For the Miami Dolphins, the formula didn’t seem to add up.
They held the ball for 45 minutes – three-quarters of the game. They converted on an eyepopping 15 of 21 third-down chances. They rushed for 239 yards, keeping Peyton Manning off the field most of the night. They didn’t turn the ball over until the game’s final play.
And, somehow, they lost, 27-23.
The Dolphins’ return to the Monday night stage started with glitz and glamour in Miami, an “orange carpet” entry for celebrities like Serena and Venus Williams, a pregame concert by Jimmy Buffett and even the likes of Tiger Woods taking it all in, albeit from the Indianapolis sideline.
Miami had the lead four times, wasting every one, including two in the fourth quarter alone. Ronnie Brown rushed for 136 yards, including a 3-yard run early in the final period for a 20-13 lead, and Dan Carpenter’s third field goal of the night later in the fourth quarter put Miami ahead 23-20.
Plenty of time for Manning.
The Colts’ quarterback threw for 303 yards, and the Dolphins will likely only remember two plays: An 80-yard play-action pass to Dallas Clark for a touchdown on the game’s first snap from scrimmage, and a 48-yard pass to South Florida native Pierre Garcon with 3:18 remaining for what became the winning score.
Miami’s only real mistake might have come with 27 seconds left, when Chad Pennington’s 42-yard pass bounced off Ted Ginn’s hands in the end zone. Ginn slammed his hands on the turf repeatedly after the play; a half-minute later, the rest of the Dolphins likely felt like doing the same, knowing a chance at victory got away.
Two plays later, Pennington was intercepted in the end zone, as the clock – which the Dolphins controlled all night – turned to :00.
Around the league
Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Troy Williamson could be done for the season because of a right shoulder injury. … Washington Redskins right guard Randy Thomas is out for the season with a torn right triceps. … Buffalo Bills starting right tackle Brad Butler will miss the rest of the season because of a right knee injury. … Cowboys running back Marion Barber has a quadriceps injury, the extent of which is unknown. … The Atlanta Falcons say rookie defensive tackle Peria Jerry is out for the season after injuring his right knee in a victory over the Carolina Panthers. … Oakland Raiders right guard Robert Gallery is expected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken bone in his left leg. … Tampa Bay safety Jermaine Phillips has a broken thumb and his status for this week’s home game against the New York Giants is uncertain. … Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy says it’s too early to tell when veteran left tackle Chad Clifton will return from an ankle sprain.
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