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Dolphins Aren't Out-Manninged

November 27, 2000|From Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Yes, even Peyton Manning is human. The Miami defense made sure of that.

The Dolphins remained in control of the AFC East by defeating the Colts, 17-14, on a 17-yard touchdown pass play with 1:10 left from backup quarterback Damon Huard to Oronde Gadsden.

The 86-yard drive that ended in the decisive score was set up by Brock Marion's interception of an ill-advised third-down pass by Manning with just under three minutes to play.

And the Miami defense, with Zach Thomas back at middle linebacker after missing five of the last six games, held the Colts to their lowest point total of the season and Manning to 16-of-34 passing for his second-lowest yardage total, 209.

"We have a lot of pride in our defense," Thomas said. "If Brock Marion does not intercept that ball, we probably don't win."

But Marion did, so the Dolphins (9-3) remained in first place in the division, a game ahead of the New York Jets and two ahead of Buffalo and Indianapolis (7-5).

"The Colts have a lot of firepower. To just give up 14 points to a team with the firepower they have, we're extremely excited," Miami linebacker Robert Jones said.

For the Colts, it was the third loss in their last four games, two of them cold-weather road games in Chicago and Green Bay. They have to go back outside against the Jets at the Meadowlands on Sunday, a game that is now vital to their playoff hopes.

The Dolphins entered the game without quarterback Jay Fiedler and running back Lamar Smith, two of their most important offensive players. That left it to Huard, who won five of six games last year in place of the now-retired Dan Marino. He threw for only 128 yards with three interceptions after Fiedler was injured in a loss to the Jets last Sunday, but was 22 for 33 for 184 yards with one interception against the Colts.

Indianapolis, however, seemed in control during a five-minute, fourth-quarter drive in which much of time was consumed by the running of Edgerrin James, who finished with 26 carries for 118 yards.

But on third and seven, instead of running to eat up more time and set up a field goal, Manning threw deep over the middle, Marion got in front of Jerome Pathon for the interception.

The Dolphins started from their 14, and Huard completed six of seven passes for 77 yards on the game-deciding drive.

"I've had success throughout my career with the two-minute drill," Huard said. "We really get into a rhythm. You stop thinking and start throwing."

Indianapolis had one last chance, driving to the Miami 42 as time was running out. Mike Vanderjagt was brought on for a 59-yard field goal attempt that was deflected at the line of scrimmage.

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