Kenyan Drake had every reason to be excited.
After scoring on one of the biggest plays in Miami Dolphins history — a play that went 69 yards as the clock ran out for a 34-33 win Sunday over the New England Patriots — Drake got caught up in the moment and hurled the ball into the stands.
But now that the excitement from the so-called Miami Miracle has died down, Drake has come to a realization.
“I’d love to have the ball back,” he told Sports Illustrated hours later. “I don’t regret throwing it, but now that I’m level-headed, I’m sitting down thinking about it, having the ball back would definitely mean a lot to me, and the team as well.”
The victory keeps the Dolphins (7-6) in the thick of the AFC wildcard hunt.
With 16 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins trailed 32-28 and had the ball on their own 31. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills. He lateraled to DeVante Parker, who quickly lateraled to Drake.
Drake handled the rest, taking the ball toward the end zone and eventually ending up with one player left to beat — Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was apparently on the field for the unlikely scenario that the Dolphins would attempt a 69-yard Hail Mary pass.
“It’s me and Gronk,” Drake told Sports Illustrated. “Gronk’s a great offensive player, Hall of Fame-caliber tight end. But his forte is not tackling anybody. I knew at that moment, I had to get in the end zone. When he stumbled, I was like, ‘I just gotta kick it into high gear.’ I’m known more for my speed than he is. So I had to make the play.”
Gronkowski ended up on the ground, Drake ended up in the end zone and the ball ended up going to some lucky fan at Hard Rock Stadium. And now the Dolphins’ third-year running back has a proposition for that person in an attempt to get that ball back.
“We’ve got one last home game,” Drake said. “If they don’t have tickets already, I’ll give them tickets to the game, whatever they need.”