Miami suffers first playoff shutout in franchise history
Updated: Saturday January 06, 2001 9:16 PM
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Dave Wannstedt reached into his back pocket, pulled out the red flag and started waving it in the air, an indication that he wanted to challenge a play in the third quarter.
A white flag would have been more appropriate.
The Miami Dolphins were blown out of the second round of the playoffs for the third consecutive year Saturday, losing 27-0 to Oakland. It was the first time in the 35-year history of the Dolphins that they were shut out in the postseason.
Denver beat the Dolphins 38-3 to end the 1998 season and Jacksonville beat them 62-7 last year.
"Every team has its cross to bear, its hurdle to get over. The second round of the playoffs is ours," receiver Oronde Gadsden said.
"It's inexplicable," linebacker Derrick Rodgers said. "I don't know what's going on. It's just one of those things."
Lamar Smith, coming off a team-record 209 yards rushing a week ago against Indianapolis, had 4 yards on eight carries and fumbled once. Jay Fiedler, who struggled down the stretch this season, threw three interceptions -- including one on Miami's opening possession that changed the momentum of the game.
On second-and-9 from Oakland's 16, Tory James intercepted Fiedler's pass intended for Leslie Shepherd and returned it 90 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead. Everything for the Dolphins seemed to go wrong after that.
"If we had no turnovers, we would have had a good chance to win the game," receiver Tony Martin said. "That interception took a lot out of us. That was a 14-point swing."
The poor start was eerily similar to last year's game against Jacksonville. The Jaguars turned Dan Marino's early interception into a score. The Dolphins trailed 41-0 at halftime, and many players called it the most embarrassing loss of their careers.
The fallout from this year's loss probably won't be as dramatic as last year. Coach Jimmy Johnson retired the next day, quitting for the second time in five years. Wannstedt took over and completely revamped the coaching staff. Then Marino retired two months later.
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey rebuilt the offense to complement Miami's dominating defense, creating a system that was supposed to limit turnovers and control the clock with the running game.
It completely failed Saturday.
Not only did Miami have four turnovers and just 40 yards rushing, the defense stopped Oakland only once before the game was out of reach.
"We're so much a better team than what we showed today," linebacker Robert Jones said.
After forcing Oakland to punt on the opening possession, Miami allowed three consecutive long scoring drives. The Raiders kicked two field goals and added a touchdown on drives of 10, 12 and nine plays.
"They pounded us when we gave them a chance," guard Mark Dixon said. "They just beat our tails; they whipped us."
Sebastian Janikowski missed a 58-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but the Raiders picked up right where they left off in the second half. They drove 64 yards on 12 plays, capped by Tyrone Wheatley's 2-yard touchdown run, to take a 27-0 lead.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, were too far behind to try to run the ball, and Oakland wasn't giving them anything deep in the passing game.
Even Wannstedt seemingly gave up.
He elected to punt on fourth-and-4 with about six minutes to play.
"It's a bitter end to the season," Gadsden said. "We didn't even get a field goal. That's harder to swallow than the loss."