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Miami at Kansas City

Dolphins shrug off frigid temps, beat Chiefs to put division title in sight

CBSSports.com wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The coldest conditions any Miami team has played in couldn't stop these history-making Dolphins.

Thriving in mind-numbing frigidity, Chad Pennington threw three touchdown passes Sunday in a 38-31 victory over Kansas City that continued one of the most remarkable comeback seasons in NFL history.

A year after going 1-15, the Dolphins can clinch the AFC East next weekend by beating the New York Jets, the team that cast Pennington aside when it acquired Brett Favre.

"This is the only way fate would have it, right?" Pennington said. "I just don't think it would happen any other way. There wouldn't be any other scenario. This is how sports works."

The Dolphins (10-5) became the first team to win 10 games after winning only one the previous season, but needed a 14-point fourth quarter after Kansas City (2-13) took a 31-24 lead late in the third.

The temperature at the noon kickoff was 10 degrees with a wind chill of minus-12, the coldest conditions the Dolphins have ever played in. No doubt it was even icier when Pennington engineered a 13-play, 85-yard drive capped by his tiebreaking 14-yard TD pass to Anthony Fasano with 4:08 left.

"Right now, (the drive) is a blur," Pennington said. "It was so cold, my brain is not working real well. I can just remember time after time it was somebody making a play, breaking a tackle, making a catch, making a big block, making play after play to keep the drive going."

It was the second-coldest game played at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs (2-13) concluded the home portion of the worst season in the 49-year history of the franchise. In their last 24 games, the Chiefs are 2-22.

"You play for pride as a football player and as a human being," Chiefs linebacker Rocky Boiman said.

After quickly falling behind 10-0 when the Dolphins scored on their first play from scrimmage, the Chiefs fought back and took a 28-24 halftime lead.

"This game didn't start off real well, but the way they fought back says a lot about who they are, and their character," head coach Herm Edwards said.

Coming six days after the abrupt resignation of general manager Carl Peterson, the loss would seem to cast even more doubt on the future of Edwards, who remains staunchly supported by almost all his players.

"A lot of coaches in a situation like this would be looking for the door, would be looking for a way out," Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters said. "Herm's right there in the front, ready to take on all comers."

It was the fourth victory in a row and eighth in nine games for the Dolphins, whose previously coldest game was 14 degrees at Foxboro, Mass., on Dec. 11, 1977.

"The biggest thing was trying to keep your fingers from going numb," Dolphins running back Ricky Williams said. "We took care of ourselves and handled it well, I think."

A Miami defense that hadn't yielded a touchdown in three weeks gave up four TDs and a season-high 492 yards to the Chiefs, who have lost eight games by seven points or fewer and finish their miserable season next week at Cincinnati. Tyler Thigpen threw for a career-best 320 yards and had two touchdowns, but also three interceptions.

Pennington was 26-of-34 in the brutal cold, including two touchdown tosses to Fasano.

After Connor Barth's 24-yard field goal put the Chiefs on top 31-24 in the third quarter, Ricky Williams' 4-yard touchdown run tied it 31-all. Then Pennington took the Dolphins on the winning drive.

"The most important thing is we were focused on (win) No. 10 and making history," Pennington said. "That is what today was about. We knew we couldn't get to next week until we took care of this week. We found ways to win all season."


  • At 10 degrees, it was exactly 30 degrees colder than the coldest home game the Dolphins ever played, on Dec. 24, 1989 against, of all teams, the Chiefs.
  • Dolphins lost their previous coldest game, 14-10, at New England.
  • The coldest game played at Arrowhead kicked off at zero degrees on Dec. 18, 1983.
  • KC's Tony Gonzalez became the first tight end with four 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Copyright 2016 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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Tight end Anthony Fasano finds the end zone in the fourth quarter for the winning touchdown.
Tight end Anthony Fasano finds the end zone in the fourth quarter for the winning touchdown. (Getty Images)


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Sun. Dec. 21Final
MIA - Pass: C. Pennington (26-34, 235), Rec: D. Bess (6-57)
KC - Pass: T. Thigpen (20-41, 320), Rush: L. Johnson (12-108)
Scoring Summary
TDTed Ginn Jr., 31 Yd run (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 14:42. Drive: 1 play, 31 yards in 0:18.
FGDan Carpenter 34 Yd, 11:43. Drive: 4 plays, 2 yards in 1:07.
TDDevard Darling, 33 Yd pass from Tyler Thigpen (Connor Barth kick is good), 10:15. Drive: 3 plays, 65 yards in 1:28.
TDTony Gonzalez, 8 Yd pass from Tyler Thigpen (Connor Barth kick is good), 14:05. Drive: 17 plays, 80 yards in 7:47.
TDDavid Martin, 11 Yd pass from Chad Pennington (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 11:33. Drive: 5 plays, 72 yards in 2:32.
TDLarry Johnson, 2 Yd run (Connor Barth kick is good), 10:32. Drive: 2 plays, 77 yards in 1:01.
TDAnthony Fasano, 14 Yd pass from Chad Pennington (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 6:12. Drive: 7 plays, 66 yards in 4:20.
TDTyler Thigpen, 8 Yd run (Connor Barth kick is good), 0:50. Drive: 8 plays, 95 yards in 1:26.
FGConnor Barth 27 Yd, 9:11. Drive: 9 plays, 69 yards in 5:49.
TDRicky Williams, 4 Yd run (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 6:46. Drive: 5 plays, 60 yards in 2:25.
TDAnthony Fasano, 14 Yd pass from Chad Pennington (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 4:08. Drive: 13 plays, 85 yards in 8:33.
Players of the Game

L. Johnson
Rush 12
Yds 108
Avg 9.0
TD 1

C. Pennington
Att 34
Comp 26
Yds 235
TD 3
C. Pennington26/3423531
P. Cobbs244044
R. Williams1234113
R. Brown832018
T. Ginn Jr.131131
L. Polite529014
C. Pennington2-20-1
D. Bess657012
R. Williams650014
A. Fasano347219
T. Ginn Jr.444018
R. Brown521010
D. Martin111111
P. Cobbs1505
Kansas City
T. Thigpen20/4132023
L. Johnson12108133
T. Thigpen657127
J. Charles315011
J. Charles3102075
D. Darling369133
T. Gonzalez764115
M. Bradley457037
D. Bowe328012
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
GB 17 Final
CHI 20
SD 41 Final
TB 24
NYJ 3 Final
SEA 13
HOU 16 Final
OAK 27
BUF 30 Final
DEN 23
PHI 3 Final
WAS 10
PIT 14 Final
TEN 31
SF 17 Final
STL 16
CAR 28 Final
NYG 34
ARI 7 Final
NE 47
ATL 24 Final
MIN 17
NO 42 Final
CIN 14 Final
BAL 33 Final
DAL 24
IND 31 Final
JAC 24