What we know about NFL Week 17 games, including how the Dolphins won and what the Panthers did
The Miami Dolphins won their first game in three weeks on Sunday night, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-21, to finish the regular season with a 10-4 record and tie for first place in the AFC East.
The Dolphins lost cornerback Will Davis, who missed most of the game with a concussion, but were able to get their first win of the season against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, 31/17, in a game that also featured one of the best performances by quarterback Ryan Tannehill (37-of-50 for 396 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions) in his last five starts.
A huge portion of the Dolphins success in the game came from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was sacked three times, but his four touchdown passes were the most by a quarterback since Michael Vick had five against the San Diego Chargers in 2012.
Fitzpatrick also had two rushing touchdowns, one rushing for a touchdown and one receiving touchdown, and his passer rating of 116.8 was his highest since he was sacked only once in the regular-season finale at the Detroit Lions.
The Dolphins offense is looking for more production from its running backs and a little more help from Fitzpatrick, but Tanneh’s performance in the victory was a reminder of the strides that he made to his game over the past year.
“It was a really good game,” TanneHugh said.
“I think our defense was the best we’ve seen all year.
It was a big win for us, and we’re looking forward to getting back in the saddle this week.”
The Dolphins went into the game leading the NFL in rushing yards per game (5.39) and rushing touchdowns (two).
But after the Steelers gave up 251 yards on the ground, the Dolphins offense put up just 212 yards.
Tanne, who completed 29 of 44 passes for 353 yards with no interceptions, completed only five of 14 passes for 66 yards in the first half.
The only incompletions came when Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions.
“I felt like we were the better team,” Tanseh said.
“When you look at our defense, when we were in the red zone, we were solid,” he added.
“We got to throw the ball and they did a good job of getting the ball out.
We’ve got to keep going, we’ve got a lot of good players on the team.
We’re going to be OK.”
Fitzgibbon, the NFL’s leading rusher, led the Dolphins with 1,087 yards on 238 carries, while linebacker Koa Misi had 1,078 yards on 87 carries.
The rest of the offensive line had a combined 1,034 yards on 281 carries.
Miami had a big first half, as the Dolphins outgained the Steelers, 24-8, and Tanne hovered around his season averages in yards (4.38) and yards per carry (4,933).
The game was tied at 13 at the half when Fitzpatrick was sacked twice, including twice by Pittsburgh linebacker Jarvis Jones, who sacked Tanne four times.
Fitzpatrick, however, was able to recover the fumbles, and returned one for a TD pass to Tanne on a 10th-and-15 play, and the Dolphins scored on a 6-yard TD run by receiver Jordan Cameron.
The drive stalled at the Pittsburgh 2, but the Dolphins drove for a first down on the next play.
Tannehill completed seven of 10 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown to start the third quarter.
He finished with a career-high seven completions for 92 yards and two scores.
The Panthers responded to their win over the Steelers by making a few plays that gave them a chance to tie the game.
On first-and, 16, Tanneill threw an incomplete pass to fullback Marcus McMillan, who took it to the right side of the end zone.
But Tanne didn’t throw the football downfield, and receiver Devin Funchess picked up the ball on the left side of Miami’s 5-yard line, and he went down with his shoulder and arm in pain.
Tanke then went to Tanford to try to get the ball in the endzone with two seconds remaining, but Funcheson fumbled the ball at the 2.
Tanze then hit the ground after his team’s first touchdown.
On third-and the 3, Tanen passed to quarterback Matt Moore, who dropped the ball for a safety.
The Steelers came out with the lead, 21-20, on a third-down play that came after a punt.
The ball was knocked out of bounds on the Miami 36.
But after Tanne Wilson intercepted the ball, Tanner came down with the ball with 1:19 remaining and was able get the pass to the sideline for the score.
Fellow receiver Kelvin Benjamin then scored on an