"The Dolphins might not even score today."
That was the prediction of former Cowboys great Deion Sanders on the 2003 CBS Thanksgiving pregame show. America's Team was just four days removed from a big victory over the eventual NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, sitting 8-4 and in the limelight of Super Bowl forecasts on every sports talk show in the country.
The unassuming Dolphins, meanwhile, were welcoming Jay Fiedler back to the starting lineup after his heroics the previous Sunday against Washington. Fiedler, who served as the backup to Brian Griese due to a knee sprain that kept the normal starter out of the lineup for four weeks, authored a 13-point comeback on Sunday Night Football.
Fiedler's first start since the Week 7 injury would result in a big road victory, and some postgame hardware. The Dolphins quarterback wasn't alone on the proverbial podium. On the receiving end of not one, not two, but all three touchdown strikes was third-year receiver Chris Chambers. The pair was named co-MVP's of the game, but CBS only had one trophy to award, which Chambers graciously – but perhaps regrettably – gave to his quarterback.
"I actually gave [the trophy to Fiedler]," Chambers said on the Drive Time Podcast. "In hindsight, I probably would've asked them to make two. I saw him not too long ago at one of his foundation events and asked him if he still had it, and to let me borrow it."
The scoring started with Fiedler on the ground, but that series got going with a 30-yard pass interference penalty on Mario Edwards, who Chambers flew past on a one-on-one fly pattern. The Dolphins finished off the eight-play drive with a touchdown and seven of those calls coming via the ground.
The opening drive wasn't the last time we'd hear from Chambers.
Donning the gorgeous white throwback uniforms on a national stage, Chambers went for three scores on five catches and 96 yards in another memorable Thanksgiving win in Dallas.
"It was a coming out party for me playing on the biggest stage of my career,' Chambers said. "Coach [Dave] Wannstedt let [Offensive Coordinator] Norv Turner loose [against] his old team with no play-calling restrictions. The defense played lights out. Great team win!"
Leading the defensive charge were the usual suspects – Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. Taylor scooped and scored a fumble knocked free by Adewale Ogunleye on the fourth play of the second half, giving Miami a comfortable 30-14 lead. Thomas picked off a pass near the end zone on Dallas' final drive, giving the Dolphins a resounding victory – a win that Chambers called the most complete team performance he'd ever been a part of at the time.
"Yes it was [the most complete team win to date]," Chambers said. "We had a stud team. We had a hell of a squad. When you're able to play with a great defense that can get turnovers, get sacks late in the game, it's huge. So, when we put it together on offense, that was a game where we could all let loose and play as a team and come away with the victory."
Taylor's touchdown was a product of one of the five takeaways by the Dolphins defense. Thomas added to the interception with a sack, while Patrick Surtain, Sammy Knight, Terrell Buckley and Shawn Wooden were Johnny-on-the-spot with the remaining four takeaways.
The Dolphins defense got into the end zone, a place Chambers knew he'd be spending some time before the game started. The broadcast's color commentator – Phil Simms -- repeatedly referred to Chambers' confidence in the pre-game production meeting. The third-year receiver knew that because of Miami's strong running game, the play-action pass could fire on all cylinders that day in Dallas.
"We had a real balanced attack that game," Chambers said. "Any time you've got Ricky [Williams] in the backfield, you know you're going to have the safeties coming up. We knew our game plan was to throw the ball over the top and take some chances. We had some opportunities in the game and to see how everything unfolded, it was just an unbelievable momentum."
Celebrations were few-and-far between for the home team, but the visiting Dolphins let its collective hair down, including a celebration-first for Chambers.
"It was my first time ever dunking the ball over the goal post for a celebration," Chambers said.
Although he never pre-meditated his touchdown dances, the 40-21 win afforded Chambers three opportunities to show his stuff, including an ode to the Cowboys legend and the pregame analyst that gave the Dolphins no shot at leaving Dallas as the victors.
Chambers didn't hear that prediction, but on the primetime stage he took full advantage of his chance to replicate the trademark move of the man known simply as "Primetime."
"On that third touchdown, I saw nothing but green grass and I kind of [did the] Deion Sanders into the end zone with a high-step," Chambers said as he put the game out of reach with his third score of the game.