – “It’s just something that we practiced every Saturday in walkthroughs. Obviously, in a situation (like that), you never know what would happen. It was just by the grace of God we were able to hold our composure and just make a play.”

(Before you scored, was there a time during that run where you thought “Wow! This could really work?”) – ”Until I got in the end zone … I mean honestly, I’m sitting before you all and I still don’t believe it. I just saw it was ‘Gronk’ (Rob Gronkowski) in front of me and I was just like ‘Look, I’ve got somewhere to be.’ So I had to get in the end zone.”

(You said you’ve practiced this a lot obviously but how often does it actually work or look good in practice?) – “The funny thing is it’s a walkthrough. We don’t practice it a ton. They make bets (between) themselves and say “Oh somebody might go the wrong way. Somebody might not get the pitch” The fact that (Coach Gase) called it in this critical situation and put the trust in his players to go out there and make the play, I’m just glad we all took care of our business and we ended up on the right side of that victory ”

(How does Magic City Miracle sound to you?) – “I love it. At the end of the day, I wish this was the end all, the be all; but we have a whole other game to play next week. We are going to enjoy this for 24 hours, but at the end of the day, let’s just take it one game at a time.”

(I know it’s hard to look at the big picture 10 minutes after this craziness but you may have set your season with this play.) – “We are 7-6 right now. We still have an uphill battle. We have to continue to be very gritty, hard-nosed, never-say-die attitude, and continue to get these wins.”

(Describe that celebration for us. What’s it like being in the middle?) – “I threw the ball in the stands so I know I’m going to get a fine from the NFL but I’m going to take that one on the chin. (laughter) To be able to celebrate this with my family, these players in here, these coaches, the fans, the city, it means the world to me.”

(Does this further prove that this is the house of horrors for the Patriots?) – “They have a hard time coming down here and playing down here. Give them all of the credit, they came out and played a great game offensively, defensively, the special teams getting two blocked punts. They put themselves in every situation to win this game but, like I said, we’ve got somewhere to be. We see the bigger picture. God works in mysterious ways so we continue to follow Him and lead the charge.”

(At what point did you see that you had a chance?) – “When I got up ‘Gronk’ (Rob Gronkowski) and I saw nobody else behind me, I knew I couldn’t get caught from behind and ‘Gronk’ was the only person in front of me so I had to get in the end zone.”

(What is the play called when he comes in from the coach? What is it?) – “It’s called Boise.”

Running Back Frank Gore

(What did the stadium sound like when he RB Kenyan Drake scored?) – “Oh, it was crazy. Especially a divisional game with one of the top teams in the NFL and we beat them.”

(Did anybody tell you your numbers for today? First of all you’re fifth all time in scrimmage yards, ninth in all-purpose yards and 90 yards on 12 carries.) – “Oh, you just told me. (laughter) I just keep working hard. The o-line did a great job and when my number gets called, I’m going to do my best to do it right.”

(Where does this rank, as unorthodox as it may be at the end with how it happened? What does it do for this team?) – “It keeps lifting us up. We’re taking one game at a time. We’re looking at every game from here on out, even today, as a playoff game. We fought hard last week to beat the Bills, came back this week against the Patriots and got it done. At this time, you need some luck on your side. We’re just going to keep fighting, keep believing in our coaches, keep standing as one and we’ll see what happens.”

Running Back Brandon Bolden

(Can you tell us about your touchdowns? Take us through those plays.) – “You kind of just practice those plays all week, waiting for a certain look and it just happened to be the perfect look. Once I got passed the safety I was just like, ‘I hope nobody catches me.’ I even peeked up at the board to make sure nobody was around me. I just hit the jets and just kept running until I heard the whistle blow.”

(Do you view this as redemption with the Patriots releasing you?) – “No. I treat this game like every other game. Yes, it was against the Patriots. Yes, it was against my former team, but we could’ve been out there playing a pee-wee team and I would’ve felt the same way going out there. I wanted to go out there and win. I wanted to go out there and fight with my team and that’s what we did today.”

(Take us through that last play, what that’s like when you see RB Kenyan Drake running and then score. What’s that feel like?) – “I was actually talking to Senorise (Perry) about that. Me and him heard the play call and we both stood there and we watched the play. When Kenyan got the ball, I’m going to tap him like, ‘I hope he scores,’ and he already took off down the field, so I was late to the party. I end running down there and then when we scored, it was crazy. I’ve been in that situation plenty of times and then to come back and win it on the last play like that, that’s amazing.”

Wide Receiver Kenny Stills

(What is it about you guys at home? Last week you pull out the victory, Tennessee lightning delay 7 hours, Chicago the overtime game, the Jets and the Jerome Baker touchdown. What’s going on here? You guys are almost unbeatable.) – “We take pride in playing good football at home. Obviously we’ve got to be able to do it on the road too, but we’ve just got to come together as a team, as a unit, believing in each other, trusting each other and you can tell out there on the field.”

(Kenny, what do you see when you’re going through this? What are you thinking? What are you seeing on the game-winning play?) – “You don’t really think. You just go out there and try to execute the play. I was just talking about how we do it every Saturday. It’s something that we go through, last plays of the game, and we’ve been doing it for, what, 14 weeks now plus OTAs and stuff. So it’s just one of those things we came out and executed and ‘K.D.’ (Kenyan Drake) made a great play.”

(So you guys actually practice something like this?) – “Yeah. Every Saturday.”

(How does the Miami miracle sound to you?) – “The Miami miracle? I like that but it means nothing if we don’t finish the season strong and find our way into the playoffs.”

Defensive End Robert Quinn

(I’m going to ask you to describe something here. You guys are sprinting towards that corner. The place is going nuts. What does that sound like? What does that feel like?) – “You just kind of said it. The crowd felt like we were out of it. Seven second left – anything is possible as long as there is time on the clock. Our guys believed until the very last second. I don’t know how they executed that so perfectly, but they did. At that moment, you just react. You’re happy you scored. The game’s over. No more time left, so emotions just take over at that point.”

(Can you describe the atmosphere, fans going nuts?) – “I was worried about my man ‘K.D.’ (Kenyan Drake). I was so happy for what he just did and the offense. We were trying to go celebrate with them and enjoy the win. I think when we walk out of here, we did that.”

(A loss probably would have put you virtually out of the playoffs – not mathematic but close. Now you got a win. You’re right still in the thick of things. What does this mean for the Dolphins, this victory?) – “I guess we said it last week. Every game (is) important. We have to keep giving ourselves a chance. Don’t look too far into the future, but also know what’s at stake. A game like that – you can even look at the game last week. They’re right down to the wire. You just have to keep fighting until the very end. I love to win but I hate to have my heart pumping in this type of fashion.”

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