Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins defeated the St. Louis Rams on Thursday evening, 14-13 and ended the preseason with a 3-1 record. Their attention will now turn towards the New England Patriots, who they will play on September 7 to kick off the 2014 NFL season.
The game featured backups and reserves trying their best to make one final impression on the coaching staff and front office. Rookie Matt Hazel made the most of his chance, scoring the game winning touchdown with about six minutes left in the last quarter.
“Just being in the NFL and scoring a touchdown, it’s exciting,” Hazel told the Miami Dolphins website. “I thank (tight end) Harold Hoskins because he made a heck of a block on the corner to spring me forth.”
After coming in with only two catches in the preseason, Hazel finished with four receptions for 79 yards against the Rams. His first three catches all were good for 19 yards.
“Coach said they were going to give me a lot of reps,” Hazel said. “It was a big preseason game. I know they were looking for me to make some plays today, so any time my number was called I had to make a play.”
Daniel Thomas, Marcus Thigpen and Caleb Sturgis, who are all on the roster bubble and/or battling injuries, struggled to make much of an impression although Thomas did have a touchdown run on fourth-and-1.
“It was good,” Thomas said. “I just wanted to come back and prove that I was healthy. That was the main thing. That’s all I was worried about, just getting back on the field.”
“The first half I kind of felt like I was out of it,” Thigpen said. “I really didn’t have a rhythm going. I knew I had to pick it up. The second half I came out with a different attitude. I knew I had to make some plays.”
Final cuts are due by Saturday at 4:00 PM EST. Many of the younger players that played last night won’t be on the final team and quite frankly, most of the decisions had been made going into the game. For some spots though, it was truly up in the air and we’ll see if last night’s performance has any impact on the coaching staff and front office’s decision.
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