Bears get whiplash chas­ing Wil­son

The Palm Beach Post - - SPORTS - Jason Lieser

MI­AMI GAR­DENS — It seems im­pos­si­ble that on a field full of world­class ath­letes one of them is able to al­most lit­er­ally run cir­cles around the rest.

That’s the weapon the Dol­phins have in Al­bert Wil­son, by far Adam Gase’s smartest free agency de­ci­sion as head coach, the most ex­plo­sive player on their ros­ter and the rea­son they got the chance to pull out Sun­day’s 31-28 over­time ad­ven­ture against Chicago at Hard Rock Sta­dium.

Fast Al­bert smirked when the Bears thought they wrapped it up on a touch­down with 3:17 re­main­ing. With his team down seven, he leaned over to some­one on the side­line and said, “They gave me too much time.”

It turns out a few sec­onds

is too much time to leave this guy.

The very next play, he caught a ball over the mid­dle that trav­eled 4 yards past the line of scrim­mage to reach him, and turned to face three Bears de­fend­ers clos­ing in on him. He cut to the right side­line and went right at safety Adrian Amos Jr., then juked him so hard that he fell flat on the turf as his hands grazed Wil­son’s cleats.

Then an­other Bear — no need to keep nam­ing these anony­mous would-be tack­lers — had a chance and Wil­son slipped him with ease be­fore cut­ting back to the open grass in the mid­dle of the field for a 75-yard touch­down.

How much space does he need to make those kinds of game-chang­ing plays?

“Not much,” he said as though he’s sur­prised when he doesn’t do things like that. “I just need to get my shoul­ders pointed up field. Once that hap­pens, I pretty much have suc­cess.”

The goal of Mi­ami’s of­fense is to of­fer the quar­ter­back, who­ever it might be, with low-risk, high-re­ward passes, and Wil­son is the epit­ome of it. Gase wanted an ar­ray of skill play­ers so dan­ger­ous that any­body could op­er­ate it ef­fec­tively, and Sun­day any­body did.

Brock Osweiler, a punch­line around the NFL the last three years, stepped in for in­jured starter Ryan Tan­nehill and put up a ca­reer-high 380 yards to go with 28-for-44 ac­cu­racy, three touch­downs and a 94.9 passer rat­ing. Wil­son gave him 118 yards and two touch­downs on two throws: the afore­men­tioned pass over the mid­dle and a screen pass that he caught be­hind the line of scrim­mage and turned into a 43-yard score.

He fin­ished with six re­cep­tions, 155 yards and two scores.

“Fan­tas­tic,” Osweiler said of watch­ing Wil­son run wild. “I ab­so­lutely love it.”

Without Wil­son’s two big plays, this game never makes it to over­time and Hard Rock Sta­dium misses out on the wild cel­e­bra­tion of Jason San­ders’ game-win­ning 47-yard field goal.

Both of Wil­son’s touch­downs came in the fourth quar­ter.

The first al­lowed Mi­ami to tie it at 21 on a two-point con­ver­sion from Osweiler to Kenny Stills with nine min­utes left as the Dol­phins ral­lied from a 21-10 deficit late in the third quar­ter.

On the two touch­downs com­bined, Wil­son slipped at least nine de­fend­ers by ei­ther shak­ing them or straight-up out­run­ning them.

“It’s great see­ing him do that,” said fel­low re­ceiver Ja­keem Grant, who knows quite a bit about those kinds of moves. “I knew from the jump he could do things like that. ... I’m not the only guy that can do that now. Proud of him.

“My man doesn’t need a go-ball. He doesn’t need any deep balls. He can take a

5-yard route and go the dis­tance. That’s him.”

That’s what Gase saw in Wil­son as he made his climb in Kansas City the last four years, but he doesn’t get all the credit for him com­ing to the Dol­phins. As much as Mi­ami tar­geted Wil­son with its three­year, $24 mil­lion of­fer, Wil­son chose this team over Chicago, Bal­ti­more, Buf­falo and pos­si­bly oth­ers be­cause he saw high po­ten­tial in a part­ner­ship with Gase.

Other teams talked about him be­ing the start­ing slot re­ceiver. Gase thought play­ing him in the slot was a waste of his speed. He also saw a va­ri­ety of uses for him, even run­ning and throw­ing the ball, and that sounded good enough to Wil­son that he picked the Dol­phins even know­ing that they planned to sign re­ceiver Danny Amen­dola the next day.

The match has been a good one. This is twice now that Wil­son flipped a game for Mi­ami — he threw a 52-yard touch­down pass to Grant and took a shovel pass from Tan­nehill 74 yards for a score to rally past the Raiders in Week 3. He has been the team’s most pro­duc­tive re­ceiver with 23 catches, 359 yards and four touch­downs.

“We’re al­ways try­ing to find ways to get the ball in his hands and Ja­keem’s, whether it’s short or in­ter­me­di­ate be­cause those guys are un­be­liev­able when it comes to getting into the open field,” Gase said. “If they have a lit­tle bit of room, they’re so fast that they just split the de­fend­ers and they’re gone.”

‘My man doesn’t need a go-ball. He doesn’t need any deep balls. He can take a 5-yard route and go the dis­tance. That’s him.’ Ja­keem Grant On his fel­low Dol­phins wide re­ceiver Al­bert Wil­son

BILL IN­GRAM /THE PALM BEACH POST

Dol­phins re­ceiver Al­bert Wil­son turned two short passes into long TDs Sun­day against the Bears.

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