"Handoff. Lamar wrapping up the ball with both arms, and he just gets in front of everybody! To the 15, the 10, the five…touchdown! Touchdown Miami!"
That was Bill Zimpfer's radio call filtered through the emphatic interruptions of the great Jim Mandich.
"The Dolphins are going to win this game!" Mandich shouted in elation.
That one sentence encapsulated the jubilation of Dolphins fans everywhere. Hope was evaporating late, but Miami rallied behind Lamar Smith's two touchdown, 209-yard performance on a playoff-record 40 carries.
Quarterback Jay Fiedler threw three first-half interceptions, but bounced back when the Dolphins had to have it.
Miami trailed 14-0 at the intermission, but crawled back to within four in the early stages of the fourth quarter. A Colts field goal put Miami 80 yards away from sending the game into overtime. The offense answered the call with a 16-play drive in which O.J. McDuffie made a pair of big plays, including a one-handed snare to set the Dolphins up inside the 10-yard line.
A nine-yard pass to Jed Weaver on third-and-goal with 40 seconds remaining put the finishing touches on the game-tying drive. It was Miami's third third-down conversion on the drive.
"They were in man-to-man and [that play] was called the Y loop," Weaver said on the Drive Time Podcast. "I run the Y loop, put my outside foot in the ground and pivot back in against the outside leverage. [The defender] was pretty deep so I was open the entire time, Jay hit me and it was pretty awesome to score that touchdown."
The normally reliable Mike Vanderjagt missed a 49-yard field goal in the extra period giving Miami possession at its own 39-yard line. An exhausting 11 plays later, Smith carried Colts defenders into the end zone, and the Dolphins into the divisional round.
The vaunted Miami defense did its part as well. Indianapolis' quarterback (Peyton Manning), running back (Edgerrin James) and top receiver (Marvin Harrison) were all selected as starters in that year's Pro Bowl. Miami held Manning under 200 yards passing and Harrison to just 63 yards receiving. James put up 107 yards on the ground but was held out of the end zone.
"We had Sam Madison and Pat Surtain on the outside, so those guys were locking down," Weaver said. "We also had Brock Marion and Brian Walker, so we matched up well with them that way. And I would take Zach Thomas over any linebacker that ever played. It was a tribute to the defense; they kept us in the game."
After the celebration died down, the Dolphins players had a chance to reflect on the win, and Smith's run.
"Once Lamar got to the 10, I said, 'They're in trouble,'" offensive lineman Mark Dixon said in a New York Times article.
For Smith, the performance meant more than meets the eye. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Smith had been released by two teams prior to his 1,000-yard season and playoff heroics over his hometown team.
"I'm just happy to be a part of the victory," Smith said almost 20 years ago via the New York Times. "We had to overcome a lot of obstacles."
One of those obstacles was an injury to Fiedler's non-throwing shoulder. The ailment was so bad that Fiedler had to execute every hand off using his right hand, resulting in some unconventional looking plays.
"It was just an amazing comeback," Fiedler said. "The rush of elation and adrenaline was unbelievable," in a quote to the New York Times.
For the former seventh-round draft pick of the Eagles, who was released after his rookie season, Jed Weaver's first career touchdown was a special one; both for he and the Miami Dolphins.
"To score my first touchdown in the NFL in that situation was a dream come true," Weaver said.