Fiedler, Dolphins Rout Cowboys

The Miami Dolphins (8-4) had plenty to feast on this Thanksgiving, mainly the Cowboys secondary. Quarterback Jay Fielder and company picked apart the Cowboys defense to the tune of 40-21 Thursday, while handing Dallas their worst loss on Thanksgiving in 14 seasons

Miami started their offensive massacre on their first drive, as Fielder drew a 30-yard penalty for pass interference on the game's first play from scrimmage, setting the Dolphins up with a first down at the Dallas 37.

After three straight running plays by tailback Ricky Williams set up a 2nd and 9 at the Cowboys 24, Fielder found WR Randy McMichael for 12 yards and a first down at the Dallas 12. After another three carries by Williams set up a 1st and goal at the Dallas 1, Fielder snuck in from a yard out to put the Dolphins up, 7-0 with 10:24 to go in the first quarter.

Little did we know at the time that things would only get worse.

On the ensuing kickoff, Derek Ross fumbled the return for the first of Dallas' five turnovers in the game. Thankfully, two plays later, Miami gave the football right back after Williams fumbled at the Dallas 28 to off-set the turnovers.

Despite catching a break early, the Cowboys' offense was still sluggish out of the gate. The Dolphins defense forced the Cowboys to a three-and-out after sacking QB Quincy Carter the first of five times on the afternoon.

Two plays into the second quarter, Miami padded their lead to 10-0 after Olindo Mare converted a field goal attempt from 33 yards out. That's when the Cowboys offense finally came to life. After the kick, Dallas marched 66 yards from their own 34 to score on a four-yard touchdown run by fullback Richie Anderson with 10:19 to play in the half, making it a 10-7 contest. Carter found WR Terry Glenn for a 32-yard completion to set up the score, one of four receptions on the day for Glenn.

Unfortunately, that scoring drive didn't trip up the Miami offense, as Fielder led the Dolphins right back down the field in just over two minutes for a 39-yard touchdown bomb to WR Chris Chambers, making the score 17-7.

Once again, the Cowboys' offense responded, as Carter led Dallas 80 yards in a little under six minutes. On a 3rd and 2 at the Miami 27, Carter again found a way to utilize the fullback Anderson, who rambled 27 yards on a touchdown pass to make the score close again, 17-14.

But in the end, there would simply be no stopping Fielder and the Dolphins' offense. With 2:44 remaining on the clock before halftime, Fielder again drove the Dolphins down the field, eventually finding Chambers again for a 6-yard touchdown strike with only 10 seconds to play in the half. A missed extra point by Mare would hold the Dolphins to a 23-14 lead over the Cowboys at intermission.

The second half was not going to be much better, and Dallas learned that right away when Carter was stripped of the football by DE Jason Taylor, who proceeded to ramble 34 yards for a score to put the game out of reach at 30-14.

Midway through the third quarter, the nightmare only got worse. Fielder again found Chambers, this time for 35 yards and a touchdown with 7:42 left in the third. By that time, the Dolphins running up the scoreboard, 37-14.

The score would stay the same until the fourth quarter, when Mare tacked on a 42-yard field goal a little over a minute in, making it a 40-14 Miami lead. Dallas quickly responded as Carter found Glenn for a 45-yard completion to the Dolphins 18, and then proceeded to hit WR Antonio Bryant for an 18-yard score to make it 40-21. That would be the last either team would score, as the Dolphins held on for the victory.

Fiedler finished the day 16 of 20 passing for 239 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. Carter, meanwhile, finished 24 of 40 for 288 passing yards and two touchdowns, but was also picked three times and sacked five times.

Williams, Miami's star running back, rushed for 104 yards on 31 carries for his season average of 3.4 yards per carry, while Carter led the way for the Cowboys' with 43 yards on four rushes.

Chambers had five catches for 96 yards, including three touchdown passes. Glenn led the way for Cowboy receivers with four catches good for 97 yards.

NOTES: The 40-21 loss was the Cowboys' worst on Thanksgiving since the Philadelphia Eagles blanked them 27-0 on Thanksgiving Day in 1989. The Dolphins are now 3-1 against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys now get set to meet the Eagles in a critical NFC East match-up a week from Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles (8-3 overall, 3-1 division) travel to Carolina this Sunday to meet the Panthers.

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