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Miami at Detroit

Dolphins' Harrington makes triumphant return to Detroit

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

DETROIT -- Joey Harrington's face was splashed across the video boards while Billy Joel's "Piano Man" played -- a jab at the quarterback's piano playing.

Harrington got the last laugh.

He threw three touchdown passes Thursday to help the Miami Dolphins erase a 10-point deficit and roll to a 27-10 victory over the Detroit Lions, who drafted him third overall in 2002 and gave up on him earlier this year.

Harrington said the song meant to mock him was clever, not a cheap shot.

"I'm proud of who I am and what I do," he said. "If anybody wants to sit down and play a little bit, I'll be happy to take them on."

Harrington did find it interesting that he was the only Miami offensive player the public-address announcer introduced before the game.

"It was for all those people that wanted to boo me," he said. "And, they did."

Not for long.

By the third quarter, with the Lions trailing 17-10 after another poor possession by their offense, Harrington said his lineman told him they didn't need silent counts because they could hear him from the shotgun.

That's because the fans stopped booing Harrington and directed their frustration at team president Matt Millen with the loudest "Fire Mil-len!" chants of the season.

Detroit is an NFL-worst 23-68 since Millen took control of the franchise in 2001.

"Matt's not down here playing football, we are," Lions linebacker Boss Bailey bristled. "If they want to chant 'Fire Millen,' they should be chanting to fire the whole damn team. All Matt does is bring in players, and every year we talk about how much talent we have. So it should be on us. This isn't about Matt."

Miami (5-6) has won four straight -- doubling Harrington's longest winning streak in any of his four seasons in Detroit. The Lions (2-9) dropped their third straight in a game that ended much differently from the way it began.

Detroit went ahead 10-0 on its first two drives and held the Dolphins to 6 yards on their first possession.

Harrington's second TD pass put Miami ahead with 1:55 left in the first half and his third made it 24-10 late in the third.

The aisles were packed with people heading home for Thanksgiving dinner when the Dolphins were leading 27-10 early in the fourth quarter, and the stands were nearly empty when the game ended.

"I watched the heads of the players on the other team and watched people leave and it was tough to keep my emotions in check," Harrington said. "I was thinking, 'I remember being on that sideline. I remember what that felt like.' More than anything, there are guys over there that deserve to win and I really hope they get this turned around."

Rod Marinelli -- the third coach Millen has hired -- and offensive coordinator Mike Martz decided to replace Harrington in the offseason, apparently thinking free agents Jon Kitna and Josh McCown were upgrades.

Kitna has had a lackluster season and his shaky offensive line, which couldn't even slow Miami's three- and four-man rushes, prevented that from changing against the Dolphins.

"That was the key to the game," Miami coach Nick Saban said. "Early, when they hit Roy Williams for two big plays, we were rushing five guys. I said, 'No more, we're rushing four."'

Despite the lack of blitzing, Miami had eight sacks -- one shy of the franchise record set in 1973.

Kitna was 22-of-40 for 252 yards with a TD, an interception and a fumble.

Williams had five catches -- all for first downs -- for 110 yards in the first quarter, then didn't have another reception until early in the fourth and finished with 126 yards receiving.

The Lions, without running back Kevin Jones (ankle), had just 21 yards rushing.

Harrington played on Thanksgiving in Detroit for the fifth time and had his best game on the holiday, perhaps because he doesn't play for the Lions anymore.

The former Oregon star was traded in May for a conditional draft pick that could be a fifth-rounder. He entered the game 1-3 on Thanksgiving with no TDs, five interceptions and an average of 153 yards passing -- a total he surpassed in the first half alone.

Harrington finished 19-of-29 for a Thanksgiving-high 213 yards, three TDs and an interception.

He directed a balanced attack, led by Marty Booker's seven receptions for 115 yards and two TDs. Ronnie Brown ran for 68 yards before leaving with an injured left hand early in the third quarter, and Sammy Morris filled in well with 91 yards rushing -- including a career-long 55-yard run.

The fans at Ford Field, where Harrington was booed unmercifully even at a practice, jeered him when he ran on the field for his first drive and every time he was shown on the video boards, which displayed numerous close-up shots of his face.

While Harrington took it all in stride and laughed about it, his coach did not.

"It's a shame people can't appreciate what he tried to do for this organization," Saban said. "To be honest for you, I don't have a lot of respect for what they did."


  • Brown's hand was X-rayed, but Saban would not say if it was broken. "He does have an issue and he does have a problem, we just don't know the prognosis," Saban said.
  • Miami CB Michael Lehan (nose), LB Keith Newman (shoulder) and Detroit CB Fernando Bryant (concussion) were injured in the game.
  • Detroit WR Mike Williams, the 10th overall pick in 2005, made his first catch of the year and was given a standing ovation.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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To the victor go the spoils, and Joey Harrington has a few rewards from his first Thanksgiving win.
To the victor go the spoils, and Joey Harrington has a few rewards from his first Thanksgiving win. (AP)


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Related Links
Thurs. Nov. 23Final
Scoring Summary
TDDan Campbell, 2 Yd pass from Jon Kitna (Jason Hanson kick is good), 11:11. Drive: 7 plays, 58 yards in 3:49.
FGJason Hanson 52 Yd, 6:23. Drive: 6 plays, 39 yards in 3:12.
TDMarty Booker, 8 Yd pass from Joey Harrington (Olindo Mare kick is good), 2:37. Drive: 7 plays, 76 yards in 3:46.
TDRandy McMichael, 5 Yd pass from Joey Harrington (Olindo Mare kick is good), 1:55. Drive: 3 plays, 9 yards in 1:29.
FGOlindo Mare 42 Yd, 11:49. Drive: 6 plays, 24 yards in 3:11.
TDMarty Booker, 19 Yd pass from Joey Harrington (Olindo Mare kick is good), 4:17. Drive: 9 plays, 60 yards in 5:05.
FGOlindo Mare 28 Yd, 11:44. Drive: 8 plays, 68 yards in 4:52.
Players of the Game

R. Williams
Rec 6
Yds 126
Avg 21.0
TD 0

J. Harrington
Att 29
Comp 19
Yds 213
TD 3
J. Harrington19/2921331
S. Morris1291055
R. Brown1568017
T. Minor62709
J. Harrington1202
C. Lemon1-20-2
M. Booker7115248
W. Welker542014
R. McMichael325111
C. Chambers223018
R. Brown1505
J. Peelle1303
J. Kitna22/4025211
A. Harris81506
A. Cason2603
R. Williams6126041
M. Furrey767015
A. Harris222019
C. Bradford116016
A. Cason3804
M. Williams1707
D. Campbell2614
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
GB 24 Final
SEA 34
OAK 14 Final
SD 21
CAR 13 Final
WAS 17
NYG 21 Final
TEN 24
SF 17 Final
STL 20
HOU 11 Final
NYJ 26
CHI 13 Final
NE 17
ARI 26 Final
MIN 31
PHI 21 Final
IND 45
CIN 30 Final
JAC 24 Final
BUF 27
PIT 0 Final
BAL 27
NO 31 Final
ATL 13
DEN 10 Final
KC 19
TB 10 Final
DAL 38