Dolphins
Chiefs
38 - 31 Final
  for this game

Dolphins one win away from division title

Dec 21, 2008 - 11:55 PM By Marc Berman PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Chad Pennington worked more of his magic and now the Miami Dolphins have a chance to win what might be the unlikeliest division title in NFL history.

Pennington engineered an 8 1/2-minute touchdown drive in the fourth quarter as the Dolphins survived an unexpected shootout in frigid conditions to hold off the Kansas City Chiefs, 38-31, on Sunday.

Pennington capped the 13-play, 85-yard march with a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano that snapped a 31-31 tie with 4:08 remaining.

"It was a horrible pass," Pennington said. "I was mad at myself because I felt I had just missed a third-down conversion. But he makes a great catch, and so I'm thinking it's a first down. And then, it's a touchdown. It was unbelievable."

The victory sets the stage for next week's showdown against the New York Jets at Giants Stadium. With a win, Miami (10-5) will clinch the AFC East following last season's 1-15 finish.

"I think right now these guys understand what's at stake," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "They put themselves in position and they fought and scratched to get to this point and they understand it. I'm proud of them. They made a little bit of history today.

In an ironic twist, Pennington will be matched up against Brett Favre, the quarterback who replaced him in New York.

"This is the only way fate would have it," Pennington said. "There wouldn't be any other scenario. That's the way sports works. This is how the game of football works. We know what it's going to be about, but we needed to make sure we take care of our business here first."

On Sunday, Miami became the first team in NFL history to reach 10 victories the year after winning just one game.

"As I sit here right now, for me, personally, I'm worried about number 11," Sparano said. "Obviously, that's the biggest fish that's sitting out there for us right now."

"Nothing bigger, nothing better," added cornerback Andre Goodman, who had one of three interceptions for the Dolphins. "With all the drama that happened at the beginning of the season and we just happened to get Chad here. Now this is for all the marbles and we're all looking forward to it."

However, after not allowing a touchdown for three games, Miami's defense was pushed all over the field for 2 1/2 quarters by the lowly Chiefs.

"We talked about it all week," Pennington said. "We talked about how their offense has done a lot of really good things. They have an explosive offense. We knew we had our work cut out for us and that we could get into a scoring match, and that's what happened."

Despite a game-time temperature of 10 degrees and a wind chill of minus-12, the teams put on an offensive show as the lead changed hands six times.

There were five lead changes in the second quarter alone as the Chiefs (2-13) grabbed a 28-24 halftime edge on Tyler Thigpen's 8-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds remaining in the half.

Scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions, Kansas City gained 329 yards in the first half against a team that came in yielding just 317 yards per game.

"It was really a game of two halves for us," Kansas City coach Herman Edwards said. "Early in the game we faced some adversity and dug ourselves out of a whole and it got to be a game. The second half was our Achilles heel, as it has been all year."

The Chiefs extended their lead to 31-24 on Connor Barth's 27-yard field goal with 9:11 left in the third quarter.

The Dolphins answered again, tying the contest on Ricky Williams' 4-yard TD run just over two minutes later.

"We're on a roll," Williams said after the Dolphins won for the seventh time in their last eight games. "We want to keep it going. We think we can do some damage in the playoffs. We just have to keep working hard and play our style of football."

Miami's defense finally turned back the Chiefs, as cornerback Nathan Jones picked off Thigpen at the Dolphins 6 on Kansas City's next possession.

"The big turnaround down there at the end got us," Edwards said. "We moved the ball fairly well but we only scored three points in the second half."

Miami turned the ball over twice, giving them 12 for the season, which is still two fewer than the 16-game NFL record set by the 1990 Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Pennington threw his seventh interception, but was at his best during the winning drive, completing all seven of his passes for 65 yards.

"I didn't have to say a word," Pennington said. "I could see it in the guys' eyes. We knew this is the drive; this is it. This is what we've got to do. Still, with that sense of urgency there was never a nervous moment. Everybody was calm and everybody was collected."

Overall, Pennington completed 26-of-34 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

Thigpen passed for a career-high 320 yards and two TDs in the elements, but he was picked off three times.






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  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MIAMI 10 14 7 7 38
    KANSAS CITY 7 21 3 0 31 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MIA - TD, TED GINN JR. 31 YD RUN (DAN
    CARPENTER KICK), 0:18. MIAMI 7-0
    MIA - FG, DAN CARPENTER 34 YD, 3:17. Drive: 4
    plays, 2 yards in 1:07. Key plays:
    Goodman 55-yard interception return
    to K

    Dec 21 4:19 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 20 roots (Close Finish)

    Dolphins 38, Chiefs 31  4th - 2:00Dec 21 4:09 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIA
    ANTHONY FASANO 14 YD PASS FROM CHAD PENNINGTON
    (DAN CARPENTER KICK)
    MIAMI 38
    KANSAS CITY 31 4:08 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Dolphins 38, Chiefs 31  4th - 4:08Dec 21 3:59 PM
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  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MIAMI 10 14 7 31
    KANSAS CITY 7 21 3 31 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MIA - TD, TED GINN JR. 31 YD RUN (DAN
    CARPENTER KICK), 0:18. MIAMI 7-0
    MIA - FG, DAN CARPENTER 34 YD, 3:17. Drive: 4
    plays, 2 yards in 1:07. Key plays:
    Goodman 55-yard interception retu

    Dec 21 3:31 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIA
    RICKY WILLIAMS 4 YD RUN
    (DAN CARPENTER KICK)
    MIAMI 31
    KANSAS CITY 31 6:46 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Dolphins 31, Chiefs 31  3rd - 6:46Dec 21 3:16 PM


  • NFL
    FG KAN
    CONNOR BARTH 27 YD
    MIAMI 24
    KANSAS CITY 31 9:11 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Dolphins 24, Chiefs 31  3rd - 9:11Dec 21 3:08 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MIAMI 10 14 24
    KANSAS CITY 7 21 28 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MIA - TD, TED GINN JR. 31 YD RUN (DAN
    CARPENTER KICK), 0:18. MIAMI 7-0
    MIA - FG, DAN CARPENTER 34 YD, 3:17. Drive: 4
    plays, 2 yards in 1:07. Key plays:
    Goodman 55-yard interception return
    t

    Dec 21 2:45 PM
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  • NFL
    TD KAN
    TYLER THIGPEN 8 YD RUN
    (CONNOR BARTH KICK)
    MIAMI 24
    KANSAS CITY 28 0:50 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Dolphins 24, Chiefs 28  2nd - 0:50Dec 21 2:37 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIA
    ANTHONY FASANO 14 YD PASS FROM CHAD PENNINGTON
    (DAN CARPENTER KICK)
    MIAMI 24
    KANSAS CITY 21 6:12 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Dolphins 24, Chiefs 21  2nd - 6:12Dec 21 2:16 PM


  • NFL
    TD KAN
    LARRY JOHNSON 2 YD RUN
    (CONNOR BARTH KICK)
    MIAMI 17
    KANSAS CITY 21 10:32 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Dolphins 17, Chiefs 21  2nd - 10:32Dec 21 2:07 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIA
    DAVID MARTIN 11 YD PASS FROM CHAD PENNINGTON
    (DAN CARPENTER KICK)
    MIAMI 17
    KANSAS CITY 14 11:33 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Dolphins 17, Chiefs 14  2nd - 11:33Dec 21 2:01 PM


  • NFL
    TD KAN
    TONY GONZALEZ 8 YD PASS FROM TYLER THIGPEN
    (CONNOR BARTH KICK)
    MIAMI 10
    KANSAS CITY 14 14:14 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Dolphins 10, Chiefs 14  2nd - 14:14Dec 21 1:54 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MIAMI 10 10
    KANSAS CITY 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MIA - TD, TED GINN JR. 31 YD RUN (DAN
    CARPENTER KICK), 0:18. MIAMI 7-0
    MIA - FG, DAN CARPENTER 34 YD, 3:17. Drive: 4
    plays, 2 yards in 1:07. Key plays:
    Goodman 55-yard interception retu

    Dec 21 1:49 PM


  • NFL
    TD KAN
    DEVARD DARLING 33 YD PASS FROM TYLER THIGPEN
    (CONNOR BARTH KICK)
    MIAMI 10
    KANSAS CITY 7 10:22 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Dolphins 10, Chiefs 7  1st - 10:22Dec 21 1:26 PM


  • NFL
    FG MIA
    DAN CARPENTER 34 YD
    MIAMI 10
    KANSAS CITY 0 11:43 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Dolphins 10, Chiefs 0  1st - 11:43Dec 21 1:17 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIA
    TED GINN JR. 31 YD PASS FROM CHAD PENNINGTON
    (DAN CARPENTER KICK)
    MIAMI 7
    KANSAS CITY 0 14:42 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Dolphins 7, Chiefs 0  1st - 14:42Dec 21 1:05 PM
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