Dolphins Lose to Browns By a Point

A 16-17 loss in Cleveland has Miami 0-3 -- and a coach's hot seat set to scalding

Sunday, Sep 25, 2011  |  Updated 5:27 PM EDT
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Colt McCoy saved his best moments for last, and the Dolphins are now 0-3.

McCoy threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Massaquoi with 43 seconds left, capping an 80-yard drive in the final minutes to rally the Cleveland Browns to a 17-16 win Sunday over winless Miami, a loss that will bring even more heat on embattled Dolphins coach Tony Sparano.

McCoy completed nine of 13 passes for all 80 yards on Cleveland's final drive, making up for an otherwise lackluster and inaccurate performance. On third-and-5, McCoy pump faked before lofting a perfect pass to the right corner over rookie cornerback Jimmy Wilson to a leaping Massaquoi.

The Browns (2-1) then withstood a late comeback attempt as safety Mike Adams intercepted Miami's Chad Henne with 13 seconds left.

"Holy smokes," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said afterward.

With two road games upcoming, the Dolphins (0-3) needed a win to take pressure off Sparano, who has been under fire from disgruntled Miami fans.

Dan Carpenter's 38-yard field goal put the Dolphins up 16-10, giving McCoy the ball with 3:23 left. And, based on the way he was playing, the Browns chances didn't appear good.

But the second-year quarterback, who was just 10 of 26 for 130 yards at the time, skillfully took the Browns down the field with mostly short passes — three to rookie wide receiver Greg Little, who hadn't caught a pass all day. McCoy showed poise in the pocket under pressure from Miami's defensive line.

On his winning TD pass, McCoy's ball initially looked like it might be short, but the ball sailed just over Wilson's outstretched hands and into Massaquoi's.

Cleveland's crowd erupted, but Browns fans were soon holding their breath. Massaquoi and teammate Ben Watson were penalized for excessive celebration after the TD, and Cleveland was then flagged for a horse-collar tackle on the ensuing kickoff.

Henne took over near midfield, but Miami's QB threw three straight incompletions before he was picked by Adams.

McCoy finished 19 of 39 for 210 yards and two TDs — not pretty, but a win.

Henne went 19 of 29 for 255 yards, but couldn't bring back the Dolphins, who were hoping a road game would turn their season around. Miami went 6-2 away from home last season and just 1-7 at home, where Sparano is hearing calls for his job after consecutive 7-9 seasons.

Carpenter kicked three field goals for Miami.

His 23-yarder in the final minute sent Miami to the locker room at half with a 10-7 lead that felt like it should have been by double digits.

The Dolphins dominated every statistical category -- especially total yardage (234-99) and time of possession (21:07 to 8:53) in the first half -- but couldn't pull it out in the end.

Fin? For Tony Sparano, perhaps.

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