DETROIT (AP) -- Joey Harrington's face was splashed across the
video boards while Billy Joel's "Piano Man" played -- a jab at the
quarterback's piano playing.
Harrington got the last laugh.
He threw three touchdown passes Thursday to help the Miami
Dolphins erase a 10-point deficit and roll to a 27-10 victory over
the Detroit Lions, who drafted him third overall in 2002 and gave
up on him earlier this year.
Harrington said the song meant to mock him was clever, not a
"I'm proud of who I am and what I do," he said. "If anybody
wants to sit down and play a little bit, I'll be happy to take them
Harrington did find it interesting that he was the only Miami
offensive player the public-address announcer introduced before the
"It was for all those people that wanted to boo me," he said.
"And, they did."
Not for long.
By the third quarter, with the Lions trailing 17-10 after
another poor possession by their offense, Harrington said his
lineman told him they didn't need silent counts because they could
hear him from the shotgun.
That's because the fans stopped booing Harrington and directed
their frustration at team president Matt Millen with the loudest
"Fire Mil-len!" chants of the season.
Detroit is an NFL-worst 23-68 since Millen took control of the
franchise in 2001.
"Matt's not down here playing football, we are," Lions
linebacker Boss Bailey bristled. "If they want to chant 'Fire
Millen,' they should be chanting to fire the whole damn team. All
Matt does is bring in players, and every year we talk about how
much talent we have. So it should be on us. This isn't about
Miami (5-6) has won four straight -- doubling Harrington's
longest winning streak in any of his four seasons in Detroit. The
Lions (2-9) dropped their third straight in a game that ended much
differently from the way it began.
Detroit went ahead 10-0 on its first two drives and held the
Dolphins to 6 yards on their first possession.
Harrington's second TD pass put Miami ahead with 1:55 left in
the first half and his third made it 24-10 late in the third.
The aisles were packed with people heading home for Thanksgiving
dinner when the Dolphins were leading 27-10 early in the fourth
quarter, and the stands were nearly empty when the game ended.
"I watched the heads of the players on the other team and
watched people leave and it was tough to keep my emotions in
check," Harrington said. "I was thinking, 'I remember being on
that sideline. I remember what that felt like.' More than anything,
there are guys over there that deserve to win and I really hope
they get this turned around."
Rod Marinelli -- the third coach Millen has hired -- and offensive
coordinator Mike Martz decided to replace Harrington in the
offseason, apparently thinking free agents Jon Kitna and Josh
McCown were upgrades.
Kitna has had a lackluster season and his shaky offensive line,
which couldn't even slow Miami's three- and four-man rushes,
prevented that from changing against the Dolphins.
"That was the key to the game," Miami coach Nick Saban said.
"Early, when they hit Roy Williams for two big plays, we were
rushing five guys. I said, 'No more, we're rushing four."
Despite the lack of blitzing, Miami had eight sacks -- one shy of
the franchise record set in 1973.
Kitna was 22-of-40 for 252 yards with a TD, an interception and
Williams had five catches -- all for first downs -- for 110 yards
in the first quarter, then didn't have another reception until
early in the fourth and finished with 126 yards receiving.
The Lions, without running back Kevin Jones (ankle), had just 21
Harrington played on Thanksgiving in Detroit for the fifth time
and had his best game on the holiday, perhaps because he doesn't
play for the Lions anymore.
The former Oregon star was traded in May for a conditional draft
pick that could be a fifth-rounder. He entered the game 1-3 on
Thanksgiving with no TDs, five interceptions and an average of 153
yards passing -- a total he surpassed in the first half alone.
Harrington finished 19-of-29 for a Thanksgiving-high 213 yards,
three TDs and an interception.
He directed a balanced attack, led by Marty Booker's seven
receptions for 115 yards and two TDs. Ronnie Brown ran for 68 yards
before leaving with an injured left hand early in the third
quarter, and Sammy Morris filled in well with 91 yards rushing --
including a career-long 55-yard run.
The fans at Ford Field, where Harrington was booed unmercifully
even at a practice, jeered him when he ran on the field for his
first drive and every time he was shown on the video boards, which
displayed numerous close-up shots of his face.
While Harrington took it all in stride and laughed about it, his
coach did not.
"It's a shame people can't appreciate what he tried to do for
this organization," Saban said. "To be honest for you, I don't
have a lot of respect for what they did."
Brown's hand was X-rayed, but Saban would not say if it was
broken. "He does have an issue and he does have a problem, we just
don't know the prognosis," Saban said. ... Miami CB Michael Lehan
(nose), LB Keith Newman (shoulder) and Detroit CB Fernando Bryant
(concussion) were injured in the game. ... Detroit WR Mike
Williams, the 10th overall pick in 2005, made his first catch of
the year and was given a standing ovation.
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