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Historic pounding

Taylor, Jaguars run roughshod over Dolphins 62-7

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Posted: Wednesday February 02, 2000 12:11 PM

  Fred Taylor rushed for 130 yards in the first quarter Jacksonville's Fred Taylor totaled 18 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Mark Brunell. AP

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CNNSI.com) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars can say it in song if they want. There's no doubt they are a legitimate Super Bowl threat.

In the second-most overpowering playoff performance ever, the Jaguars routed the Miami Dolphins 62-7 Saturday to move one win away from the Super Bowl they've been pointing toward all season and singing about the past week.

It was the most points the Dolphins have ever given up.

With Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson stumbling through possibly their last game, the Dolphins (10-8) didn't offer much of a challenge. Still, for at least one day, those who doubted the Jaguars (15-2) because of their soft schedule and ridiculed them for their Super Bowl rap song can give it a rest.

Among the stars were Fred Taylor, who had two highlight-reel touchdowns, and defensive lineman Tony Brackens, who recovered a fumble and literally danced his way into the end zone.

SI's Peter King on Johnson, Marino

Jimmy Johnson has told friends he plans to step down as Miami Dolphins' coach as soon as the season ends, and the season ended in inglorious fashion with the Dolphins' loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dave Wannstedt would almost certainly be Johnson's replacement. And since Wannstedt and Dolphins' owner Wayne Huzienga share Johnson's feelings about Marino, the legendary quarterback is almost certainly through in Miami as well.

Marino, after his head clears from Saturday's disaster, may still want to play, and could wind up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Even before Saturday, Johnson had simply had enough after a frustrating season full of distractions.

 

"This was one of those games where things are going well, you get confidence, you get it rolling and you start making a lot of plays," said offensive lineman Ben Coleman. "Then we didn't let up. We made play after play after play and all of the sudden, we're running away."

To say the least.

Only the 1940 Chicago Bears, who beat the Washington Redskins 73-0 for the NFL title, have scored more points in the playoffs. The 55-point margin also is the second-largest in playoff history.

It may have been the most embarrassing loss for Johnson and Marino in their storied careers. It was punctuated by a cold blast of water from the sprinkler system in the south end zone soon after a Jaguars touchdown made it 55-7.

"I've never experienced a game like this in my life," said Marino, 38, who deflected questions about his retirement. "Even as a kid, I've never had a game like this."

Marino was 11-for-25 for 95 yards before Johnson pulled him early in the third quarter. More telling: By the time gimpy Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell was lifted with a 38-0 lead, Marino had thrown two interceptions, no completions and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

It was all part of a stunning 20-minute period in which the Jaguars pulled off enough spectacular plays to stake their claim as not only a Super Bowl favorite, but an exhilarating one at that.

It should bring an end to the issue of the soft schedule.

And the Super Bowl rap?

Epic blowouts
Biggest margins of victory in NFL postseason games
Margin  Final score  Year 
73  Chicago 73, Washington 0  1940 NFL Championship 
55  Jacksonville 62, Miami 7  2000 AFC Divisional 
49  Oakland 56, Houston 7  1969 AFL Divisional 
48  Buffalo 51, L.A. Raiders 3  1991 AFC Championship 
46  Cleveland 56, Detroit 10  1954 NFL Championship 
46  N.Y. Giants 49, San Francisco 3  1987 NFC Divisional 
45  San Francisco 55, Denver 10  1990 Super Bowl 
 

"We knew if we lost, that would be hanging over our heads," said one of the singers, defensive lineman Gary Walker. "That got taken out of proportion. I guess they can take it to the team that wins tomorrow and get it started again."

The Jaguars will play host to the winner of Sunday's game between Indianapolis and Tennessee next week for the AFC championship. They'll have trouble topping this.

"When you look at who we've got -- Brunell, Taylor, McCardell, Smith -- you know you're going to put points on the board," Walker said. "But I can't say we expected that many."

Jacksonville's most memorable play might have been Taylor's 90-yard touchdown run, the longest in NFL playoff history.

The second-year running back appeared all-but-tackled behind a picket line of Dolphins defenders. Somehow, he stutter-stepped his way around the line to break into the open. Then, with a trademark burst of speed, Taylor won a 70-yard foot race with Brock Marion for a 17-0 lead.

Two plays later, Brackens provided another memory.

Sweeping in from the right, he stripped Marino and recovered the fumble. He got up and started strutting, mobbed by teammates who thought the play was over. Noticing Brackens hadn't been touched down, linebacker Bryce Paup shoved his teammate toward the end zone. By the time Brackens figured out what was happening, he had crossed the goal line.

On Jacksonville's next possession, Taylor took a screen pass and outmaneuvered four more flailing Miami defenders for a 39-yard score and a 31-0 lead.

Taylor finished with 135 yards rushing and 39 receiving. He sat out the second half and couldn't match his 162-yard performance in his postseason debut last season.

"I've been saying all week I was ready to play," said Taylor, hampered most of the year with a sore hamstring. "I got tired of sitting around watching other games. I guess I was ready to go."

Complementing the big plays were a 25-yard touchdown run by James Stewart, a blocked punt by Corey Chamblin and an 8-yard touchdown pass from Brunell to Jimmy Smith.

In the second half, backup quarterback Jay Fiedler hit Smith for a 70-yard touchdown and followed with a 38-yard scoring pass to Alvis Whitted for a 55-7 lead. That's when the sprinklers came on, blasting the Dolphins huddle with cold water to pile on to an already humiliating day.

"It's tough to describe," said Dolphins center Tim Ruddy. "We made some blunders at the start and it went downhill from there."

The Jaguars led 41-7 at halftime, tying the postseason record for most points in a half.

Jacksonville held a 24-0 advantage after one quarter, leaving Johnson to spend most of the game with arms folded, staring blankly at the field, seemingly emotionless despite the humbling loss.

"I guess this thing is full-circle," Johnson said, sounding like a coach who has had enough. "I was on the other side of one of these where we got about seven takeaways from an opponent in the Super Bowl. It was a runaway, but I've never been on this side before."

The Dolphins committed seven turnovers. They closed the season losing seven of their last 10, fueling thoughts somebody has to go -- either the coach, the quarterback or both.

Marino is undecided about his future, but there's been widespread speculation he'll retire after he missed five games with a neck injury and finished with the worst quarterback rating (67.4) of his storied 17-year career.

Meanwhile, all Johnson has to show for his four seasons in Miami are two playoff victories, hardly memorable considering the way the Dolphins have exited the last two years: This loss comes on top of last year's 38-3 thumping at the hands of Denver last season that led Johnson to quit for a day.

Drop Kicks: Mark Brunell, who went 5-for-9 for 105 yards, said he didn't take any major hits to his injured left knee. ... Fred Taylor's 90-yard touchdown run was the longest in NFL history. It surpassed an 80-yard run by Roger Craig of the San Francisco 49ers in a 1988 playoff victory over Minnesota. ... Jaguars kicker Mike Hollis made a 45-yard field goal to extend his streak of successful field goals in the playoffs to 14. He followed with a miss from 39 yards. ... Jacksonville's 24-0 lead after one quarter matched the largest first-quarter playoff lead ever. San Diego led Miami by the same score in their 1981 playoff classic, a Chargers' 41-38 overtime win. ... Second-year receiver Alvis Whitted scored the first offensive touchdown of his career, a 38-yard touchdown pass from Jay Fiedler. ... James Stewart left with a sprained ankle after rushing 11 times for 62 yards and a touchdown. ... Fiedler fiinished 7-for-10 for 172 yards. ... Autry Denson and Stanley Pritchett led the Dolphins in rushing with 10 yards each.


 
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Dan Marino was as shocked at the final score as anyone. (36 K)
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Miami's Sam Madison says every Dolphin should be humiliated after the loss. (104 K)
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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