St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Fiedler starts badly, ends well

Booed in the first half, the Dolphins quarterback rebounds to lead the second-half comeback.


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 31, 2000

MIAMI -- Their faith in Jay Fiedler is not blind, nor is it binding. Miami Dolphins fans reserve the right to unload on him, his status as the team's starting quarterback tenuous in their minds.

Fiedler will get no bronze statues in front of Pro Player Stadium, unlike Dan Marino.

So it came as no surprise when Fiedler heard the boos Saturday, the Dolphins in despair. Three interceptions in the first half, two leading to Indianapolis points. A two-touchdown deficit at intermission. A solid, if not overachieving, season about to come to a disappointing end.

No worries.

After playing poorly enough to get pulled, Fiedler was a different quarterback in the second half, guiding the Dolphins to a game-tying touchdown in the waning seconds and helping them secure a 23-17 victory over Indianapolis in an AFC first-round playoff game. Miami will play at Oakland on Saturday in an AFC divisional playoff game.

"You always have to keep hoping," Fiedler said. "It was just an amazing victory. I can't describe the feeling I have right now."

If you didn't see the first half, you would never know how much Fiedler struggled. His final numbers were decent: 19 completions in 34 attempts for 185 yards and a touchdown -- pretty amazing when you consider how Fiedler started: 5-of-14 for 42 yards and three interceptions. In the second half and overtime, Fiedler was 14-for-20 for 143 yards.

"In the first half ... I have no idea," Miami coach Dave Wannstedt said. "I just think that he was antsy and tried to force some things. I don't know. He didn't lose his composure, though. We came in at halftime and talked about what we could do in the second half to not put him in situations as far as throwing the ball."

It didn't hurt that running back Lamar Smith was rushing for 209 yards on a playoff-record 40 carries. Or that Fiedler himself started scrambling effectively. Or that his teammates kept the faith.

"It's the same thing he's been doing for us all year long," center Tim Ruddy said. "He's just like anybody else. He's going to make some mistakes. They're just amplified because he's the quarterback and everybody is looking at him."

"You can't put your finger on what he has," guard Mark Dixon said. "He has character. They used to say about Michael Jordan, 'He has it.' But they don't know what 'it' is. But he has it. Jay is a little bit like that. You don't know what he has, but he has something."

Fiedler had something at the end of regulation. If he didn't, Miami's season would be over.

The Dolphins trailed 17-10 after a 50-yard field goal by Mike Vanderjagt and took over with 4:47 left at their own 20.

All season, the Dolphins had driven 80 or more yards for a touchdown just twice, but Fiedler did not panic. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 67 yards on the final drive, scrambled twice for 14 yards and hit tight end Jay Weaver for a 9-yard, game-tying touchdown with 40 seconds left. On the winning drive in overtime, he completed 3 of 4 passes for 26 yards.

"Jay played, I guess you'd have to say, one of his greatest games of the season after the first half," Miami receiver Oronde Gadsden said. "I don't think anyone lost faith in Jay. There were definitely some boos. It's hard for a young quarterback. But he stood up to it."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

Bucs at Eagles
  • Bucs at Eagles
  • Inner strength
  • 3 Bucs named to All-Pro team
  • Highs and lows
  • Five things Bucs must do to reach Super Bowl XXXV
  • It's Keyshawn season
  • Top five defensive plays of the year
  • Top five offensive plays of the year
  • Buccaneers season in review
  • All-time playoff appearances
  • Trash talk has already started
  • You wanna talk about a fun job
  • Analysis: John Madden
  • By the numbers
  • Quick hits
  • Call them born-again Eagles
  • Get off the little guy's back; he got us this far
  • Linebacker with a laid-back attitude

  • NFL playoffs
  • What a rush! Miami rallies for win
  • Saints survive rally for first playoff win
  • Kicker's rare miss costs Indianapolis
  • Fiedler starts badly, ends well
  • NFC Central trio to make changes in off-season
  • Jackson catches accolades
  • Arguable call not enough to keep Rams alive again
  • Broncos at Ravens
  • Spotlight shines bright on Dilfer

  • College bowls
  • FSU seniors leave with list of accomplishments
  • Gaffney still hot over altercation
  • Florida-Miami: A rivalry revisited
  • Buckeye enjoys trip home
  • Ohio State has distractions of its own
  • Bowls notebook
  • Senior achievement
  • Seminoles slowly getting focused
  • Intensity driving Morgan

  • Lightning, NHL
  • Lightning now unbeaten in 3
  • Tonight: Lightning vs. Maple Leafs
  • Svoboda awaits docs' okay
  • Slap shots
  • Assistant says Panthers quit on Murrays

  • Baseball
  • An empty seat at the Jake? Could be

  • Sports etc
  • Captain's corner
  • Sports digest
  • Mizell mailbag
  • Follow the leader
  • Passages in 2000
  • Best of the rest
  • Now, Douglas just inflicts pain
  • Coach is both teacher and motivator
  • Record runner
  • They're in T-Dawgs' house now
  • College basketball this week on TV
  • Outdoors calendar
  • Ruling makes Ross eligible for award
  • PHU makes good use of rare tournament
  • Tornadoes go to OT for Hooters girls title
  • Cowboys edge Chiefs for Chamberlain title
  • Men's college basketball briefs
  • Women's college basketball briefs

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts