Final

Falcons 23

(1-2, 0-2 away)

Dolphins 27

(3-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:05 PM ET, September 22, 2013

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 7 6 7 323
MIA 0 10 10 727

Top Performers

Passing: R. Tannehill (MIA) - 236 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Rodgers (ATL) - 18 CAR, 86 YDS

Receiving: J. Jones (ATL) - 9 REC, 115 YDS

Ryan Tannehill leads Dolphins (3-0) past Falcons

Associated Press

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The stadium shook with a roar as Ryan Tannehill skipped across the field pumping his arms in glee, the Miami Dolphins' comeback complete.

Tannehill was celebrating his 1-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left to rookie Dion Sims, who made a one-handed catch to help the unbeaten Dolphins rally past the Atlanta Falcons 27-23.

The score capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive after Atlanta's Matt Bryant missed a 35-yard field goal attempt with 4:46 left. Jimmy Wilson intercepted Matt Ryan in Falcons territory to seal the victory.

"We have a special team, a team with a lot of talent," receiver Brian Hartline said. "We're going to continue to improve. The sky's the limit."

Miami fell behind 10-0 and 20-10 and trailed much of the game, but nonetheless improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2002. The injury-plagued Falcons, who were one play from the Super Bowl last season, fell to 1-2.

An enthusiastic crowd of 70,660 reflected the buzz building about the surprising Dolphins, who are trying to end a streak of four consecutive losing seasons.

"We've got a damned good football team," owner Stephen Ross said. "The quarterback is maturing."

The last-minute comeback victory was the first for Miami's second-year QB. Tannehill finished 24 for 35 for 236 yards and two scores. He shook off two turnovers and five sacks, and was at his best at the end of each half.

On the final drive, Tannehill went 8 for 11 for 69 yards, with two of the incompletions because of dropped passes. The winner came on second down, when Tannehill lobbed his throw over linebacker Stephen Nicholas to Sims, a backup tight end.

Sims scored his first NFL touchdown by pulling the ball in with his left hand because his right arm was tangled up with Nicholas.

"It was awesome. It was amazing," Sims said. "The defender grabbed one hand, so I had no choice but to use the other one."

Tannehill suggested the play to his coaches during a timeout just beforehand.

"It's a play we know very well," he said. "It's either going to be a touchdown or a throwaway. We had a lot of confidence in that play."

Tannehill's other scoring pass was an 18-yarder to Hartline to make it 20-20 late in the third quarter. Tannehill also moved Miami 60 yards in the final 2:04 of the first half for a field goal on the final play.

The victory allowed Miami to keep pace with New England atop the AFC East.

"It was a good step forward," Hartline said. "Expectations will continue to rise, and high expectations bring out the best in you. We welcome it."

The Falcons believe they could be special, too, but they lost despite advantages of 24-16 in first downs, 377-285 in yards and 5-0 in sacks.

"It was a game where we had a ton of opportunities," coach Mike Smith said. "We need to be more efficient in the red zone on both sides of the ball. We had way too many field goals."

Bryant finished 3 for 4. Ryan threw for 231 yards, and in the absence of Steven Jackson -- one of several sidelined Falcons -- Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling combined for 139 yards rushing.

Lamar Miller had a 49-yard run to set up the Dolphins' first touchdown, but they generated little running attack otherwise. Special teams made a pivotal contribution when rookie Don Jones' jarring tackle on punt returner Harry Douglas forced a fumble the Dolphins recovered to set up a touchdown.

"That was the biggest play of the game," Miami receiver Mike Wallace said.

The Dolphins lost defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) and linebacker Koa Misi (shoulder) to injuries, but the defense dug in after a slow start. Consecutive possessions by Atlanta in the second half netted a total of 10 yards, which allowed the Dolphins to rally.

"Guys had to step up," said first-round draft pick Dion Jordan, who came off the bench to see his most extensive action of the season. "We stuck together and it came up big."

The Falcons scored on their first three series, and at one point the Dolphins trailed in total yards by 127-3. Atlanta had the ball for nearly 23 minutes in the first half but was up only 13-10 at halftime.

Ryan led drives of 14, 11 and 13 plays on the Falcons' first three possessions, but twice they stalled and settled for field goals.

"We had a lot of opportunities to finish the game," Ryan said. "We just didn't get it done in the red zone. We have to find a way to punch it in."

Game notes


The Dolphins have scored at least 20 points in each game, the first time they've done that since 2002. ... Atlanta's Matt Bosher, leading the league in punting, averaged 33.0 yards on two kicks. ... Osi Umenyiora had his first two sacks for Atlanta. ... Miami rookie Caleb Sturgis kicked field goals of 46 and 50 yards and is 6 for 6 this year.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ATL
MIA
1st Downs2416
Passing 1st downs
1413
Rushing 1st downs
93
1st downs from penalties
10
3rd down efficiency
5-117-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6855
Total Yards377285
Yards per play5.55.2
Total Drives911
Passing231195
Comp-Att
23-3824-35
Yards per pass
6.14.9
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
0-05-41
Rushing14690
Rushing Attempts
3015
Yards per rush
4.96.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-53-3
Penalties7-592-13
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession37:0922:51

Passing Leaders

ATLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ryan23/382316.1210-0
MIAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Tannehill24/352366.7215-41

Rushing Leaders

ATLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Rodgers18864.8018
Snelling11534.8017
MIACARYDSAVGTDLG
Miller8627.8049
Thomas5214.216

Receiving Leaders

ATLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jones911512.8028
Snelling45814.5134
MIARECYDSAVGTDLG
Hartline45614.0120
Gibson6498.2019

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERATLMIA
atlTD6:19Jason Snelling 7 Yard Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 80 yds, 8:48
70
SECOND QUARTERATLMIA
atlFG13:03Matt Bryant 52 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 42 yds, 5:58
100
miaTD10:12Daniel Thomas 5 Yard Run (Caleb Sturgis Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 2:56
107
atlFG2:08Matt Bryant 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 13 plays, 78 yds, 8:02
137
miaFG0:02Caleb Sturgis 46 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 60 yds, 2:04
1310
THIRD QUARTERATLMIA
atlTD12:45Levine Toilolo 2 Yard Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 12 yds, 1:32
2010
miaFG9:25Caleb Sturgis 50 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 47 yds, 3:28
2013
miaTD1:01Brian Hartline 18 Yard Pass From Ryan Tannehill (Caleb Sturgis Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 19 yds, 0:49
2020
FOURTH QUARTERATLMIA
atlFG11:43Matt Bryant 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 65 yds, 4:17
2320
miaTD0:43Dion Sims 1 Yard Pass From Ryan Tannehill (Caleb Sturgis Kick is Good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 75 yds, 4:08
2327