ATLANTA — With only 47 seconds left and the Falcons trailing the Dolphins by three points, some may have thought Atlanta would play to set up a game-tying field goal.
Not Dolphins rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley.
“Oh no, they were going for the win,” Tankersley said Sunday. “A high-caliber team like that? They have plenty of time to go for the score. They wanted a touchdown.”
Atlanta was already in field-goal range, with the ball at Miami’s 31-yard line.
But Tankersley was right. And he was also right about diagnosing a route run by Falcons tight end Austin Hooper.
“That’s something we saw on film all week,” Tankersley said.
Ryan tried to force the ball into Hooper on a deep route over the middle, but Tankersley — who is proving capable of providing pretty tight coverage — tipped the attempt into the air, where safety Reshad Jones clinched the game with an interception.
“I had no idea where Reshad was,” Tankersley said. “I thought I was by myself. (Reshad) being one of the best safeties in the NFL, it showed. He was there to get the pick.”
Ryan passed for 248 yards, but only 97 in the second half, as Miami pitched a shutout.
Xavien Howard, who declined an interview request after the game, shadowed Julio Jones, who was limited to six catches for 72 yards, with a long of 18 yards.
“I feel like he played an unbelievable game,” Tankersley said of Howard. “By far definitely his best game this year. He did exactly what we asked him to do, just go out there and cover Julio.”
Tankersley learned Miami was a 12-point underdog after the game, when he heard cornerback Bobby McCain yelling about it in the area where the defensive backs dress.
“I don’t think anybody outside of this locker room really gave us a chance,” Tankersley said. “We believe we have an opportunity to win every week. I just found out we were a 12-point underdog. But we’ve still got to suit up and play ball.”
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