Each week on "Master Level Plays," we highlight some of the best performances and moments from the previous Sunday.
Sometimes the biggest plays don't happen in the fourth quarter. Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins were dominated for most of the first half Sunday. They trailed New England 10-0 and faced a third-and-10 with 1:23 left until halftime.
The old Dolphins might have run the ball or thrown a safe, short pass to force the Patriots to use a timeout. But Miami had already announced their aggressive intentions by throwing the first two downs, and they dialed up a vertical play on third down. Tannehill delivered a beautiful throw to Rishard Matthews. The Dolphins scored a touchdown later in the drive. If Tannehill doesn't hit this throw, the Dolphins almost surely lose.
Tannehill needed help from his defense, of course, to finish off the victory. We wrote about Michael Thomas' incredible story Monday. His game-ending interception made all the highlight reels, but his best play came on first down. New England receiver Danny Amendola had a win in his hands, and Thomas knocked it out.
There was a seismic announcement on our latest "Around The League Podcast" episode. Jamaal Charles has passed Pierre Thomas on Chris Wesseling's "screen pass rankings" after an unprecedented five-year run of dominance by Thomas.
Marshawn Lynch's steady dominance has to be watched on a weekly basis to truly appreciate it. The play below is a perfect example. This shows up as a two-yard touchdown in the box score. On video, it becomes prototypically Lynchian.