The Dolphins-Mike Martz special: Inside trick play made Miami 3-0

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Adam Gase had a secretive smirk on his face as he watched Albert Wilson line up everywhere on the practice field. It was coming, but nobody knew exactly when. The Oakland Raiders had no idea.

Wilson had played running back, receiver, wildcat QB and took reverses in his first two games as a Dolphin. But Gase knew he'd eventually let his do-it-all weapon pass the rock soon. Real soon.

The time came with 7 minutes, 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Raiders. The Miami Dolphins were just two yards shy of midfield, down 17-14, with a first-and-10.

Ryan Tannehill took the snap under center and faked a toss to the right to receiver Jakeem Grant, who was lined up in the backfield. Tannehill then turned to handed the ball off to Gore, who was lined up as an H-back on the right side. Gore smoothly handed it off to Wilson, who was in motion from his flanker position on the left side.

Wilson sold it well, looking if he was going to run it on the reverse, which gave Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee happy feet trying to figure out what was happening. Wilson quickly got in throwing motion and delivered a pass 25 yards in the air to Grant on a wheel route.

Grant made an open-field move to make Raiders safety Marcus Gilchrist miss around the 15-yard line. It was a key portion of the play because it led to the TD, and because Grant didn't want to be $100 lighter in his wallet. Grant and Wilson have a $100 fine with each other if they are tackled in the open field.

The team embraced in the end zone and on the sideline after the successful trick play. It gave the Dolphins a 21-17 lead, their first of the game, and led to a 28-20 win. Miami is now 3-0 and sports a two-game AFC East lead as it heads to New England on Sunday.

The play had some elements of the Philly Special, a play the Philadelphia Eagles ran at the end of the first half of their Super Bowl LII victory. The Dolphins wouldn't reveal the play's name, but it isn't original. We'll just call it the Dolphins-Mike Martz special.

"It was just straight thievery. I mean we stole it. It's an old Martz play," Gase said. "It's just nobody watches his old stuff. They might now."

Martz, who coached the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" teams and currently is the head coach of Alliance San Diego, visited Gase for a week at the end of training camp. Gase considers Martz the most influential mentor he's learned from his coaching career. The two specifically discussed how to expand the packages of Wilson and Grant, two of their fastest and most versatile playmakers.

Wilson was a quarterback at Port St. Lucie (Florida) High School, but never had to sell Gase.

"I never mentioned the high school QB thing, man," Wilson said. "He already knew everything about my game. He's a genius. Every week it's something dope. I'm ready to go with whatever he has in the chamber."

Gase wanted to run the Dolphins-Martz special when his team needed a touchdown because he was confident it would work. When he sent in the call to Tannehill, the QB's eyes lit up.

"There was definitely some excitement leaving the huddle," Tannehill said. "We were excited about that play coming into the game, it looked good during the week and I said earlier, you never know how those things are going to turn out. It could be perfect like it was, or they could defend it well, but you never really know."

But Gase knew. And this isn't a one-hit wonder, either. There are a lot of plays that branch off of this formation, particularly with Wilson in movement. But Wilson believes that it was his first in-game throw since his sophomore year at Georgia State. He threw an interception on that pass, and wasn't allowed to throw another one.

But Grant swears Wilson was "on the money" every time in practice. Wilson and Tannehill co-signed.

"He was consistent on making a perfect throw. It wasn't ever a question," Tannehill said of Wilson in practice. "He never stretched Jakeem out or made him adjust, really."

On this particular play, it was throw all the way. Wilson never was going to tuck it and run.

"There were no reads. We knew it would be open. I just had to throw it," Wilson said. "I ain't Ryan. I'm just a receiver. It was wide open."

The offensive line did a great job giving different sets -- some zone-run blocking, while others did a pass set. Right tackle Ja'Wuan James ran in front of Gore on the misdirection. He didn't block anyone, but fooled two linebackers and safety Reggie Nelson, essentially taking them out of the play.

Left tackle Laremy Tunsil: "We practiced it every day. Every day. Some days it was smooth; some days it wasn't. Glad we ran it."

Tannehill's role was small, but important.

"I'm just thinking about my responsibility, making sure we line up right, the Mike (linebacker) point, and then everyone's good with the motion and helping out with the tight end on the block," he said. "After I saw [Wilson] run it the first time, I thought, 'He's got this. He doesn't need any tips.'"

They didn't run a similar play against the Raiders, but did in the second quarter of their Week 1 game against Tennessee. The ball was handed off to Gore instead of executing the trick play. They saw the look they wanted and knew it would be wide open.

Gase promises that the Dolphins-Martz trick play won't be the last one you see, either.