The New York Jets called a timeout to try to rattle Uwe von Schamann, but the Miami place-kicker used the break for mental preparation before kicking a 47-yard field goal that gave the Dolphins a 20-19 NFL victory today.
"It actually helped because I do like to have some time out there to get myself set up and go over the thing mentally that I to do to make a good kick," said von Schamann, whose game winner came with three seconds left.
Von Schamann earlier had missed attempts of 49 and 23 yards.
"You had to appreciate what was going on in von Schamann's mind -- the San Diego game, the illness and then he missed one at point blank range today -- but he rose to the occasion," said Dolphins Coach Don Shula. "His kick could have gone 60 yards. He showed courage and toughness."
Last January, von Schamann missed a 35-yard attempt that could have changed the outcome for the Dolphins in their 41-38 playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers. And last summer Von Schamann had colitis and lost 24 pounds.
Miami (5-2) ended a five-game winning streak for the Jets, who had not lost since a season-opening setback to Miami on Sept. 12.
The game winner came after reserve quarterback Don Strock used seven plays to move the Dolphins from their 17 to the New York 30.
"We have no excuses; there were no Zambonis," Walt Michaels, Jets coach, told Greg Logan of Newsday. Michaels was referring to the snowblower New England used to clear the field for its winning field goal against Miami last week in Foxboro, Mass. "It's hard for me to laugh."
The Jets, who were trying to become the first team to clinch a playoff berth, had taken a 19-17 lead with 9:08 remaining on Pat Leahy's 49-yard field goal.
The Dolphins have beaten the Jets twice this year, including the 45-28 win in the opener. They needed today's victory to remain in the playoff picture, while the Jets were more concerned with gaining a home-field advantage in the playoffs. One more victory should put both teams in the expanded 16-team playoffs.
New York drove 59 yards in six plays after the opening kickoff to take a 6-0 lead on Richard Todd's 22-yard scoring pass to Wesley Walker. The touchdown reception was the ninth of Walker's career in 10 games against Miami.
Todd and wide receiver Derrick Gaffney combined on a 45-yard touchdown play that gave New York a 13-10 lead less than two minutes into the second period. But Miami regained the lead when quarterback David Woodley passed 36 yards to Harris at the 10:48 mark. Miami led at halftime, 17-16.
Leahy was mobbed by teammates in the middle of the field after kicking the 49-yard field goal that gave the Jets a two-point lead, silencing an Orange Bowl crowd of 67,702.
But it was the extra point Leahy missed following the Jets' first touchdown that will be remembered. That and the 28-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter that was blocked by Charles Bowser. Leahy has missed five of his last 12 extra point tries and five of his last 10 field goal attempts.
Strock replaced Woodley with 1:48 remaining and made seven of eight passes for 54 yards to set up von Schamann's game-winning field goal.
Todd was shaken up early in the third quarter after taking a hard hit from Miami linebacker Larry Gordon. He left the game for one play and was forced to leave again when he was poked in the right eye on the play after he returned.