Work in Sports
Helped by a video reversal with 1:16 left, Marino threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden with 27 seconds left, capping a wild 39-point fourth quarter and giving Miami a 34-31 lead. Miami's 25 points were a team record for the fourth quarter.
On the Dolphins' final drive Marino, while getting hit, threw the ball forward with two hands. The Colts initially were awarded the ball on a fumble but Miami coach Jimmy Johnson complained vehemently and the officials sought the review, ruling it an incomplete pass.
"Sure glad it did work out," Johnson said. "He was trying to get the ball to Robert Konrad. I've seen him throw that ball 100 times."
On 4th-and-10 from midfield, Marino found Gadsden down the right sideline for a 48-yard pass, pushing the ball to the 2. He threw away the ball on first down to stop the clock and then hit Gadsden near the left boundry line of the end zone for the winning points.
"I am really proud of our guys, the way they hung in there," Johnson said. "We gave them some big plays. We gave up some big plays on defense and we gave up some big plays in the kicking game. But our guys found a way to win."
Marino completed 25-of-38 passes for 393 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. It was his best yardage output in the regular season since throwing for 450 at Cincinnati on October 1, 1995.
For the second time this season, Manning put the young Colts in position to capture a big AFC East game, only to have the defense let them down. On September 19, he helped Indianapolis build a 28-7 lead at New England, which rallied to a thrilling 31-28 triumph behind Drew Bledsoe.
"Both of these games, we felt like we really deserved to win," Manning said. "You hate to lose these two games. ... Dan didn't have to do anything today to ensure his spot in the Hall of Fame. He's got that pretty wrapped up. I've always admired Dan Marino, any young quarterback does. That's the type of quarterback I want to be."
"I told our team after the game they have nothing to hang their heads low about," Colts coach Jim Mora said. "It was a tough loss. I'm not at all disappointed in our guys."
"These kind of losses just kill you," Colts defensive lineman Shawn King said. "I'd rather lose by 30 than lose like this. It hurts, it hurts bad."
Manning was 17-of-24 for 274 yards and three touchdowns -- two to tight end Marcus Pollard -- with one interception. The interception came after the final kickoff, when Patrick Surtain tipped a ball that was corraled by teammate Terrell Buckley.
Johnson heaped praise on Manning, who has lit up the league in just his second season.
"I said it before. If I was starting a franchise today and I had a choice of everyone in the league, a strong consideration would go to Peyton Manning," he said. "He is a big-time quarterback."
Tony Martin torched the Colts for 166 yards on 10 receptions and Gadsden added 123 on four. O.J. McDuffie added four catches for 42 yards and rookie Cecil Collins ran for 76 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in his first start for Miami.
Marvin Harrison led Indianapolis with 91 yards on three catches and Pollard had 64 on four. Rookie Terrence Wilkins returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown that made it 24-15 with 12:52 left and chipped in four catches for 81 yards for the Colts.
"One minute I feel like we got it won and the next we're hanging our heads," said Harrison. "That's the breaks. Marino is one of the greats and he reinforced that today."
"Marino has been in those situations a lot of times," Mora said.
"He has years and games of experience on Peyton, but I wouldn't trade Peyton for anyone in the league."
Indianapolis headed into the fourth quarter of what had been a defensive battle with a 17-9 lead, stopping Miami with a goal-line stand.
The Dolphins broke through on a 28-yard scoring pass from Marino to Martin 1:52 into the quarter and a failed two-point conversion left them down 17-15, but Wilkins returned the ensuing kickoff for a score to restore the nine-point lead.
Marino kept Miami charging with a six-play, 68-yard drive that culminated when Collins scored his first NFL touchdown on a 25-yard run to close the gap to 24-22 with 9:45 left. Manning responded four plays later with a 32-yard scoring strike to Pollard and the Colts once again had a nine-point edge.
Olindo Mare booted a 43-yard field goal with 3:20 remaining as Miami got the deficit down to six. With 1:54 remaining, Manning skipped out of the end zone intentionally for a safety and the Dolphins moved within 31-27, settiong the stage for Marino's final heroics.
Mike Vanderjagt and Mare traded field goals in the first quarter and Mare gave Miami a 6-3 lead with 9:45 left in the second with a 23-yarder. Manning threw a 33-yard scoring pass to Harrison with 4:39 left for a 10-6 lead and Mare made it a one-point game with a 21-yarder 24 seconds before the intermission.
Manning has thrown a scoring pass to Harrison in every game this season and his 17 straight games with a touchdown toss rank as the best active streak in the league.
Manning connected with Pollard on a nine-yard TD toss with 8:34 left in the third quarter as Indianapolis took a 17-9 lead.