MIAMI (AP) -- When Olindo Mare kicked the winning field goal with
7 seconds left, the 20,000 fans still on hand rose and roared,
pleased to avoid having to watch an overtime.
Four quarters was bad enough. In a matchup of last-place teams,
the Miami Dolphins were just a little less awful than the Cleveland
Browns, with Mare kicking a 51-yarder for a 10-7 victory Sunday
"It wasn't a pretty game for people who like to see 80 points
on the board," Browns safety Earl Little said. "We knew somebody
would get that one break at the end and win."
Jim Bates won in the matchup of interim coaches against Terry
Robiskie. Bates improved to 3-3 since Dave Wannstedt resigned, but
he'll be replaced after the season by LSU coach Nick Saban, who
accepted the Miami job Saturday.
"I have built confidence being in this position that I can
handle this job," said Bates, who interviewed unsuccessfully for
the job. "There isn't any doubt in my mind that I can do this type
The Dolphins (4-11) made it two wins in a row for the first time
this season, although they hardly looked like the same team that
upset defending Super Bowl champion New England last Monday.
Lee Suggs broke Jim Brown's 45-year-old Cleveland franchise
record for carries with 38 for 143 yards, but the Browns (3-12)
still lost their ninth game in a row. Robiskie fell to 0-4 since
replacing Butch Davis.
With 1:49 left, the Dolphins took possession at their 28-yard
line following a punt. A.J. Feeley moved the team 40 yards in eight
plays, setting up Mare for the winner.
"A lot of times, we've seen teams quit," Bates said. "They're
4-11, and they're ready to go home. They've got their bags packed.
"This team has not quit."
Still, Miami's victory was hardly picturesque. The teams
combined for six turnovers and went 3½ quarters without a point
after an early 7-all tie with impressive ineptitude.
"A lot of times, we kind of stepped on our foot," Feeley said.
The Dolphins faked a field goal, tried a pooch punt instead and
netted 2 yards. They had a 6½-minute drive that barely reached
midfield. Tight end Randy McMichael, who has lobbied for more
passes, dropped two. Feeley drilled a throw 5 yards into the chest
of defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban, who was too astounded to make the
The Browns lost a fumble at the Miami 2 and had a takeaway
negated by a penalty. But the ugliest moment came in the third
quarter, with an interception and two fumbles on the same play.
Luke McCown's deep throw was intercepted by Arturo Freeman, who
fumbled. Teammate Patrick Surtain picked up the ball, then
lateraled to Sam Madison, who fumbled. The Browns recovered for a
net gain of 26 yards.
More comedy came three plays later, when Phil Dawson missed a
43-yard field goal when his attempt hit the right upright.
"That kind of sums up our season," Browns center Melvin Fowler
said. "We haven't gotten many breaks."
With the stands more than half-empty, as they have been much of
this season in Miami, Pro Player Stadium had all the atmosphere of
an August exhibition game. The Dolphins struggled to take advantage
of Cleveland's four turnovers, sputtering on offense against a
Browns team that allowed 158 points in the past four games.
An interception by Surtain set up the game's first score, which
came on an 18-yard pass from Feeley to Derrius Thompson.
Cleveland pulled even 88 seconds later. McCown was flushed out
of the pocket and threw long across his body, hitting Dennis
Northcutt in stride for a 58-yard score.
The Browns squandered a chance to take the lead in the second
quarter when Suggs fumbled and Miami's Sammy Knight recovered at
"Both teams scored early, and we thought it was going to be a
shootout," Northcutt said. "Then it was just drive and punt,
drive and punt."
Suggs broke Brown's team record of 37 carries, set against
the Chicago Cardinals on Oct. 14, 1959. ... The game-time
temperature was 55, a big improvement for the Browns. They played
in a wind chill that dipped to minus-25 last week against San
Diego. ... Miami MLB Zach Thomas, who had missed the past three
games because of a hamstring injury, made 18 tackles.
The Eagles have moved on with a new coach, but the problems issues last offseason will likely be felt for years.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin led his team to a 10-6 record despite half of his starters (11 of 22) missing games because of injuries.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank firmly believes Matt Ryan is the quarterback who can lead the franchise to the Super Bowl.``Absolutely,'' Blank said last week.
The Steelers have maintained a strong roster in part by being creative with their space under the salary cap.
Tony Dungy credited his time on Dennis Green's Vikings staff with helping him become a Hall of Fame coach.
Rams scored big with offensive rookie of the year Todd Gurley and two NFL-ready linemen.