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Dolphins finally connect deep on offense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Miami Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace was waiting for this type of game all season.

The New England Patriots play a lot of man-to-man defense and opponents have increasingly showed a lack of respect for Miami’s deep ball. This combination presented the ideal opportunity for the Dolphins to take shots deep despite a prior reluctance to do so.

As a result, the Dolphins connected on rare "splash" plays in Sunday's 41-13 loss to the New England Patriots. Wallace had five receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown. That included a 50-yard deep ball on the first play offensive play of the game and a 35-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

“Definitely, we have to stretch the defense out,” Wallace said. “We have to or they're going to come up and put a lot of guys in the box and it will be hard to run the football. ... We got a couple [deep plays].”

There are major questions whether Tannehill can consistently and accurately throw the deep pass. Tannehill temporarily silenced the critics for at least one game.

Most of Tannehill’s deep passes were accurate and on the money. Even a potential touchdown throw to backup running back Damien Williams was on target, but dropped in the end zone.

"Obviously one game doesn't put the nail in the coffin or anything," Tannehill said. "But I felt confident all year that we can make the [deep passing] plays."

It was difficult for Wallace to feel good about his performance after the Dolphins suffered a blowout loss. The 28-point margin of defeat was the largest for Miami all season. The previous high was 19 points to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2 and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3.

Perhaps the biggest issue is Miami suffered this kind of blowout loss with its season on the line in December. Just a week ago, the Dolphins controlled their own destiny and held the final wild-card spot in the AFC. But back-to-back losses to New England and the Baltimore Ravens will keep Miami out of the playoffs.

“It’s disappointing again,” Wallace said. “It’s the same as last year. We had the season in our hands to do something about it. We dropped the ball again.”