MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Behind a big game from running back Adrian Peterson and two touchdowns from rookie Terry McLaurin, the Washington Redskins squeaked past the Miami Dolphins, 17-16, for their first win of the year Sunday afternoon.
A strong three quarters gave way to a shaky fourth period for the Redskins, who allowed veteran backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to orchestrate two touchdown drives over the final 15 minutes, the last of which came with just six second left. But instead of attempting the game-tying extra point, the Dolphins went for the game-winning two-point conversion and failed, sealing a Redskins' victory in Week 6 of the regular season.
Peterson, who entered the Week 6 showdown with 108 rushing yards, set season-highs in carries (23) and rushing yards (118) against the Dolphins -- marking the 55th time he eclipsed 100 rushing yards in his career. Meanwhile, McLaurin provided nearly all of the receiving production with four receptions for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"Games like this, it's interesting when you have two winless teams, everybody pulls out the stops, and I think that was indicative of the game," interim head coach Bill Callahan said. "It was a little bit wild all the way to the last minute, but our guys were resilient, and that's what we talked about all week: being relentless, being resilient and it showed."
The Redskins (1-5 overall) entered the game with a new head coach (Callahan) and a new play-caller (offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell), both of whom were determined to kick start the NFL's fifth-worst offense through five weeks. But for the first 15 minutes, the team's season-long offensive issues persisted.
The Redskins ran 10 plays for just 25 yards in the first quarter and punted three times. Peterson gained just four yards on his first three carries, while quarterback Case Keenum threw several incompletions. The Redskins entered the second quarter at their own 12-yard line and without a first down.
That's when Peterson began to find running lanes, and big ones at that. He gashed the Dolphins defense for 50 yards on five carries during the drive to bring the Redskins to the edge of the red zone. Moments later, McLaurin opened the scoring by turning around his defender and hauling in a 25-yard touchdown in the left corner of the end zone.
The 8-play, 93-yard drive yielded the Redskins' only first-half points, yet they still entered intermission with the advantage thanks a dominating defensive effort. The unit sacked quarterback Josh Rosen four times, while corner Quinton Dunbar recorded his third interception of the season in the second quarter. A last-minute field goal were the only points Miami could muster before the break.
The Redskins increased their lead with a strong start to the third quarter -- something Callahan heavily emphasized throughout the week. They immediately forced a three-and-out, then drove 55 yards on nine plays to go up 14-3. Unsurprisingly, McLaurin was on the receiving end of this touchdown, too, streaking free down the seam and catching a pristine catch from Keenum in stride for a 33-yard score.
Trailing 17-3 to start the fourth quarter, the Dolphins turned to Fitzpatrick in a last-ditch effort to come back and secure their first win of 2019. It nearly worked.
Fitzpatrick led Miami on a nine-play, 55-yard touchdown drive early in the period and led the Dolphins down the field once again as the game entered the final seconds. With six seconds to play, Fitzpatrick connected with DeVante Parker for an 11-yard score. All of the sudden, the Dolphins were an extra point away from tying the game and a two-point conversion away from winning it.
"Everybody knows what Fitzpatrick is going to do," said defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who finished with three tackles and two sacks. "He's either going to go in there and throw for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns or he's going to throw six picks. He's a gun-slinger. That's what he does -- he doesn't really care -- and that's dangerous."
But with the game on the line, Miami ran a running back screen pass that would have been stopped even if Kenyan Drake did not drop the pass. Once the ball hit the ground, it all but sealed the Redskins' first win of 2019.
"We're heading in the right direction right now," corner Josh Norman said. "We have a win under our belt, that's one down. ...Let's keep compiling on that."