'It was do or die'
Fiedler overcomes three picks to lead Miami to victory
Wannstedt stuck with Fiedler even though his quarterback threw three first-half interceptions in just over six minutes, and the Dolphins rallied for a 23-17 overtime victory against the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC wild-card playoff game on Saturday.
"Jay? I don't know," Wannstedt said. "I just think he was antsy and tried to force some things, but he didn't lose his composure."
No he didn't, despite the boos reigning down on him from the home crowd at Pro Player Stadium and the fact the Dolphins were in their first playoff game without Dan Marino since the 1983 Super Bowl.
"I don't think it was butterflies," Fiedler said. "I was just trying to make plays."
Fiedler, a pleasant surprise in his first season following Marino's 17-year career that ended with a 62-7 playoff loss to Jacksonville, was just 5-of-14 for 42 yards in the first half. He finished 19-of-34 for 185 yards and a touchdown.
Even after his third interception, which led to the Colts' only TD of the day, Fiedler didn't think backup Damon Huard would replace him.
"Not at all," he said. "I wasn't playing well early on, but the team still had confidence in me and the coaches still had confidence in me -- and that's all that matters."
With his team trailing 14-0 at the half, Fiedler engineered a 70-yard scoring drive to open the third quarter, pulling Miami within a touchdown. And with 34 seconds left in regulation, he connected with tight end Jed Weaver on a 9-yard TD pass to send the game into overtime.
In between, he helped set up a field goal when he ran 11 yards on a quarterback draw to the Colts 46.
On the game-winning drive, which came after the Colts' Mike Vanderjagt was wide right on a 49-yard field goal attempt, Fiedler hit Oronde Gadsden for 13 yards to the 23, putting the Dolphins in field goal range. Two plays later, the Dolphins won when Lamar Smith took a handoff and ran 17 yards for a touchdown to cap his record-setting 40-carry, 209-yard day.
"We knew we had to come back," Fiedler said. "It was do or die."
Late in the first quarter, Fiedler was picked off by strong safety Chad Cota in the end zone. After the Colts flubbed a fake field goal on the ensuing series, they got the ball back when defensive end Chad Bratzke batted a pass into the air and pulled it in for the interception that led to a 26-yard field goal.
On the next possession, Fiedler overthrew O.J. McDuffie and landed in the arms of Cota for his second interception. Peyton Manning turned the miscue into an 18-yard TD pass to put Indianapolis ahead 14-0 as the boos cascaded down.
"We didn't execute very well in the first quarter, I didn't execute very well," Fiedler said. "I missed some opportunities, but we were confident there were some things out there. We were running the ball well, and we just had to come out and do it."
Next Saturday, the Dolphins (12-5) play the Oakland Raiders in a divisional playoff game.