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The Dolphins got a little revenge for last year's losses today
as they used their tremendous defense and just enough Dan Marino magic
to beat the New England Patriots in overtime in Miami today. Neither
team was able to score a touchdown as defense was the order of the
afternoon for both teams. The Patriots actually won the turnover
battle, but when crunch time came at the end of the game, they couldn't
stop Dan Marino and he carried the Dolphins to victory as he has so many
The day in Miami was sunny and 80 degrees with a brisk wind
that swirled and gusted to 25 miles per hour. Inactive for the
Dolphins were Ron Moore, Horace Copeland, Anthony Harris, Danny Stubbs,
Mike Sheldon, Brent Smith and Hendrick Lusk.
The game started with John Avery fumbling the kickoff and Brock
Marion picking up the loose ball and getting back to the 8 before he was
stopped. A short run by Karim, followed by a quick slant to McDuffie
gave the Dolphins a 3rd and 1 at their 17 and on the next play, Karim
had his longest run of the afternoon, going right up the middle and
bouncing outside for 23 yards to the 40.
However, after Karim was nailed in the backfield on a dump pass
on first down, he got only two yards on second down and Marino was
sacked on 3rd down when he was hit and fumbled the ball. Mark Dixon
recovered and the Dolphins punted away to Chris Canty, who took the
ball at the Patriots' 23 and made an excellent return all the way to
the Dolphins' 41 before being taken down by Bernie Parmalee.
With outstanding field position, the Patriots tried to run
Robert Edwards twice in a row, but after runs of -1 and 3 yards, the
Patriots went to the air on 3rd down and Patrick Surtain deflected a
pass meant for new Patriots' receiver Alan Ladd and the Patriots punted.
The ball bounced into the endzone and the Dolphins started from their
20. On first down, Marion faked the handoff and rolled out to his left,
throwing to an open Lamar Thomas for a 21 yard gain.
However, on first down at their 41, Avery was nailed for a 1
yard loss and on second down, Marino was sacked on a blitz. On third
down, Marino tried to pass short to his right, but the ball was slightly
deflected at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Larry Whigham at
the Dolphins 45.
On the next series, the Dolphins pass rush put such consistent
pressure on Bledsoe that he was forced to throw the ball away on first
down and on second down, he overthrew Shawn Jefferson under pressure.
Then, on third down, Bledsoe threw the ball away under pressure from
Darryl Gardener and was called for intentional grounding. This resulted
in the ball moving back to the Patriots' 42 and they punted. The ball
bounced at the one and almost didn't go into the endzone, but after
bouncing around a couple of times, the ball wend into the endzone for
The Dolphins started at their 20 with a 5 yard run by Karim and
a 13 yard completion to Perry. On first and 10 from their 38, a pass to
Gadsden was knocked away at the last second and after Karim ran for 2
yards, Marino tried to go deep to McDuffie on a deep in route. However,
the ball sailed a little and McDuffie pulled up short and the ball went
deep to Patriots' safety Willie Clay who made the interception.
Clay returned the ball to the Dolphins' 45 and after Edwards
gained 5 yards up the middle on first down, he was nailed in the
backfield for a 5 yard loss on second down by Madison and Rodgers. On
third down, Bledsoe tried to hit Ladd deep down the right side and
overthrew him, which was lucky for the Dolphins, because Ladd had 2
steps on Buckley.
The ensuing punt was caught by McDuffie, who made a fair catch
at the Dolphins' 10. From there, Karim made 5 yards on first down, but
lost 3 on second down when he was hit in the backfield. On third down
and 8, the Patriots blitzed again, but Marino hit Parmalee with a short
pass that Bernie turned into a 20 yard gain, moving to the Dolphins'
32. On first down, Karim was nailed for a 5 yard loss as the first
quarter ended in a scoreless tie.
Facing a 2nd and 15 at their own 27, a dump pass to Karim
picked up 10 yards and a quick pass to McDuffie on 3rd and 5 added 12
yards and a first down at the Dolphins' 49. Avery ran for no gain on
first down and after a timeout, the Patriots blitzed on second down,
but Dan hit McDuffie on a crossing route for 18 yards to the Patriot
34. A short run by Karim and a 2 yard pass to Perry left the Dolphins
with a 3rd and 7 at the Patriots 31, but when Marino tried to hit
McDuffie, the ball was knocked away.
Now facing a 4th and 7 on the Patriots' 31, the Dolphins sent
in Olindo Mare', who made the 48 yard field goal look easy and gave the
Dolphins a 3-0 lead. On his ensuing kickoff, the ball went low and
bounced before being picked up by Cullors at the 11 and he returned it
to the Patriots' 24.
On first down, the Dolphins blitzed and when the center and
guard went to the right to handle the blitz and the tackle to the left,
Darryl Gardener was unblocked and ran Bledsoe down for a 9 yard sack.
However, on the next play, which was an in complete pass, Sam Madison
was called for defensive holding, giving the Patriots a first and 10 at
After stuffing an Edwards run for a 1 yard loss on first down,
Bledsoe tossed an 8 yard pass to him on second down, leaving the
Patriots with a 3rd and 3 at their 27. On this play, the Patriots ran a
crossing play and Madison got hung up just past the line of scrimmage
with a Patriots receiver and another defensive back as he was trying to
stay with Jefferson. This allowed Shawn Jefferson to get wide open deep
down the middle and Bledsoe hit him in stride. He got 58 yards to the
Dolphins' 19 before Buckley knocked him out.
A dump pass to Ben Coates gained 11 yards and gave the Patriots
a first and goal at the Dolphins' 8 yard line. On first down, Edwards
tried to run, but was stuffed by Bowens for no gain. On second down,
Bowens appeared to get through and sack Bledsoe for a big loss, but the
Patriots were penalized for a false start, giving them a 2nd and goal
from the 13. On this play, Bledsoe threw the fade route to Coates on
the left side of the endzone, but Coates couldn't hold on and dropped
the ball. Calvin Jackson may have knocked his arm during the catch.
This left the Patriots with a 3rd and goal from the 13 and
Bledsoe overthrew Jefferson, who was well covered in the endzone. On
the play, the Patriots drew a holding penalty and a personal foul after
the play. Left tackle Bruce Armstrong was penalized for
unsportsmanlike conduct for getting into an argument with Jason Taylor
and the Patriots were pushed back to the 28. They also lost the down
because the penalty happened after the play.
Now with a 4th and goal at the Dolphins' 28, the Patriots
attempted a field goal, but the ball sailed wide right and the score
remained 3-0. The Dolphins took over at their 36 and Karim was stuffed
on first down, but picked up 7 on 2nd down and then Marino found Gadsden
for 12 yards on 3rd down to the Patriots 46.
Then, Karim picked up 7 more yards on first down to the 39, but
after no gain on 2nd down, Marino tried to hit McDuffie on third down,
but the ball was knocked away at the catch. The Dolphins punted and
the ball was downed at the Patriots' 10. Now, the Patriots ran Edwards
for 4 yards and then, after the 2 minute warning, Edwards got his
longest run of the day outside for 15 yards to the 29.
On first down, Bledsoe hit Jefferson for 15 yards to the
Patriots' 44. Then, on first down, Shane Burton knocked the ball out
of Bledsoe's hand as he was rushing and even though he recovered the
ball, he lost 6 yards. On 2nd and 16, Bledsoe went to hand off to
Edwards, but the Dolphins knocked the ball loose again and the Patriots
Bruce Armstrong recoverd. Now facing 3rd and 20, Bledsoe's pass fell
incomplete, but Buckley was penalized for holding, giving the Patriots
a first down at their 41.
Bledsoe hit Coates for 14 yards on first down to the Dolphins
45 and after an offsides penalty on Jason Taylor, they moved down to
the 40. However, on the next play, pressure on Bledsoe caused him to
overthrow his receiver and safety Brian Walker made a diving catch for
the interception at the Dolphins 22. Marino then knelt down to end the
At the end of the first half, the Patriots had 20 yards rushing
and about 100 yards passing, although 58 of those yards were on one
play. The Dolphins weren't doing much better, having gained 44 yards
rushing and 110 yards passing, but had turned the ball over twice.
The second half began with the Patriots taking the kickoff and
returning it to their 20. They then went 3 and out on a short run by
Edwards, a pass to Edwards and another run for no gain by Edwards on
3rd and 1 at the Patriots' 29. Their punt was downed at the Dolphins'
32, but a holding penalty on Miami pushed the ball back to their 23.
From there, Karim ran for 2 yards on first down and McDuffie
added 8 yards on 2nd down. Karim was stuffed on 1st down at the 33 and
after a pass to McDuffie on 2nd down was knocked away, Marino went to
Gadsden on 3rd down, but he only picked up 9 yards and the Dolphins were
forced to punt from their 42. On the punt, Jacquet tackled Chris Canty
at the Patriots' 9, but the Dolphins were penalized for an illegal man
downfield and had to kick again. This time, Canty returned the ball to
Again, the Patriots went 3 and out with Bledsoe throwing too
far outside on first down and after a handoff to Sedrick Shaw was
stuffed on 2nd down, a pass to Edwards on 3rd down was stopped a yard
short and the Patriots punted to McDuffie, who returned the ball 13
yards to the Dolphins' 28. But Larry Izzo was penalized for 10 yards
for an illegal block and the Dolphins started at their 18.
On the next play, Marino tried to hit McDuffie on a crossing
pattern, but Ty Law stepped in front of the ball and picked it off for
the third interception of Marino in the game. He was tackled
immediately, but the Patriots had a 1st and 10 at the Dolphins' 28. Two
runs by Edwards got 4 yards and no yards and on 3rd down, pressure by
the Dolphins forced an early throw by Bledsoe and the ball was high and
incomplete. This time, however, the Patriots hit the field goal and
tied the score at 3-3 in the middle of the third quarter.
The kickoff was short and Avery took it from the 13 to the 33
with a nice return. From there, Avery ran outside for 11 yards to the
44 and add 5 more to the 49. But on 2nd and 5, Marino overthrew Karim
and on 3rd down, pressure forced Marino to throw the ball away. The
Dolphins punted from their 49 and the ball was almost blocked, but
sailed into the endzone for a touchback.
The Patriots went 3 and out again after Edwards was stuffed on
first down after 2 yards and Bledsoe's pass was too low on 2nd down to
get to Coates. On 3rd down, Patrick Surtain cut in front of Ben Coates
and had the ball in his hands, but dropped a sure interception at the
Patriots' 28 and the Patriots punted.
The punt went out of bounds at the 29, and the Dolphins ran
Avery on first down for 1, but got a 7 yard pass to him on 2nd down.
However, on 3rd and 2, Marino threw behind Gadsden and Gadsden
uncharacteristically dropped the pass, forcing the Dolphins to punt.
The punt was returned from the 9 to the 16 and the Patriots
tried to go to Edwards on first down, but the ball fell incomplete.
However, Buckley was penalized for holding and the ball was moved to
the 21. Then the Patriots were penalized for delay of game and moved
back to their 16 with a 1st and 15.
Two quick passes to Coates for 7 and then 17 yards moved the
ball out to the 40 and then Bledsoe tried to go deep to Shawn Jefferson,
who had beaten Sam Madison, but the ball was well overthrown. Then
Robert Edwards picked up 4 yards on 2nd down as the 3rd quarter ended.
At the beginning of the 4th quarter, the score was tied 3-3 and
neither team was moving the ball all that well. To start the 4th
quarter, Bledsoe tried to go to Ladd, but the ball fell incomplete and
the Patriots punted again. The ball was taken by Buckley at the 13,
where he had a little trouble holding on to the punt, but he returned it
to the Dolphins' 26.
From there, Karim ran for nothing on first down, but Marino
found Drayton for 17 yards down the middle on 2nd down to the 43.
Karim then ran for 1 yard on first down and McDuffie dropped a pass on
2nd down. Then a third down pass to McDuffie was overthrown and the
Dolphins punted again to Chris Canty, who made a fair catch at the 16.
From there, the Patriots tried running Edwards, but he was
stuffed for a 2 yard loss. A pass on 2nd down was batted down at the
line of scrimmage by Jason Taylor, but on third down, Bledsoe had all
day to throw and Shawn Jefferson went deep and came back to the ball,
beating Patrick Surtain for a 36 yard gain to the Dolphins' 49. On the
next play, Bledsoe tried to hit Jefferson deep down the right sideline,
but overthrew the ball. However, Buckley was called for pass
interference because of some incidental contact while running. This was
probably a bad call by the officials, but it gave the Patriots the ball
at the Dolphins' 11.
On first down, Edwards was stuffed for a 2 yard loss by Robert
Jones and Bledsoe had to throw the ball away on 2nd down under pressure
from Kenny Mixon, who refused to be fooled by the play fake. Then, on
3rd down, Edwards tried to run and was stuffed again, leaving the
Patriots with a 4th and 12 at the Dolphins 13. They kicked the field
goal from there, taking a 6-3 lead on the Dolphins.
On the kickoff, Avery took the ball at the 14 and ran straight
up the middle. It looked like he might go the distance, but was
tripped up from behind at the Dolphins' 46 by the last man who had a
chance at him. Now, there was 9:10 remaining in the game and Marino
started to work his magic. From the 46, he passed to Karim for 6 yards
and then to McDuffie for 7 yards to the Patriots 41.
On first down, Marino found Drayton open over the middle and he
rumbled down to the Patriots' 23. From there, Avery ran for a yard on
first down and Marino hit Lamar Thomas for 7 yards on 2nd down to the
15, but on third down a perfectly timed blitz sacked Marino at the
Patriots' 21. Now facing a 4th and 8 at the 21, Olindo Mare' hit a 38
yard field goal to tie the score again at 6-6.
On this drive, Marino was 4 for 4 for 37 yards and was sacked
The kickoff was returned by the Patriots to their 21 with 5:07
remaining in the game and after a 1 yard pass on 1st down, Robert
Edwards dropped a short pass on 2nd down but Bledsoe found Shawn
Jefferson on 3rd down for 11 yards to the Patriots' 34. From there,
Bledsoe was forced to throw the ball away under pressure from Baron
Tanner and on 2nd down the Patriots ran Edwards up the middle for 2
Now, facing 3rd and 8 from their 36, Bledsoe went to Simmons
down the right sideline and Simmons had a step on Terrell Buckley. The
ball was perfectly placed and Simmons was pushed out of bounds at the
Dolphins' 17. With under 3 minutes remaining in the game, the Patriots
ran Edwards for a 1 yard loss on first down and after the Dolphins
called their first time out, a pass towards Jefferson was overthrown on
2nd down and Bledsoe tried to go to Simmons again on 3rd down, but
pressure forced a poor throw and once more, the Patriots had a 4th down
at the Dolphins 18. However, their field goal was good and they took
the lead 9-6 with 2:13 left in the game.
The Patriots kicked off and Avery muffed the kick at the 4, but
recovered and raced through the Patriots for 37 yards to the 41. With
a first down and exactly 2 minutes to go in the game, Marino hit Ed
Perry for 10 yards to the sideline and a first down at the Patriots 49.
His first pass from there was dropped by Lamar Thomas, but on 2nd down,
Marino hit a leaping Oronde Gadsden at about the 32, but Gadsden spun
and dragged Canty to the 21.
Now, with 1:37 remaining, Marino missed McDuffie on first down,
but found Bernie Parmalee in the flat on 2nd down and Bernie ran down
to the 5 before he was knocked out of bounds. From the 5, the Dolphins
ran the draw from the shotgun, but the Patriots weren't fooled and
knocked Parmalee down for a 2 yard loss. On 2nd and goal, a pass to
Gadsden in the endzone was deliberately very high and it was a little
too high for him and went incomplete. On third and goal, the blitz
forced Dan to throw the ball away, but with 53 seconds left, Olindo
Mare' hit a 25 yard field goal to tie the game at 9-9.
The kickoff was taken by Cullors in the endzone and returned to
the 21, but the Patriots were penalized for holding and had to start at
their 11 with 43 seconds remaining. They elected to kneel down and go
The Dolphins won the toss in overtime and took the kickoff.
Unlike the other kickoffs, Avery was hit and dropped at the 15 by some
great coverage by the Patriots. Marino tried to hit McDuffie on first
down, but the ball was knocked away by Ty Law. On 2nd down, Marino went
back to McDuffie again, but this time he dropped the ball. Then, on
third down, Marino went to Lamar Thomas on the out pattern to the left
and the ball fell incomplete outside of Thomas, but Ty Law was called
for pass interference after some serious contact with Lamar Thomas. It
was a controversial call, but there was clearly some contact and Thomas
couldn't get back to the ball.
With a first and 10 at their own 31, Karim ran 4 yards on first
down and then Marino hit McDuffie down the left sideline on a straight
sideline route for 25 yards to the Patriots' 40. Karim ran for 2 yards
from there on first down and then Marino hit Gadsden on a short crossing
route that Gadsden turned into a first down with some hard running to
the Patriots' 28.
Now, Karim ran for 3 yards on first down to the 25, but lost a
yard on 2nd down back to the 26. On 3rd down, Marino tried to go to
Gadsden again, but the pass was incomplete and that left the Dolphins
with a 4th and 8 from the Patriots' 26. So, with 4:36 elapsed in
overtime, Olindo Mare' was called on and responded by hitting a perfect
43 yard field goal to give the Dolphins a 12-9 victory.
All in all, it was a hard fought defensive struggle. There is
no doubt that the Dolphins have a first rate defense, but it took the
experience of Dan Marino to pull the game out at the end.
This was an important game for the Dolphins to win and even
though it was close and tough, the Dolphins came away with a well
deserved win. The team still needs to get some more offense, but this
game was a milestone in the season.
The defense was outstanding again, especially against the run,
holding the Patriots to 26 total rushing yards. Robert Edwards had
nowhere to go all day long.
The pass defense gave up some big plays, but didn't give up any
touchdowns and the combination of pressure and coverage ended up
holding Drew Bledsoe to a completion percentage of less than 40%.
The offense was spotty at best, but at the end of the game,
when they needed it most, the offense came through enough to win the
The passing game was at it's best at the end of the game and
the offensive line did a much better job this game of keeping the
Patriots off of Marino's back.
Punt and kick coverage did a good job in the game, restricting
the AFC's leading kickoff returner and keeping him from giving the
Patriots good field position and except for one punt return,
restricting Chris Canty.
The punt returns were pretty good, although there seemed to be
too many penalties.
The kickoff returns were excellent and Avery almost broke two
at the end of the game. Now, if he'll just concentrate on catching the
ball first, he'll be great.
And the kicking game had it's best day so far. Wilmsmeyer had
his best day this year and Olindo Mare' was perfect while under a lot
of pressure, making all 4 field goals to win the game.
THINGS TO WORK ON:
Obviously, the big problem with the defense is their penchant
for giving up the big play now and then. Surtain, Madison and Buckley
all gave up big passes today. If they can fix that, the defense will
be just about perfect.
The running game didn't go very far today and I still wish that
they would give Avery more carries. The run blocking needs to be more
aggressive and move defensive linemen out of the way.
There were still too many dropped passes today, especially by
McDuffie, who is supposed to be the most reliable receiver.
There were too many penalties on special teams.
Dan Marino did not have his best game ever and it looked like
he was having some trouble with the wind. However, with the game on
the line, he was superb. He ended the day completing 23 of 42 for 279
yards, with no touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Karim Abdul-Jabbar ran 21 times for 56 yards, a 2.7 ypc average and
most of that was on one 23 yard carry. However, he was tough, he didn't
fumble and he also caught 3 passes for 12 yards with a drop.
John Avery had 6 carries for 17 yards and caught 1 pass for 7
yards. However, he returned 5 kickoffs for 104 yards and had 2
outstanding returns at the end of the game for 68 yards that gave the
Dolphins great field position when they needed it most.
Bernie Parmalee continues to make plays. He only had one carry
for -2 yards, but caught 2 passes for 36 yards, including the 16 yard
reception deep in the Patriots end late in the game. He also had 2
special teams tackles.
Stanley Pritchett didn't touch the ball this game, but was
pretty good blocking.
OJ McDuffie caught 6 passes for 77 yards, but also dropped a
couple. His longest catch of the day was 25 yards during the overtime
period, which was an excellent reception.
Oronde Gadsden caught 4 passes for 59 yards and made two
crucial catches late in the game. However, he did drop one, costing
the Dolphins a first down, which is unusual for him.
Ed Perry caught 3 for 25 yards and continues to play well.
Troy Drayton only caught 2 passes, but they were both important
and gained a total of 35 yards.
Lamar Thomas dropped a pass, but caught 2 for 28 yards.
The offensive line had a pretty good day blocking and certainly
has improved since last year, but was not as dominating as it has been.
Zach Thomas led the team in tackles, with 12 total. He was
instrumental in helping to hold the Patriots running game down.
Jason Taylor was second in tackles with 6 and drew an
unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from Bruce Armstrong. He didn't get any
sacks today, but he did make a number of nice tackles, was all over the
field and knocked down a pass.
Terrell Buckley also had 6 tackles but gave up a deep pass.
He had a couple of holding calls, also. He did a good job returning
punts, returning 2 for 26 yards.
Darryl Gardener had 4 tackles, a terrific sack and knocked down
a Bledsoe pass.
Robert Jones had 4 regular tackles and a special teams tackle.
However, he did get a silly penalty on punt coverage.
Derrick Rodgers also had 4 tackles today and made a couple of
stops for a loss.
Calvin Jackson had 3 tackles and may have helped save a
touchdown by knocking the ball away from Ben Coates in the endzone,
although it's not clear if he hit Coates' arm or if Coates just dropped
Shane Burton had 2 tackles and a sack, plus he knocked the ball
out of Bledsoe's hands on the sack, forcing a fumble.
Sam Madison had 2 tackles, but was beaten on the 58 yard pass
to Jefferson in the second quarter.
Tim Bowens only had one tackle and knocked down a pass, but was
terrific at shutting down the middle and pressuring Bledsoe.
Brock Marion had only one tackle and recovered Avery's fumble
on the first kickoff.
Lorenzo Bromell had only one assist in tackles today.
Kenny Mixon also had only one assist in tackles today, but a
couple of times put pressure on Bledsoe, forcing incompletions. He had
a good game today.
Patrick Surtain didn't have any tackles, but did knock down two
passes and if hadn't dropped the ball, he'd have had an interception.
Brian Walker had the only Dolphins' interception of the day on
an overthrown Bledsoe pass.
And Baron Tanner got credit for batting down a pass at the line
Klaus Wilmsmeyer had a very good day punting the ball,
averaging 45.7 yards per punt and putting 3 inside the 20 yard line.
Olindo Mare' hit all 4 of his field goal attempts, including
the 43 yard game winner in overtime. His kickoffs were not quite as
good, but were good enough.
The Dolphins had no serious injuries today.
I really hate games that are this close.
The reason is, of course, that I am a fan of the Miami Dolphins
first and a football fan second. I like close games - as long as they
don't involve the Dolphins.
But, at the final gun, if the Dolphins win, I guess I can stand
The Dolphins won the game today in all the statistical
categories and on the scoreboard. The only place they didn't win is in
the turnover department and that was disappointing, because it brought
back shades of last year.
And when they don't win the turnover battle, they don't usually
win the game.
But the defense continued to be awesome and there was nothing
the Patriots could do about it. And when it really counted, Dan Marino
was back to his old form.
This win was necessary if the Dolphins are to continue to have
any serious hope of winning the division this year. Now, they're one
game ahead of everyone else in the division and going into Buffalo for
another tough game next Sunday.
However, most important of all, the Dolphins have knocked the
reigning division champions off their throne. And that's the first
real step to winning the division.