Monday, November 17, 2008
Ted Ginn Jr. kept the Dolphins' winning drive alive with a fourth-down catch. Earlier, he had a 40-yard touchdown run.
By Andre C. Fernandez
November 16, 2008
Whether it's rushing, returning kicks or receiving, Ted Ginn Jr. continues to prove himself reliable to the Miami Dolphins in clutch situations.
Ginn made several plays at critical moments Sunday against the Oakland Raiders that helped the Dolphins pull out another close victory.
The one that will make numerous highlight clips across the country came in the first quarter, when he took a handoff on a reverse and scored on a 40-yard touchdown that gave the Dolphins an early 7-0 lead.
But the most important play came with Miami trailing 15-14 at the fourth quarter's two-minute warning and facing fourth-and-5 from Oakland's 35-yard line. When Miami needed to make a big decision on whether or not to kick a field goal, the Dolphins chose to go for the first down instead of going for what would have been a 53-yard field goal and the longest attempt of kicker Dan Carpenter's rookie season.
Ginn got open in the middle of the field and caught a pass from quarterback Chad Pennington for a 7-yard gain. Three plays later, Carpenter kicked a 38-yard field goal that lifted the Dolphins to the victory.
''I didn't expect the ball to come to me, but I got into my position and that's what I was supposed to do,'' Ginn said. ``As long as you do the little things, big things should happen. I got into position to make a play and they took a chance on me and it came out to be all right.''
A KEY CONTRIBUTOR
Ginn said after the game that he didn't think he deserved to be referred to as the team's ''go-to'' receiver, but he has been vital in Miami's four-game winning streak.
Ginn finished with 166 all-purpose yards and led the Dolphins in receiving for the third time in the past four games. Greg Camarillo's 11 catches for 111 yards kept Ginn from leading the team in receiving against Denver on Nov. 2. Ginn finished with four catches for 51 yards on Sunday.
''I think one of the things is certainly Chad getting more comfortable with Ted,'' Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. ``What I see with Ted is him catching the ball across the middle at the end and run with it. So he made some good plays in the middle of the field there and in some other areas.''
RUNNING FOR A CHANGE
His first-quarter rushing touchdown was the first of his career, and the first by a Dolphins receiver since 2003. On the play, Ginn swept to the left side, broke a tackle, and weaved his way through Oakland's secondary to the end zone.
''We worked on that play all week in practice,'' Ginn said. ``It was a simple reverse and I had a great block by Samson [Satele], I broke a tackle and once I saw the goal line I had to be there. We just came out and executed it to perfection. That's why we do what we do. We just go out and execute the play.''
Ginn caught another timely pass late in the third quarter that set up Miami's second touchdown. Pennington found Ginn open near the sideline for a 12-yard completion to convert on a third and 7 from its own 39-yard line.
Ginn ranks second on the team in receiving behind Camarillo after Sunday's game with 38 catches for 508 yards, while averaging 20.8 yards per kickoff return. He has caught at least four passes in six games this season.
Ginn, who had a slow start to the season, catching only three passes in the first two games, said the difference has been getting more opportunities.
''I work hard every day and try to make the best of them,'' Ginn said. ``If I get a good kickoff return, it boosts my morale.
``As long as we, as a team, keep getting better in all phases of the game.''