Fins Turn Tables, Rally To Win

Dolphins' Jeff Ogden (88) returns a punt 81-yards for a touchdown against the Packers.
When the Miami Dolphins play, no lead is safe.

In a sequel to the worst collapse in franchise history, the Dolphins staged a comeback of their own Sunday, erasing a 17-point deficit Sunday to beat the Green Bay Packers 28-20.

Larry Izzo ran 39 yards with a fake punt to set up a touchdown, Jeff Ogden scored on an 81-yard punt return, and the Dolphins' defense stiffened after a shaky start.

"It's a 60-minute game," defensive end Jason Taylor said. "Everyone in Miami understands that now."

The Dolphins started where they left off Monday, when they blew a 23-point fourth-quarter lead and lost 40-37 in overtime to the New York Jets. But after the Packers scored on their first three possessions for a 17-0 lead, the Dolphins answered with four consecutive touchdowns in a span of 13:06.

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Game Summary

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  • Miami celebrated the victory in the locker room by singing, "We are the Dolphins, the mighty, mighty Dolphins."

    "We could have really been down in the dumps if we had lost this one," said quarterback Jay Fiedler, who played despite sore ribs that required a hospital visit Sunday morning. "It's a big momentum swing for us going into the second half of the season."

    Miami (6-2) moved into a three-way tie with the Jets and Indianapolis Colts atop the AFC East. The toughest part of Miami's schedule is still to come, with four of the next five games on the road.

    The Packers (3-5) missed a chance to gain ground on NFC Central leader Minnesota. The teams meet in Green Bay next Monday night.

    "I just ope guys don't give up," quarterback Brett Favre said. "It's not over. It's a little deeper, but it's not over."

    Miami players praised first-year coach Dave Wannstedt for not reacting harshly to the loss against the Jets. He eased up in practice last week and rewarded them for Sunday's victory by giving them the next two days off.

    "It's a great, great comeback from a character standpoint," said Wannstedt, who improved to 2-11 against Green Bay. His first 12 games against the Packers were as coach of the Chicago Bears.

    Special teams played a pivotal role in the rally. Izzo, a 228-pound reserve linebacker, took a short snap from punt formation on fourth-and-2 and ran to the Packers 14 before fumbling. Teammate Robert Jones recovered.

    "It didn't take much to run through the huge hole that was there," Izzo said. "I'm just glad Robert Jones bailed me out."

    A penalty pushed the Dolphins back to the 31, but they scored three plays later on Lamar Smith's 4-yard run for a 21-17 lead.

    Miami then forced a punt, and Ogden returned it untouched for his first NFL touchdown. The third-year pro split two defenders, cut to his right and ran down the sideline for the score.

    "The Dolphins learned last week that they have to play two halves of football," Packers safety LeRoy Butler said. "We may have learned the same thing this week."

    The Packers closed to 28-20 on Ryan Longwell's second field goal, a 48-yarder with 10:50 left. But Miami's defense, which allowed 30 fourth-quarter points in the loss to the Jets, this time forced turnovers on the final two possessions.

    Green Bay reached the Miami 47 before Favre's tipped pass was intercepted by Brock Marion. The Packers' last threat ended at their 39 when Trace Armstrong sacked Favre, forcing a fumble that Kenny Mixon recovered.

    "That's the type of defense we expect to play around here," Wannstedt said.

    Fiedler threw for one touchdown and ran for one. He woke up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday with throbbing ribs, which he bruised in the Jets game, and was cleared to play only after a trip to the hospital for X-rays, which were negative.

    "With the way my ribs felt, I wanted to make sue there wasn't anything broken," Fiedler said. "I guess they just started to spasm. The doctors and trainers did a good job getting me back out there."

    Favre went 21-for-34 for 194 yards. He connected with Antonio Freeman only twice for 10 yards and had at least three passes dropped.

    "Maybe some of our younger guys thought when we were up 17-0 that it was in the bag," Favre said. "This is the NFL. Anything can happen. Miami can attest to that."


  • Injury-plagued running back Dorsey Levens scored both Green Bay touchdowns but sat out the second half after bruising his right knee. He'll be examined Monday.
  • With Fiedler hurting and backup Damon Huard weakened by the flu, Wannstedt thought he might have to start third-string quarterback Mike Quinn.
  • The Dolphins' biggest comeback was from a 24-0 deficit against New England in 1974. Miami won 34-27.
  • Ogden's punt return for a touchdown was the first for the Dolphins since O.J. McDuffie had a 72-yarder against Pittsburgh on Dec. 13, 1993.
  • The Packers' punt coverage team came into the game ranked as the NFL's best, allowing an average of 4.6 yards per return.
  • The Packers fell to 0-6 in Miami.

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