The last playoff win
Dolphin Digest|January 2021
Perhaps for some Dolphins fans it seems like just yesterday. For others, it might seem like an entire generation ago.
BILL DALEY

But the bottom line is that December 2020 marked the 20th anniversary of a dramatic Miami Dolphins victory against the Indianapolis Colts.

It was dramatic because it not only was an overtime win, it was a wild-card playoff game (the third overtime in franchise postseason history) before a frenzied sold-out crowd at Hard Rock Stadium, back then known as Pro Player Stadium.

It was dramatic because it ended when running back Lamar Smith capped a spectacular 209-yard day by tearing off one of the greatest runs a Dolphins running back has ever made.

Smith bobbed and weaved his way around the right side, breaking multiple tackles from grasping Colt defenders on his way to the end zone, for a 17-yard score with 3:34 left in the first overtime to give Miami a 2317 victory and vaulting the Dolphins into the AFC divisional playoff round.

That part is significant as well because it marks the last time this franchise enjoyed a postseason victory. Not that the Dolphins have been to the playoffs very much since, but 2001, 2008 and 2016 ended with wild-card playoff losses against the Baltimore Ravens twice and Pittsburgh in 2016.

As a result, Miami has the fifth-longest drought as far as winning a postseason game in the NFL behind only Buffalo (1995), Cleveland (1994), Detroit (1991) and Cincinnati (1990).

It was dramatic because the Dolphins managed to tie the game and send it to overtime with just 34 seconds left in regulation with one final desperation drive.

And finally, it was dramatic because, after a disastrous first half that saw them fall behind 14-0 at the break, the game marked the second-greatest comeback in franchise postseason history.

On a lesser note, the game also marks the last time Dolphin fans in South Florida were not able to sit down in front of their television sets to watch the Dolphins play a home game — the game did not sell out in time for the local blackout to be lifted and the local blackout rule was still in effect back then.

The Dolphins also emerged victorious over a still young third-year quarterback named Peyton Manning.

What follows is a brief recap of that sunny Saturday afternoon Dec. 30 contest that allowed Dolphins fans to ring in the new year with smiles on their faces.

FIRST-HALF DISASTER

The Dolphins entered the game as slight favorites but certainly didn’t look like it in the first half as quarterback Jay Fiedler threw three interceptions on Miami’s first three offensive series.

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