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Mare kicks Denver off Mile High perch

Dolphins kicker converts a 53-yard field goal with six seconds left to beat Broncos 24-22.

©Associated Press
October 14, 2002


DENVER -- Olindo Mare kicked a 53-yard field goal with six seconds left to cap a thrilling finish as the Dolphins beat the Broncos 24-22 Sunday night.

Denver's Jason Elam made a 55-yard field goal, his fifth of the game, that curled just inside the right upright with 45 seconds left to put the Broncos up 22-21.

But Miami returned the kickoff to its 26 and went to work with 40 seconds left.

Jay Fielder set up the winning field goal with a 22-yard completion to Dedric Ward, who grabbed the ball after it went through the outstretched hands of Denver linebacker John Mobley.

Mare, who missed a 48-yarder, hit the winner then was mobbed by teammates as he ran toward the sideline.

Miami struggled most of the night but took a 21-12 lead after intercepting two passes by Brian Griese in the fourth quarter.

Ricky Williams rushed for two touchdowns for Miami.

The Broncos answered with an 80-yard drive that Griese capped with a 1-yard touchdown to Mike Anderson. Denver stopped Miami on the next drive and reached the Dolphins 35-yard line after Ashley Lelie slipped behind Patrick Surtain for a 30-yard reception.

Elam jumped with his arms raised and high-stepped along Miami's sideline after making the kick to put Denver ahead, but the Broncos left the Dolphins with too much time.

Fiedler missed his first two pass attempts of the final drive but completed a 17-yard pass to Randy McMichael on third down to keep the drive alive.

Miami gained just 259 yards but scored twice in 1:35 after intercepting Griese twice in the fourth.

Sam Madison stepped in front of Rod Smith on a slant for an interception and returned it 15 yards to the Miami 48. That set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Williams that put Miami up 14-12.

Three plays later, Patrick Surtain returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown for a nine-point lead.

Griese, coming off one of his best games as a pro, was 27-for-46 for 335 yards, but threw three interceptions and was booed by the home crowd early in the fourth quarter. He was 18 of 22 for 316 yards and two touchdowns in the previous week's 26-9 victory over San Diego.

Williams, the league's second-leading rusher, had 49 yards on 20 carries and took a beating for the second straight game.

He took a big hit from linebacker Al Wilson in the fourth quarter but bounced back with a 7-yard run around right end.

Denver had little trouble moving the ball in the first half but couldn't find the end zone. The Broncos crossed Miami's 35-yard line three straight times to start but settled for three field goals after the drives stalled.

Denver reached Miami's 2 midway through the second but Anderson fumbled and the Dolphins recovered at the 1. The Broncos also had a 49-yard field goal by Elam negated as time ran out in the half on a penalty.

Dolphins receiver Chris Chambers sustained a concussion and had to be helped from the field after taking a hit to the head from Denver safety Kenoy Kennedy in the second quarter.

Officials called a personal foul on Kennedy for the helmet-to-helmet hit. Chambers was motionless for several seconds.

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