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Game Info Index Game Info 2000 Page - Indianapolis Wild Card

[ 1999 Game Info Page | 2000 Game Info Page ]

Dolphins vs Colts game Summarry 12/31/00

The Dolphins got a huge win on Saturday against the visiting Colts. The Dolphins will now face Oakland on the road for a chance to play in the AFC championship game. This is exactly the same situation as the previous two years but Miami is a better team and the opponet is not as bad as the 98 Broncos or 99 Jags. There were obviously some good things in the game with RB Lamar Smith breaking the Dolphins franchise record for rushing in a game (regular and postseason) with 209 yards rushing. The defense was great and gave up only 6 real points and the rest came off turnovers deep in Miami territory.
But, and it's a big but, I thought Jay Fielder was really bad. How bad was he ? If the Colts kick the FG in OT and win, Miami would have lost a game when their RB gained 160 yards,a TD and more than 5 yards per carry...Does that ring a bell ? The 86 Dolphins lost to the Jets in OT (51-45) when Marino threw 6 TDs... The defense also played great. They pretty much stopped the Colts all together. Miracles like this one won't happen again, certainly not at Oakland, so Fielder should play like the 2nd half Fiedler (not brilliant but very efficient) if the Dolphins are to win the game.

Grading the Dolphins

QB - Fiedler threw 3 INTs in the first half. That should have costed the Dolphins the game. He did bounce back in the second half and in the OT, completing tough and important catches to OJ in the first OT series to take Miami out of trouble and the TD to Weaver with 34 seconds remaining. His second half was an easy B, but I'm still affraid of those INTs, he wasn't even close on all the 3. Mistakes like that won't end in miracles next time. He did run for 42 yards on 7 carries almost all of them resulting with 1st downs. D+

RB - A+++ Smith had 40 carries (NFL playoff record) and 209 yards (2nd all time in playoffs) with 2 TDs, the second one giving the game to Miami. If there was ever the right situation to say a team is riding one player this was it. In the winning drive Miami had 11 plays, 9 were Smith runs... He ran similar to Emmitt Smith, starting slow, looking at the line then seeing the hole and boom ! he hit the hole, piled a couple of helpless Colt defenders and took them on the ride. He just wouldn't be denied. He dragged Colt defenders on his back all day long. He started the game with runs of 17 and 8 yards. He finished the half with 87. Brilliant, no doubt. A+

WR - Quietly, they had a good game. McDuffie caught 4 balls, some were very important at the end of the game and the drive that tied the game (although he did drop one). Gadsden had 4 catches with his usual style of taking a defender or two with him. Martin was pretty quiet. Ogden caught one pass for 6 yards but it was a crucial 3rd down play. Weaver caught one ball, the TD sending the teams to overtime... He was the first reciever Fielder looked at and the Colts probably never figured Fiedler will go his way on third and goal with the season on the line because he wasn't the sure hands WR like OJ or Gadsden, but, his catch kept Miami in the playoffs. B

OL - Yes Lamar was huge but the blocking was sensational also. The one very bad play was Webb's poor effort in the second Fiedler INT. Fiedler also had time to throw for most of the afternoon. A

DL - In 3 games against the Colts Manning was sacked once. You could see that when he's hurried he throws bad passes. At times James ran wild but he finished with about 100 yards which is average in his terms. A tough challenge is ahead with Oaklnad's running game. C+

LB - Good game. Zach and Rogers led the team in tackles. Jones missed a few plays but also made others. Pollard and Dillger were kept in check. B+

Secondary - You have to remember they were playing the Colts, not the Bengals and they shut the Colts passing offense. They didn't get an INT but had a solid game. Surtain was great and at times he looks even better than Madison. Harrison (NFL leader with 102 receptions) had one big 30 yard catch in OT, but not letting him catch any big catches all day is not realistic, he didn't have an impact on the game and that's what counts. They got lucky in the first half when Indy should have scored when a Colt WR dropped a sure TD on a perfectly placed ball by Manning. The Colts setteled for a FG. A-

Special teams - Bad game. Turk was erratic as usual, kicking a 34 yard punt and then booming a punt for a net of 53 yards. A good play by Taylor on the fake FG. Mare isn't playing very good lately and that's a bad sign. He missed a 38 yarder. That's a range he is almost automatic and he wasn't even close. He did have one FG. The return game was average at best with a key penalty negating a decent punt return very late in the game. C-

Coaching - The bottom line is all that counts. The coaches must do something about those INTs. 2 of them (first and third) were the kind of INTs when you say "What the hell was he thinking throwing that ?", especially the first one where Miami were deep in Colts' territory. A good game by the coaching staff. They showed confidence in Fiedler and Smith and stayed with their game even though it looked hopeless at times in the first half. They have a much harder test next week. B

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In 1998, Lorenzo Bromell tied Bill Stanfill's Dolphins rookie record when he finished the season with 8 sacks.

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