Spartans Beyond Campus: Tony Lippett

2016 Stats: 32 Tackles, two Interceptions, four Passes Deflected

Tony Lippett, former Michigan State defensive back and wide receiver (2011-14), had the greatest game of his professional career so far. Lippett was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. Lippett had a slow rookie season, playing a total of nine games with zero starts and finishing with a total of 13 tackles. This year, in the same amount of games, Lippett has started six games, and has more than doubled his total tackles.

The Dolphins entered Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers in second place in the AFC East, with a 4-4 record and a three-game win streak. They were only a half-game ahead of the Buffalo Bills, and three games behind the first place New England Patriots.

During the game, Lippett made sure that his presence was felt. He was able to rack up seven tackles and batted away two passes. However, that is not where Lippett proved his worth. Early in the fourth quarter, the Chargers punted away to the Dolphins who were up four, but their punt returner Jakeem Grant muffed the return and San Diego recovered the ball inside the five-yard line. It seemed San Diego was going to take the lead, or at least bring themselves within one point.

Two plays later, Lippett intercepted Charger’s quarterback Phillip Rivers in the corner of the endzone. Later on in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins were up by seven with just over a minute when San Diego began their final drive of the game in a last chance effort. Instead, with 37 seconds left, Lippett intercepted a second pass at midfield sealing the victory for Miami. As the official made the call, Lippett danced off to the side in celebration.

After the game, Lippett said in an interview with the Sun Sentinel, that he’s feeling comfortable. He talked mainly about how he played Sunday, but he also touched on his future role and said he was unable to predict what that would be moving forward.

With the Dolphins win and the Patriots losing on Sunday, the Dolphins are now just two games behind first place, and a full game in front of Buffalo. Next week, Miami will go on the road to try and extend their four-game win streak against the Los Angeles Rams.