Inside the Miami Dolphins’ fake punt run by Michael Thomas

This play was a rare highlight for the Dolphins. (Getty Images)

This play was a rare highlight for the Dolphins. (Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH—A smart fake punt call by the Dolphins was overshadowed by their list of failures in Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh was a smart fake punt call.

This was a good one. Miami’s had it in the playbook all season, and it was finally time to call it. The Steelers were up 20-3 early in the second quarter, and the Dolphins faced fourth-and-1 from their own 41.

They lined up to punt, but opted for a direct snap to safety Michael Thomas. He plowed through the line for three yards and a first down, and Miami got a field goal out of the drive several minutes later.

“Finally got my chance,” Thomas said, cracking a smile. “I’m glad (special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi) had confidence in us. The time was right then. It was now or never. Damien Williams was one of the main ones saying we need to go for it no matter how many people they put in the box.”

Rizzi told Thomas, “the fake is up,” and left him the option to bail on it if he thought Pittsburgh had it covered. Thomas hinted that the players already had their minds made up to go for it no matter what.

It was Thomas’ first carry since his freshman season at Stanford. He got one or two plays per game as a Wildcat quarterback for the Cardinal that year.

In addition to his fourth-down conversion, Thomas picked off Ben Roethlisberger later in the quarter. That made him the first NFL player to record an interception and a rushing attempt in the same postseason game. He is only one in Dolphins history to do so.

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