June 24, 2024

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Jason Sanders has been looking forward to this moment all season. With the Miami Dolphins scoring more touchdowns than any other team in the NFL, the former All-Pro kicker didn’t have to attempt many field goals.

Sanders had only 21 field goal attempts on the season into Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, but Miami needed his booming right leg in its biggest game of the season, and he delivered.

The Dolphins secured a postseason berth with a 22-20 victory over the Cowboys, thanks to Sanders’ fifth field goal of the day, a 29-yarder as time expired.

“Not every year can be an All-Pro year,” Sanders, who is 22 of 26 on field goals and 5 of 7 from 50 yards or more, said. “I believe I’m still hitting kicks. I’m still exactly where I should be.”

Dolphins nip Cowboys 22-20 on Jason Sanders' last-second field goal, secure  playoff spot - Hawaii Tribune-HeraldDolphins nip Cowboys 22-20 on Jason Sanders' last-second field goal, secure  playoff spot - Hawaii Tribune-HeraldDolphins nip Cowboys 22-20 on Jason Sanders' last-second field goal, secure  playoff spot - Hawaii Tribune-HeraldDolphins nip Cowboys 22-20 on Jason Sanders' last-second field goal, secure  playoff spot - Hawaii Tribune-HeraldDolphins nip Cowboys 22-20 on Jason Sanders' last-second field goal, secure  playoff spot - Hawaii Tribune-HeraldDolphins nip Cowboys 22-20 on Jason Sanders' last-second field goal, secure  playoff spot - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Tua Tagovailoa threw for 293 yards and a score for the AFC East-leading Dolphins (11-4), who won for the first time this season against a club with a winning record. On the pivotal drive, which spanned 64 yards and took 3:27 off the clock, he connected with Tyreek Hill twice.

Hill, the NFL’s leading receiver, had nine catches for 99 yards despite missing last week’s win against the New York Jets due to an ankle injury.

Miami possesses the top passing and scoring offenses in the NFL, as well as a top-five rushing attack and a rising defense. However, entering Week 16, all of the Dolphins’ victories came against teams that were.500 or below.

“It’s always big when you do something that, internally, you know you’re capable of,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “It’s pretty satisfying when it comes to fruition….” Nobody on this squad expected us to lose that game, which is very exciting when everyone says you can’t do X, Y, or Z.”

Dak Prescott completed 20 of 32 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys (10-5), who have already won a playoff spot but now trail Philadelphia by a half-game in the NFC East.

Dallas took a 20-19 lead on Prescott’s 8-yard touchdown ball to a leaping Brandin Cooks in the end zone. However, the Cowboys were tormented by their red-zone difficulties earlier in the game, notably Prescott’s fumble on first-and-goal from inside the 1.

“We’re not taking any moral victories from this,” Prescott declared. “We’ll take some assurance. We’re devoted to one another and hold each other accountable in order to achieve our goal.”

Sanders’ first field goal was a 57-yarder in the first quarter, his longest of his career. He added 52-yard, 54-yard, and 35-yard field goals to help the Dolphins build a 19-10 lead late in the third quarter.

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