Dolphins Celebrate At Ravens' Expense
Monday, December 17, 2007
MIAMI, Dec. 16 -- Some 45,000 fans erupted in a wild, raucous, emotional celebration that would have suited a last-second playoff victory. Usually stoic Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga, who had spent the past week entertaining offers to sell his previously winless team, stood red-faced and crying tears of joy in his private suite, and then, after wiping his eyes, he bent to offer giddy I'm-not-worthy bows to the field.
First-year Miami coach Cam Cameron sprinted with his headset bobbing and wires flying across Dolphin Stadium and leapt into the arms of laughing quarterback Cleo Lemon. Defensive end Jason Taylor pumped his fist so hard he spun himself around. One Miami player was so overjoyed, he bear-hugged -- perhaps mistakenly? -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Ronnie Prude as he rushed to a celebratory pile in the end zone.
The Miami Dolphins had finally won after losing 13 games this season, stunning their fans, themselves and the Ravens with a 22-16 overtime victory on a 64-yard touchdown pass from Lemon to Greg Camarillo, a Stanford graduate who had precisely one catch for two yards before Sunday afternoon.
"It was like winning the Super Bowl," Dolphins defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday said. "We saw him take off and we were just happy and relieved. It makes me tear up when you talk about it, because it's been a tough road."
Making an excruciating defeat even worse for the Ravens: the play came nearly six minutes into overtime, after Ravens place kicker Matt Stover missed what would have been a game-winning 44-yard field goal 1:46 earlier. It also followed the decision by Ravens Coach Brian Billick to kick a tying 18-yard field goal with 12 seconds left in regulation rather than going, on fourth down and inches, for what would have been the winning touchdown.
"I can't speak for everyone else, but how I feel is, 'Darn it, we should have won that game,' " Stover said.
"Nobody will understand what we are going through," Ravens guard Jason Brown said. "Of course, you see how much it meant to them to get that win. After so many losses, it would mean that much to us."
While allowing the Dolphins to end their nearly historic winless streak, Baltimore simultaneously extended its franchise-record losing streak to eight games. Camarillo punctuated what had been a frustrating afternoon for the Ravens, sneaking behind defensive back Jamaine Winborne on a post route to catch a perfect strike from Lemon on the run and outsprint the entire Ravens' secondary to the end zone.
"The first thing I did was look for a flag, because that's the kind of season we've been having," Lemon said.
After the game, Huizenga made a point of summoning Cameron in the locker room for an embrace in front of dozens of reporters as Camarillo's father stood snapping photographs. The mood could not have been more somber down the hall, where Ravens players dressed in near silence.
"My mind just went blank," outside linebacker Antwan Barnes said about the winning play. "I just saw him run down there, and the crowd got into my mind. It was just like a curtain going down."
Making matters worse for the Ravens, linebacker Ray Lewis left in the second half with what team officials described as a dislocated finger. Quarterback Kyle Boller left in the fourth quarter with a mild concussion. Both are expected to be available next week.