No-name defender lifts Dolphins over Patriots

Posted: December 17, 2013

Looks like the Miami Dolphins have found the secret to stopping New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Sign a reserve safety off the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad and give him his first NFL start against the future Hall-of-Famer. (It's so simple, you wonder why nobody ever tried it before.)

After Michael Thomas stepped in front of Austin Collie to intercept Brady's fourth-down pass in the end zone with two seconds left on Sunday, sealing a seesaw, 24-20 victory over the Pats, he flopped to his back and was swarmed by his new teammates.

If only they knew who he was.

"I didn't know what his first name was," defensive tackle Jared Odrick said of Thomas, who was undrafted coming out of Stanford in 2012. "That's being thrown in the fire and reacting. That's a pure athlete."

But of course, any good news about the Dolphins is shadowed by the team's bullying scandal. Miami guard Richie Incognito's suspension was scheduled to end following Sunday's game, in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. But ESPN is reporting Incognito will stay on the suspended list, with pay, for the rest of the 2013 season while the NFL continues its investigation of his actions with teammate Jonathan Martin.

Captain Football. When New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes said last week the Panthers' secondary was the "weakest link" of their defense, he probably didn't realize he was sparking the wrath of the Captain.

Delightfully monikered Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who said he took Holmes' words "kind of personal," had two sacks and returned a pick 42 yards for a score in Carolina's 30-20 win over the Jets.

Holmes had two catches for 17 yards. "They played pretty good," he said.

Of Munnerlyn's seven career interceptions, five have been returned for TDs. Salute!

Cousins watch. How is it going with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan's alchemy experiment of turning 2012 fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins into trade gold worth a 2014 first-rounder? On the plus side, Cousins threw for 381 yards and three TDs in a 27-26 loss to the Atlanta Falcons (ka-ching!). But then there's the dross: he gave up two interceptions, lost a fumble, and failed on a two-point pass that would have won the game (oops!).


mharrington@phillynews.com

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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