The Dolphins recovered a fumble on the one play Manning missed
Sunday, and followed that by driving 59 yards for a touchdown to
rally for 10 fourth-quarter points and a 27-24 victory.
"We knew they would be tough on the run, but it gave us an
opportunity to throw downfield," coach Dave Wannstedt said.
Manning's counterpart, Jay Fiedler, had a big day, completing 17
of 29 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as he led the
Dolphins to their fourth straight win in Indianapolis and their
third straight comeback at the RCA Dome.
The Colts lost their leading tackler, linebacker Mike Peterson
with a torn knee ligament, and Manning will have X-rays to make
sure his jaw isn't broken.
Manning, who has never missed a start in his four-year career,
took a helmet-to-helmet shot from Dolphins defensive end Lorenzo
Bromell midway through the fourth quarter -- a hit for which Bromell
Manning emerged spitting blood and came out of the game.
While Manning was being treated on the sideline, replacement
quarterback Mark Rypien could not make a clean handoff to Dominic
Rhodes. Jason Taylor recovered for the Dolphins, setting up the
How devastating is this loss for the Colts?
It was similar to last year (a 17-14 home loss to Miami). The Colts had played well the past two weeks; the defense was improving, being more aggressive and creating turnovers. To see the offense make key mistakes today and not be able to pull the game out had to be frustrating for the defense.
Losing running back Dominic Rhodes for a while hurt, because the Colts had no ground game when he was out (the injured Edgerrin James did not play again). The Colts couldn't make the key plays when they had to -- and they've made those plays in the past.
ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.
Afterward, Manning was still feeling the effects.
"I don't have much to say, because I've got to get X-rays and
make sure it isn't broken," Manning said softly with gauze packed
into his swollen jaw. "It could be."
Miami (6-2) took advantage of two late turnovers -- a Manning
interception and the fumble -- to stage its rally.
Following the fumble, Fiedler needed just seven plays to find an
uncovered Chris Chambers on a 29-yard TD pass for the game-winner
with 7:44 to go.
"You're always just waiting for the ball to come down when
you're out there by yourself," said Chambers, who had three
receptions for 113 yards and two TDs. "Jay made a great throw and
a great read."
Fiedler didn't have to win this on his own, though.
Miami's ground game, which has struggled in recent weeks,
managed to churn out 134 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run
from Travis Minor that gave the Dolphins a 7-3 lead early in the
But Indianapolis, which trailed 17-10 at halftime, turned the
tables on Miami in the second half.
David Macklin's diving interception of Fiedler gave the Colts an
opportunity. Three plays later, Manning hooked up with Marvin
Harrison on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Jeff Ogden's fumbled punt return offered another chance for the
Colts. This time, Manning found Harrison on a 40-yard touchdown
pass to give Indianapolis a 24-17 lead with 8:06 left in the third
Harrison finished with nine receptions for 174 yards and three
touchdowns and tied Raymond Berry's franchise record with his 24th
career 100-yard game.
But the Colts couldn't hold the lead.
Manning was intercepted by Zach Thomas in the final minute of
the third quarter, which seemed to turn the game.
"Zach Thomas' interception was the key," Wannstedt said.
"That gave our team some life."
Miami capitalized with 31-yard field goal from Olindo Mare. Four
plays later, Bromell plowed straight into Manning's helmet.
In a pregame ceremony, the original bell from the USS
Indianapolis was struck once for each of the five military
branches. The bell also rung once for firefighters, police officers
and emergency workers. The ship sank in the final stages of World
War II. ... Manning's first half interception was his first in 101
attempts. ... Miami lost cornerback Sam Madison, a three-time
All-Pro, with a sprained back in the first half. Madison injured
the back when he was wrestled to the ground by Harrison after
Manning's first interception. ... Mare kicked two field goals to
run his streak to 13 straight. ... The road team has now won five
straight regular-season games in this series.