Miami Dolphins at 50: Top 10 Games
By Dan Heaning
No. 9 – Wild Card Round: Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts; Dec. 30, 2000
With Dan Marino retired, the Dolphins didn’t seem to miss a beat. They finished 11-5 and earned the AFC East crown. Their reward for doing as such was to meet Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the Wildcard round.
The Miami defense had been gashed by Edgerrin James and the Colts ground game during the regular season meetings which were split between both teams. However, this time it would be the Dolphins who would do the ground and pound.
Miami started off very poorly, quarterback Jay Fielder tossed three interceptions in the first half helping to put the Dolphins into a 14-0 hole.
In the second half, running back Lamar Smith took his first rushing attempt for 24 yards to cross into Colts territory. From there, Miami would gather small chunks of yardage all the way to the endzone setting a two-yard Smith score to make it 14-7.
In the fourth quarter, the Dolphins narrowed the gap to 14-10 after an Olindo Mare 38-yard field goal. The Colts would answer in kind on the very next drive with a 50-yard Mike Vanderjagt field goal to regain the seven point advantage.
With less than five minutes to play, the Dolphins got the ball back knowing full well that it could be the last time.
So Miami ensured that they’d burn enough clock to keep Manning off the field.
It was a methodical drive with the longest play coming from an O.J. McDuffie 19-yard reception followed by a 13-yard completion to get the Dolphins in the red zone with under 50 seconds left. On a third and goal, Fielder found tight end Jed Weaver to tie the game at 17 with 40 seconds to spare. The 14-play that took more than four minutes off the clock.
The Dolphins won the coin toss to receive first in overtime, but couldn’t across their own 30. Manning and the Colts got the ball on their own 18 after a 53-yard Matt Turk punt. Manning then connected with Marvin Harrison for a 30-yard play to make the Pro Player Stadium crowd exceedingly nervous.
On a third and 12 situation, Manning found Harrison again but for only 11 yards as cornerback Patrick Surtain prevented the first down.
Facing a fourth and one, the Colts opted to kick the 49-yard field goal, but Vanderjagt missed the attempt.
From there the Dolphins would chip away at the Colts defense all the way to their 17.
Lamar Smith, who had 39 carries prior, took his 40th rush for 17 yards, bouncing off Colts’ linebackers and cornerbacks along the way, to score the game winning touchdown and finish the best game of his career.
Smith finished the game with 209 yards rushing – a playoff franchise record – and two touchdowns with three receptions for 18 receiving yards.
This is the last Dolphins playoff victory as the team has only made the postseason twice since the amazing performance of Lamar Smith.