- The Washington Times
Sunday, December 27, 2020

Ryan Fitzpatrick exuded a certain bit of magic Saturday night in the Dolphins’ comeback victory against the Raiders.

Miami received the ball with 19 seconds left in the game, trailing 25-23. The team started at its own 25-yard line with zero timeouts. They don’t call it Fitzmagic for nothing, though. Fitzpatrick launched a 34-yard completion to Mack Hollins down the sideline, all while a defender grabbed his facemask.

The no-look completion caught the eye of Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City quarterback who made the no-look pass popular.

“I know I’m late but best no look pass of all time,” Mahomes tweeted.

That completion β€” plus the facemask penalty β€” set up Jason Sanders to hit the 44-yard game-winning field goal. The field goal won it, of course, because Raiders coach Jon Gruden opted to not score a touchdown, instead aiming to run the clock as low as possible before taking the two-point edge via a field goal.

After the loss β€” which took a miraculous set of circumstances β€” Gruden doesn’t regret the decision.

“The play was to eliminate all the clock and all the timeouts and put them back with their back against the wall with 19 seconds left,” Gruden said (via ESPN). “I don’t regret it. I didn’t want Fitzpatrick to have the ball. … I didn’t want him to be in a four-down situation. He’s a gunslinger; he was hot. That’s all I can say. I don’t regret it one bit. I just regret the results.

“But 19 seconds left, on your own 25-yard line, with no timeouts? I’ve called plays a long time. The probability of getting that done is remote.”

Yet that’s what Fitzpatrick did, stepping in to replace Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter to lead his team to the improbable victory.

“In that case, really, you’re throwing up a prayer,” Fitzpatrick said. “I didn’t know that it was complete, initially. My face mask was getting pulled, and my head was getting ripped off. I turned around to make sure they saw the face mask, then [Dolphins right tackle] Jesse Davis or [running back] Myles Gaskin had to tell me it was completed.”

Tagovailoa was pulled early in the fourth quarter after throwing for just 94 yards and a touchdown. The rookie will remain the Dolphins’ starter, however, according to coach Brian Flores.

Flores equated Fitzpatrick to a closing pitcher in baseball, giving his team an edge to win the game.

“I have a lot of confidence in Tua,” Flores said. “He’s made a lot of plays for us. He’s made plays today. We just felt like we needed a spark. Fitzy gave us that.”

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