With the Miami Dolphins attempting to rally midway through the third quarter against the Detroit Lions, Mike Gesicki caught a third-down pass from Brock Osweiler on a short crossing route and proceeded up field.
He made it past the first-down marker and looked for extra yardage as Detroit’s Tracy Walker approached.
“I should have just jumped over the dude, honestly,” Gesicki said Tuesday in retrospect. “He went pretty low, but I was moving pretty fast, and I wanted to play physical.”
So Gesicki lowered his shoulder and met Walker on impact. The Dolphins’ rookie tight end jumped up and went straight to the sideline.
Arguably the best game of his young NFL career came to an abrupt halt as he was checked for a concussion and dealt with a right shoulder injury. He passed the former with flying colors. The latter isn’t anything serious, he said.
“All cleared,” Gesicki said. “I remembered my name and all that stuff, so we’re ready to roll.”
The Dolphins are going to need Gesicki, their second-round pick from April’s NFL Draft, and any other skill position players possible to step up Thursday against the Houston Texans with both Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills out.
And the 23-year-old out of Penn State looks like he might finally be turning the corner.
Gesicki has shown glimpses of the pass-catching ability this season that he put on full display during his collegiate career even though he only has 12 catches for 132 yards with Miami so far.
Gesicki’s biggest problem early in the season was finding ways to get open in space. As the weeks progressed, he said he has simplified his approach.
“You’ve just got to play fast, play confident, know what you’re doing and act upon it,” Gesicki said. “That’s what I’ve done my whole life, and then you get here and you start thinking. Once the thinking goes away, you just start playing.”
Gesicki certainly showed up to play Sunday in the Dolphins’ 32-21 loss to Detroit. He caught three passes for a career-best 44 yards before the third-quarter injury.
Two of those catches set up eventual touchdowns.
His first catch of the game, a 27-yard strike from Osweiler three plays after Wilson was hurt, set the Dolphins up at the Lions’ 11-yard line. Osweiler found Stills in the right corner of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown six plays later.
“Mike is a tremendous football player. He really is,” Osweiler said. “At the end of the day, there’s times where great football players, especially skill position guys, they just don’t see the ball. Maybe they’re No. 2, 3 or 4 in a progression and No. 1 is getting open all day or No. 1 and No. 2 is getting open all day and they’re No. 3 in the progression.”
His final catch, the 18-yarder in the third quarter, led to a 54-yard touchdown run by Kenyan Drake two plays later.
“It was fun,” Gesicki said. “It was cool to make some plays. I wish I could have stayed out there and made some more, but that’s how the game of football goes.”
Coach Adam Gase added: “I thought there was some good stuff there before he went out. It was nice to see him get a big play. At least we’re not the only ones that think he might be good one-on-one because they doubled him down there in the red zone. We’ll just keep bringing him along and hopefully as the season goes on, he just keeps getting better and better and we keep using him more.”