No. 90 Goes 90, Colts Stun Dolphins : AFC: Emtman snags interception on final play and lumbers down sideline for final touchdown. Miami falls to 6-1.
With the Miami Dolphins’ unbeaten record up for grabs, Steve Emtman snatched it away.
The 290-pound rookie defensive end made a game-saving interception on the final play Sunday and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown as Indianapolis beat the Dolphins, 31-20.
Miami, which had rallied in the fourth quarter to win three times, was the last undefeated team in the NFL.
Emtman’s touchdown run came with the Dolphins’ facing fourth and goal at the Colts’ seven-yard line. Taking the snap with 17 seconds to play, Dan Marino drilled a pass toward the end zone, but Emtman--standing only five yards in front of the quarterback--reached up and somehow grabbed it.
“I just got my hands up. It hit my hands and stuck,” Emtman said. “Next thing I knew, I was running.”
No. 90 then went 90 yards. The top pick in last April’s NFL draft lumbered down the left sideline untouched, crossing the goal line as time ran out.
“I thought he’d fall down, but he kept going,” Colt linebacker Jeff Herrod said. “I would have done the same thing, only faster.”
Five turnovers dropped Miami to 6-1.
“There are a whole lot of other players who wish they were 6-1,” tight end Keith Jackson said. “Only the media have been writing that this could be the team that would go 19-0.”
Jackson, who was questionable before the game with a pulled groin, caught three passes for 26 yards. He also caught a touchdown pass that was called back because Miami had lined up in an illegal formation. Jackson’s groin tightened up in the second half, and he didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
The Colts (4-3) drove 73 yards in 10 plays for the touchdown that gave them a 24-20 lead. Quarterback Jeff George scored on third and goal from the one, faking a handoff and sweeping left to the end zone with 1:32 to play.
“I just put on a couple of moves, and it was all over,” George said.
The drive was helped by a 19-yard pass-interference penalty against Miami rookie Troy Vincent on second and 14 at the Colts’ 40-yard line.
Marino, trying for the 22nd fourth-quarter comeback of his career, moved Miami 55 yards in four plays to reach the Colts’ seven with 30 seconds left.
“I kept reading in the paper how many times he has done it,” Colt Coach Ted Marchibroda said. “I was wondering if he’d do it again.”
Instead, Marino fired three consecutive incomplete passes. Then came the Emtman interception.
“I was throwing it on a timing route (for Bobby Humphrey),” Marino said. “I didn’t see Emtman. He jumped up and made a good play.”
Clarence Verdin scored on an 84-yard punt return for the Colts in the wild second half. Indianapolis totaled 217 return yards and outrushed the Dolphins, 109-65.
“I don’t think anybody is ever going to respect us,” George said. “They’ll say Miami gave it to us.”
Marino had three passes intercepted but threw for 355 yards, including touchdown plays of 48 yards to Mark Duper and 12 yards to Tony Martin. The latter score, with 6:01 to play, gave the Dolphins a 20-17 lead, but Pete Stoyanovich’s extra-point attempt was wide left.
The Colts’ Dean Biasucci missed field goal attempts of 31 and 45 yards, but he hit a 32-yarder with 9:47 to play to put them ahead for the first time, 17-14. Eddie Miller set up the score by recovering punt returner Jarvis Williams’ fumble at the Miami 17.
“We seemed to be our own worst enemy out there with the turnovers,” Miami Coach Don Shula said. “We made the mistakes, and we’ll suffer for it.”
Verdin’s third touchdown of his career on a punt return tied the game, 14-14, late in the third quarter. He caught a 48-yard kick and started left, cut inside, veered back left and outraced Liffort Hobley down the sideline.
Verdin came into the game with eight runbacks this season for only 19 yards. His punt return was the longest ever against Miami.
“I ran out of three or four guys’ arms,” Verdin said. “It was determination.”
The Colts lost rookie linebacker Quentin Coryatt, who broke a wrist in the first quarter and will be sidelined four to six weeks.
Miami played without starting linebacker John Offerdahl, who has a pulled abdominal muscle.