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Dolphins Show Their Rebounding Ability

October 30, 2000|From Associated Press

MIAMI — When the Miami Dolphins play, no lead is safe.

In a sequel to the worst collapse in franchise history, the Dolphins staged a comeback of their own Sunday, erasing a 17-point deficit to defeat the Green Bay Packers, 28-20.

Larry Izzo ran 39 yards with a fake punt to set up a touchdown, Jeff Ogden scored on an 81-yard punt return, and the Dolphin defense stiffened after a shaky start.

"It's a 60-minute game," defensive end Jason Taylor said. "Everyone in Miami understands that now."

The Dolphins started where they left off Monday, when they blew a 23-point fourth-quarter lead and lost, 40-37, in overtime to the New York Jets. But after the Packers scored on their first three possessions for a 17-0 lead, the Dolphins answered with four touchdowns in a span of 13:06.

"We could have really been down in the dumps if we had lost this one," said quarterback Jay Fiedler, who played despite sore ribs that required a hospital visit Sunday morning. "It's a big momentum swing for us going into the second half of the season."

Miami (6-2) moved into a three-way tie with the Jets and Indianapolis Colts atop the AFC East. The toughest part of Miami's schedule is ahead, with four of the next five games on the road.

The Packers (3-5) missed a chance to gain ground on NFC Central leader Minnesota. The teams meet in Green Bay next Monday night.

"I just hope guys don't give up," quarterback Brett Favre said. "It's not over. It's a little deeper, but it's not over."

Miami players praised first-year Coach Dave Wannstedt for not reacting harshly to the loss against the Jets. He eased up in practice last week and rewarded them for Sunday's victory by giving them the next two days off.

"It's a great, great comeback from a character standpoint," said Wannstedt, who improved to 2-11 against Green Bay. His first 12 games against the Packers were as coach of the Chicago Bears.

Special teams played a pivotal role in the rally. Izzo, a 228-pound reserve linebacker, took a short snap from punt formation on fourth and two and ran to the Packer 14-yard line before fumbling. Teammate Robert Jones recovered.

"It didn't take much to run through the huge hole that was there," Izzo said.

A penalty pushed the Dolphins back to the 31, but they scored three plays later on Lamar Smith's four-yard run for a 21-17 lead.

Miami then forced a punt, and Ogden returned it untouched for his first NFL touchdown.

"Maybe some of our younger guys thought when we were up 17-0 that it was in the bag," Favre said. "This is the NFL. Anything can happen. Miami can attest to that."

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