Dolphins 40

(8-4, 5-1 away)

Cowboys 21

(8-4, 5-2 home)

4:05 PM ET, November 27, 2003


1 2 3 4 T
MIA 7 16 14 340
DAL 0 14 0 721

Miami keeps playoff hopes alive

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Mario Edwards chased Chris Chambers down the sideline, never looking up for the ball. Edwards banged into the receiver, drawing a pass interference penalty on the first play of the game.

Quincy Carter

Cowboys QB Quincy Carter (17) is sacked by Dolphin Adewale Ogunleye.

The tone was set. And it wasn't a good one for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Dolphins went on to score on the opening drive, something no team had done against Dallas in 22 games. Miami kept scoring, too, all the way to a 40-21 victory Thursday that left coach Bill Parcells "a little embarrassed."

"That we would go out here on Thanksgiving in a national game and play like that, I told the players that and they should be embarrassed too," Parcells said. "It was pretty bad."

Other than Richie Anderson, who had the first two-touchdown game of his 11-year career, pretty much everyone wearing the throwback, double-star jerseys could be criticized.

The offense had just 10 yards in the first quarter, recovered to get within nine points at halftime, then quarterback Quincy Carter blew it with four second-half turnovers. His fumble on the opening drive of the third quarter was returned 34 yards for a touchdown and the rout was on.

Carter was 24-of-40 for 288 yards, but he had 141 in the fourth quarter when the game was pretty much decided.

The running game was practically nonexistent: 91 yards, 42 coming on scrambles by Carter, and just 2 yards on three carries by starter Troy Hambrick. Parcells said not to read much into all that because the score made running a poor option.

The defense looked nothing like a unit that came in rated as the NFL's best, allowing the fewest points (15.3) and just 82.4 yards per game rushing.

Jay Fiedler, making his first start since Oct. 19, was 16-of-20 for 239 yards and three touchdowns, all to Chris Chambers, and ran for another score. Once he stopped throwing, Ricky Williams started running, gaining 104 yards.

In his first pro game in Texas, the former Longhorns star went over 100 for the third straight week and over 1,000 for the fourth straight season.

"We've had a lot of ups and downs since I left here, but when I come back, they're always my No. 1 fans," Williams said. "It really builds my confidence."

The special teams weren't very good, either.

Derek Ross fumbled two kickoffs, losing one -- the one right after Fiedler scored on the opening drive. Luckily for Dallas, Williams fumbled on the next snap, so it didn't hurt. Also, punter Toby Gowin did little to help his iffy status, booting a 26-yarder on his first attempt and finishing with 36.6 yards on five tries.

Dallas (8-4) has now lost three times in six games. The Cowboys have fallen out of a first-place tie with the Eagles in the NFC East, and out of a four-way tie for the best record in the conference.

"We had no chance at a win," Parcells said. "This team does not have the maturity for this kind of situation. We have young players who do not understand what's going on. ... We were just awful."

The lopsided loss erases the joy of a 24-20 victory over Carolina that brought tears to Parcells' eyes, and the disappointment will linger for 10 days, until the Cowboys play at Philadelphia.

"It just didn't seem like we were ready to play. That surprised me," said Anderson, who had his first rushing touchdown since 1996 and a 25-yard TD catch. "They played better than we did, more focused than we did and made more plays than we did."

Miami (8-4) had its highest-scoring game since getting 49 in the 2002 opener. The Dolphins moved 1½ games behind New England in the AFC East and 1½ games ahead of Denver and Cincinnati for the conference's final wild-card spot.

This was their third straight win and they've improved to 5-1 on the road. That's the kind of momentum they need considering their history of disastrous Decembers and a schedule that could set them up for another: at New England a week from Sunday, then home against Philadelphia.

"We talked all week about how we needed this win, and they came out and made it happen," said Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt, making his second appearance as a head coach in Texas Stadium since he was defensive coordinator on the Cowboys' 1992 Super Bowl championship team.

Miami led 10-0, then Anderson got his first score, a 4-yard run that was his first on the ground since 1996. The Cowboys would never get any closer.

Fiedler and Chambers answered with their first touchdown, a well-thrown 39-yarder. Anderson scored again on a 25-yard reception. Chambers, though, followed with a 6-yard touchdown, reaching out to snag the ball and tapping the tips of his toes while falling out of the back of the end zone with 10 seconds left in the half.

Their third connection was a 35-yarder in the third quarter. Chambers finished with five catches for 96 yards.

Williams' third straight 100-yard game gives him 15 since joining Miami, tying Larry Csonka for the most in team history. It's his fourth straight 1,000-yard season and second in a row in Miami, letting him join Csonka as the only Dolphins players to do it more than once.

Game Notes: The Cowboys are 22-13-1 on Thanksgiving, 1-3 against the Dolphins on the holiday. ... The 23 points Miami scored by halftime were the most Dallas has allowed in the first half this season, and the most in any half since the Giants scored 25 in the third and fourth quarters of the second game. ... Flozell Adams blocked his team-record third extra point this season. It was his fourth career PAT stuff and his seventh career kick block. ... Fiedler went to Dartmouth, making him the second Ivy League quarterback to be a Thanksgiving star in the last decade. Jason Garrett of Princeton did it for the Cowboys in 1994, leading them past Green Bay when Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete were hurt.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 1 plays, 34 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 1 plays, 34 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 2 plays, 40 yds, 0:10
Drive info: 2 plays, 40 yds, 0:10
Drive info: 4 plays, 72 yds, 0:44
Drive info: 4 plays, 73 yds, 0:48
Drive info: 4 plays, 72 yds, 0:44
Drive info: 4 plays, 73 yds, 0:48
miaTD10:50Jay Fiedler, 1 yd run
Drive info: 8 plays, 67 yds, 4:01
miaFG14:10Olindo Mare 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 16 yds, 12:10
Drive info: 8 plays, 67 yds, 4:01
dalTD10:30Richie Anderson, 4 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yds, 3:47
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yds, 3:47
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:14
miaFG14:40Olindo Mare 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 51 yds, 15:00
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:14
Drive info: 10 plays, 75 yds, 2:23