MIAMI GARDENS, Fla., Aug. 8 (UPI) — Josh Rosen didn’t start against the Atlanta Falcons, but he was the most-productive quarterback in the Miami Dolphins‘ 34-27 preseason win Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium.
His most-exciting play came in the second quarter. The Falcons pass rush obliterated the Dolphins’ offensive line and defenders were all over Rosen. He managed to keep his eyes down field while being tackled. Rosen desperately tossed the ball down the right flank and into the arms of emerging wide receiver Preston Williams. Williams made the grab for a Dolphins first down.
“I felt some guys on my ankles and I knew Preston had a stop [route] coming back to me,” Rosen said. “I knew if I just put it up, he would have a break on it. It might have been a little too dicey.
“You have to know what you guys are good at. Preston can go get the ball … You gotta give him those opportunities.”
Rosen completed 13-of-20 passes for 191 yards and an interception. While he didn’t throw a touchdown, Rosen led the Dolphins to points on three of his six drives.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores also called Rosen’s play to Williams “dicey” and said at some point quarterback’s should know to take a sack.
“The guy has a little bit of a gunslinger mentality and wants to let it rip,” Flores said.
Ryan Fitzpatrick — who is competing with Rosen for the Dolphins’ starting gig — completed 2-of-5 passes for 20 yards. He led the Dolphins to a field goal on his first drive before going 3-and-out on his second drive.
“We have a few games left here in the preseason,” Fitzpatrick said.
Williams — and undrafted rookie — had four catches for a game-high 97 yards in the win. His highlight-reel included a jump ball and a one-handed catch, in addition to the second quarter Rosen connection.
“I think he has worked extremely hard since he got here,” Flores said of Williams. “He is big. He’s fast. He has good hands. He’s tough. He has worked every day to get better.”
Jason Sanders connected on a 48-yard field goal to put the Dolphins ahead early on. The Falcons responded on their next drive, marching 88 yards and scoring on a one-yard rushing touchdown from Ito Smith.
Both teams punted on their next drives before Rosen led the Dolphins to a touchdown on his first drive of the game. Kalen Ballage jumped into the end zone on a one-yard run to cap off the 43-yard drive, giving the Dolphins a 10-6 edge in the second quarter. The Falcons made a 38-yard field goal on their next drive, making the score 10-9.
Rosen threw an interception on his first pass of the Dolphins’ next drive, giving the Falcons the ball at their own 3-yard-line. Atlanta got a 29-yard field goal from Giorgio Tavecchio to take a 12-10 lead.
Miami punted on its next drive. Atlanta responded with a 50-yard scoring drive, capped off by a one-yard Brian Hill touchdown run. Sanders converted on a 23-yard field goal on the Dolphins’ next drive, making the score 19-13 at halftime.
Rosen led the Dolphins on a 9-play, 61-yard scoring drive to open up the third quarter. Mark Walton finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run, giving the Dolphins a 20-19 edge after Sanders’ extra point.
Rosen played the entire second and third quarters before being replaced by third-string quarterback Jake Rudock in the fourth quarter.
Rudock led the Dolphins to a touchdown on his first drive of the game. He capped off the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Myles Gaskin, giving the Dolphins a 27-19 advantage.
The Falcons responded once again, marching 70 yards in eight plays. They scored on a Qadree Ollison touchdown run before completing a two-point conversion to tie the game at 27-27.
The Dolphins punted on their next drive, but Atlanta turned it over on downs on the following possession, giving Miami the ball on the Falcons 6-yard-line. Gaskin found the end zone again two plays later on a six-yard touchdown run, giving the Dolphins a 34-27 lead.
“I feel substantially better now than I did two weeks ago,” Rosen said. “But like I said, I’ve got a long ways to go.
“The way ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in our meeting room can break down a defense and how quickly he can make comments on where everyone is, where the ball should go, is pretty impressive and I think if I can kind of hedge that gunslinger attitude a little bit and put a little bit more thought into it, I think I could develop pretty nicely.”
Falcons backup quarterback Matt Schaub completed 12-of-19 pass attempts for 172 yards. Ollison had eight rushing attempts for 41 yards and a score in the win.
The Dolphins battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 7:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 16 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons host the New York Jets at 7:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.