Rather a lot was driving on Sam Sloman’s late-game area aim try Sunday night. The kick would not simply resolve the AFC South title; it additionally would decide how excessive the Dolphins would choose within the first spherical of the 2021 NFL Draft.
When Sloman’s 37-yard kick doinked off the fitting upright after which bounced via, the Titans (11-5) claimed a division title by beating the non-playoff Texans 41-38. And since Houston had traded its 2021 first-rounder to the Dolphins within the Laremy Tunsil deal, the loss secured the No. 3 general choice for Miami in April’s draft.
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For Texans followers, the kick added yet another little bit of insult to damage associated to Invoice O’Brien’s unhealthy commerce ledger. On Sept. 1, 2019, O’Brien gave up first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and a 2021 second-round choose for Tunsil, large receiver Kenny Stills and two later-round picks.
The swing from Sloman’s kick was sizable: Had Houston gone on to win in extra time, then the Dolphins would have been choosing eighth.
Gaining 5 spots is a minimum of some comfort for Miami, which missed the playoffs following a Week 17 loss to the Payments. Miami wanted a win, or it might have a minimum of benefited from losses by the Titans, Ravens, Browns and Colts. However all 4 groups received and the Dolphins gave up 56 factors to Josh Allen and the Payments’ backups.
Miami will now have two choices within the high 18; its personal choose is No. 18 general as a result of it has the most effective document amongst non-playoff groups. That’ll give the Dolphins two possibilities to spice up the expertise round Tua Tagovailoa as they try to recover from the ultimate hurdle in 2021.
Sloman’s kick gave Tennessee its first division title since 2008, and it was additionally a significant second for Sloman himself. The Rams took Sloman within the seventh spherical of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Miami (Ohio) as a possible successor to Greg Zuerlein, however they waived him on Oct. 27. The Titans picked him up off LA’s apply squad on Dec. 1.
Veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski was positioned on the reserve/COVID-19 record Monday and was inactive for Sunday’s sport, forcing Tennessee to name up Sloman. In his Titans debut, Sloman made all 5 of his further level kicks and each of his area aim makes an attempt. He nailed a 47-yarder earlier within the sport.
The efficiency might have earned the 23-year previous Sloman one other NFL alternative as soon as Gostkowski returns and sure knocks him out of the function. The lucky bounce of an oddly formed ball on the end positively earned the Titans the AFC’s No. 4 seed — and the Dolphins a a lot better draft choose in 2021.