In 2016, Matt Moore was the longest-tenured quarterback on the Miami Dolphins roster. The 32-year old hadn’t received another chance to start since his electric run in 2011, as Ryan Tannehill had been Miami’s starter ever since being drafted in 2012.
Moore had only appeared in preseason games and received limited playing time throughout the past five years. That all changed in Week 14.
After Tannehill injured his knee in the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals, Moore took the field at Sun Life Stadium and did not disappoint. His 29-yard completion to Kenny Stills on the final drive of the game set up a game-winning field goal as time expired.
Moore kept Miami’s playoff hopes alive, and with Tannehill out for the rest of the season, he was given the task to show out throughout the three remaining games, all against division rivals.
In Week 15, Dolphins traveled to New York to take on the Jets in a cold December matchup. Nonetheless, the nine-year veteran exposed the Jets defense, completing 12-of-18 passes for 236 yards and four touchdown tosses in a 34-13 victory.
His career-best outing earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week Honors.
The following week, Miami had the opportunity to clinch a playoff birth with a win over the Buffalo Bills, and so they did.
Moore passed for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the game, but Jay Ajayi’s 206 rushing yards shined above all else. The Dolphins snuck away with a 34-31 overtime victory.
Having already clinched a playoff berth, the 10-5 Dolphins were manhandled by the 14-2 Patriots behind Tom Brady’s 3 touchdown passes. Even so, Moore completed over 70% percent of his passes and threw two touchdowns.
The long-tenured backup had stepped up to the plate and helped the Dolphins secure their only postseason berth of the decade.
Miami was set for an AFC Wild Card Playoff road contest versus the Pittsburgh Steelers’ “Big Three” of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell.
Outmatched would be an understatement. Despite completing season-highs in both completion percentage (80.6) and passing yards (289), the Steelers would take advantage of every error the Dolphins made.
Down 14 points right before the half, Moore’s costly fumble in the redone killed all momentum. He started the second half with a fumble which resulted in a Pittsburgh field goal. The very next possession, Moore was picked off and the Steelers capitalized with a touchdown, which would put the game out of reach.
Regardless, Moore exceeded expectations filling in for Tannehill and leading Miami to the playoffs. In 2017, he would lose the starting job to Jay Cutler, and underachieved in four games played, totaling a 1-3 record.
After 2017, Moore was a scout for the Dolphins from February to May of 2019 and spent a month as a volunteer assistant at Hart High. Fast forward to 2020, and the veteran captured a Super Bowl ring as the second-string quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
He was even called to duty after Patrick Mahomes dislocated his right kneecap and shattered expectations. A year and a half removed from his last NFL pass, Moore was thrown into the fire after Mahomes’ injury and connected on 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards, including a 57-yard strike to Tyreek Hill.
Following the outing, Moore started for two consecutive weeks, hitting on 59 of 90 passes (65 percent) for 659 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. Despite limited action, he was able to redefine his value as a reserve in the NFL.
Matt Moore’s career has taken all types of twists and turns, and Dolphins fans have nothing but love for the determined quarterback.