Colts kick Miami into loss column

October 09, 1995|By Rick Gosselin | Rick Gosselin,DALLAS MORNING NEWS

MIAMI -- And then there were none.

The last of the NFL's unbeaten teams saw its quest for perfection collapse at the hands of a quarterback and feet of a kicker no one else wanted when the Indianapolis Colts upset the Miami Dolphins, 27-24, in overtime yesterday.

Cary Blanchard kicked the game-winning, 27-yard field goal, as the Colts (3-2) knocked off a 4-0 team for the second consecutive week. Indianapolis also defeated the St. Louis Rams, 21-18, on Oct. 1.

This time, quarterback Jim Harbaugh rallied the Colts from a 21-point halftime deficit to steal the spotlight from Dan Marino, who set the NFL's all-time completion record early in the game. Marino needed four completions to pass Fran Tarkenton and wound up with 19, moving his career total to 3,702.

But the only quarterback celebrating at game's end was Harbaugh, who opened the season as the Colts backup. He came off the bench in the second game of the season to rally the Colts from another 21-point deficit for a victory over the New York Jets, and he's been in the lineup ever since.

After completing just five of nine passes for 41 yards in the first half yesterday, Harbaugh torched the Dolphins. He completed 20 of 24 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns after halftime.

"I know no one has a high opinion of me as a quarterback," said Harbaugh, who signed with the Colts as a low-profile free agent in 1994. "I have a very ugly style. But sometimes it works."

Harbaugh's final touchdown pass came with 69 seconds left in regulation on a 21-yarder to Aaron Bailey that tied the score at 24.

After Indianapolis won the overtime coin toss, Harbaugh completed five consecutive passes for 39 yards to move the Colts into position for Blanchard, whom the Colts signed to replace struggling Mike Cofer on Tuesday.

"It was an embarrassment," Dolphins coach Don Shula said. "To see our unbeaten streak go down the drain in a game like this -- that we completely dominated in the first half -- it's just an embarrassment."

Marino tied Tarkenton at 3,686 career completions with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Irving Spikes late in the first quarter, then broke the record with a 6-yard completion to Keith Byars in the second.

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