American Football: Marino lashes out as Colts overcome Dolphins

THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, winners of only three games last season, were tipped for better things in 1999, but not even their most fervent supporters could have expected them to achieve so much so soon.

The 37-34 triumph over the Miami Dolphins improved the Colts' record to 10 victories from 12 games, producing the first 10-win season for 22 years for the franchise, and all but guaranteed involvement in next month's play-offs. Furthermore, the manner of their eighth win in succession served notice that the Colts are now genuine Super Bowl contenders.

As they have been for much of the campaign, the Colts were indebted to their triple offensive threat of the quarterback Peyton Manning, the running back Edgerrin James and the wide receiver Marvin Harrison, all of whom made significant contributions. The Dolphins never held a lead but rallied from 31-17 down to tie the game when Dan Marino threw his third touchdown pass of the night to Stanley Pritchett. Marino's efforts were in vain, however, when the Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt converted a 53-yard field goal to give them a three-point edge in the dying seconds.

Afterwards, Marino vented his frustration on reporters during the post- game press conference. "I'll tell you how tough it is," he said. "You work your butt off all week and lose a game like that by three points with two seconds left. That's how tough it is, but you wouldn't know, would you?"

The St Louis Rams, became the first franchise this season to qualify for post-season play following the 34-21 victory in Carolina, a result which also gave the Rams their first divisional title in 14 years. Their quarterback, Kurt Warner, threw three touchdown passes to give his side an early 21-point advantage, while the running back Marshall Faulk gained more than 200 yards of total offense.

Like the Colts, the Rams look genuine Super Bowl contenders, but the manner of the Panthers' rally - at one stage they reduced the deficit to three points - suggests they are not yet the finished product.

"We have a long way to go," said Warner. "We've got a great team and we play together. We have so many guys who can make plays, we just have to go out and show everybody."

Elsewhere, the Detroit Lions continue to prove that there is life after Barry Sanders. Most observers expected the Lions to flop following the surprise retirement of their major running back in the summer. That has not been the case, a fact confirmed by their 33-17 stroll past the Washington Redskins.

History was against the Lions: they had been beaten by their rivals on 16 consecutive occasions in a streak dating back to 1965. However, they also unleashed an unlikely potent weapon. Desmond Howard, the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXI, was signed by the team on Saturday, and within 24 hours he repaid Detroit's faith by breaking a 10-10 tie when he scored on a 68-yard punt return.

The moment would have been all the sweeter for Howard, who was drafted by the Redskins in 1991 but failed to shine in the nation's capital. Subsequently cut by both Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers, Howard's career has been in limbo, but the move to Detroit may give him the boost his career needs.

Washington's loss, combined with the Dallas Cowboys' unexpected 13-6 defeat in New England, means that the NFC Eastern division is wide open. Both the Arizona Cardinals and the New York Giants took advantage with wins, although the Cardinals left it until the final minute before Jake Plummer scored on a one-yard run to give his side a 21-17 win.

No such drama in New York, where the Giants downed the Jets 41-28. The quarterback Kerry Collins threw three touchdowns passes, while the receiver Amani Toomer caught six receptions for 181 yards.

Results, Digest, page 27

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?