Washington pulled out an ugly 17-16 victory over the winless Miami Dolphins (0-5) Sunday as interim head coach Bill Callahan led an NFL team to victory for the first time since 2003. The Redskins hardly played well but prevailed in their first game without former head coach Jay Gruden in a battle between two of the NFL’s worst teams.
The Redskins outgained the Dolphins in total yards (311 to 271) and yards per play (5.4 to 3.9), but Miami had 21 first downs to Washington’s 13 and won time of possession 32:39 to 27:21. Both teams were woeful on third down, as Miami was slightly less awful at 3-for-14 as opposed to Washington’s 2-for-11. The Dolphins had two turnovers but didn’t force any from the ’Skins.
Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin produced both of Washington’s touchdowns and recorded his second 100-yard game of the season while future Hall-of-Fame running back Adrian Peterson also racked up 118 yards on 5.1 per carry in Washington’s ground-heavy attack.
Slot fade from Terry McLaurin. Slot corner peels off to play underneath, outside corner can't sink back fast enough to stay on top of the route. Nice throw by Keenum for a 33-yard TD #Redskins pic.twitter.com/ix6lKH0KVQ— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) October 13, 2019
The Redskins had their backs against the wall with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter at their own 1-yard line, but veteran quarterback Case Keenum connected with McLaurin on a beautiful pass play that went for 32 yards.
Miami quarterback Josh Rosen had a rough day and was sacked five times, hit nine times and hurried 12 times by Washington’s defense and was replaced by veteran signal caller Ryan Fitzpatrick. Rosen went 15 for 25 for just 85 yards along with two interceptions.
After Fitzpatrick came in, the Dolphins scored in the second half for the first time this season via a one-yard run from running back Kalen Ballage with just under 11 minutes to play in regulation. Then, Miami nearly recovered an onside kick but was called for illegal touching.
However, the Dolphins wouldn’t go away late in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick had engineered 13 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his 15-year career and nearly picked up his 14th as DeVante Parker beat Josh Norman for an 11-yard score with just six seconds to play in the fourth quarter.
Miami opted to go for the win on a two-point conversion, and Washington’s defense snuffed out a screen behind the line of scrimmage to running back Kenyan Drake, which fell incomplete. The Redskins recovered the ensuing onside kick and kneeled to secure the win.
With the win, the Redskins improved to 1-5, both in 2019 and in franchise history playing in Miami. Next week, Washington will host the San Francisco 49ers (4-0 entering Sunday).