PRIME TIME PERFORMERS

The Dolphins have appeared on Monday Night Football more often than any other team in the NFL, but for some reason no longer are prime-time favorites.<P>But they sure gave those tuned in to ABC last Monday night an eyeful in their only regular season appearance of 2001 broadcast by Al, Dan and Dennis.

The Dolphins easily put together their best performance of the season last Monday night, routing the Indianapolis Colts in the teams' last meeting as division rivals. After leaving Miami battered and humbled, it's safe to say the AFC South-bound Colts won't be sorry to leave the Dolphins behind.

The 41-6 final score represented the Dolphins' most lopsided victory since a 52-14 rout of the Jets — yes, the Dolphins once were able to beat them — to open the 1995 season. The Dolphins also hadn't scored this many points since the finale in that same 1995 season in a 41-22 victory over St. Louis.

The Dolphins hadn't won this convincingly in a Monday night game since trashing the Jets 45-3 in 1986.

The victory improved the Dolphins' record to 9-3, and that would be good enough for the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs at this point. The Dolphins have a two-game lead in the loss column in the AFC East over both New England and the Jets.

"This is by far our best game overall — run, pass, defense, special teams," said quarterback Jay Fiedler. "We executed well on offense."

Coach Dave Wannstedt reminded his team before the game that the nation would be watching, emphasizing to the Dolphins' former Pro Bowl players that this was a great opportunity to show why they were selected to go to Hawaii.

Brock Marion was one of those, and he responded with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Jason Taylor was another, and he had a sack and an interception on a pass that was deflected at the line of scrimmage by defensive tackle Tim Bowens. Sam Madison was yet another, and he was an active tackler in his return to action after a shoulder injury.

Thanks to those efforts, the defense shut down the vaunted Colts offense, holding Indy to its lowest point total since a 31-6 loss to Buffalo to close the 1999 regular season.

On offense, several players looked like Pro Bowlers, as the Dolphins exhibited perfect balance throughout the evening. Miami finished with 183 yards rushing and 183 net yards passing, and had three touchdowns in both the first and second halves.

Jay Fiedler and Ray Lucas both scored rushing touchdowns — the first time in team history two quarterbacks had scored in the same game — and Fiedler also threw three TD passes, including two to rookie Chris Chambers.

"This was a great team effort for 60 minutes," Wannstedt said. "Fantastic win for the organization."


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