Dan Marino may have arrived a little late, but he's back in the playoffs.
He threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, and the Miami Dolphins beat Kansas City 17-16 in the AFC wild-card playoff game Saturday after sweating out a 52-yard Nick Lowery field goal attempt that fell just short for the Chiefs.The Dolphins, who came back from fourth-quarter deficits to win three times during the regular season, took the lead with 3:28 left on Marino's 12-yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton. The Dolphins converted three third-down situations as they marched 85 yards for the score.
With 49 seconds left, Kansas City's reliable Lowery lined up for a 52-yarder. His longest this season had been 48. The kick was right down the middle, but it fell into the end zone, short of the crossbar by a yard or so.
And the Dolphins, who hadn't been in the playoffs since 1985, moved onto the second round.
The Dolphins' next opponent will be determined by Sunday's Houston-Cincinnati game. If the host Bengals win, the Dolphins will play Saturday at 10:30 a.m. MST at AFC East champion Buffalo. If Houston wins, the Dolphins will play Sunday at 2p.m. against the AFC West champion Raiders in Los Angeles.
Miami's only score in the first three quarters came on Pete Stoyanvovich's 58-yard field goal, the longest in NFL playoff history. The Dolphins could not penetrate inside Kansas City's 39-yard line until they mounted a 66-yard drive capped by Marino's 1-yard touchdown pass to Tony Paige with 12:18 to play.
A fourth-and-2 conversion - on Sammie Smith's 2-yard run to the Chiefs 43 - kept that drive alive.
After Miami went ahead, Kansas City moved quickly into Dolphins territory. Christian Okoye carried for 12 yards to the 15, but a holding penalty on guard David Szott brought the ball back to the 37.
On fourth down at the 35, the All-Pro Lowery came up short. The stadium erupted with 49 seconds left, and the Dolphins ran out the clock. Lowery had made his previous 24 kicks in a row, including field goals of 27, 25 and 38 yards earlier in the game.
Lowery's final two field goals came in a third-quarter span of 1:51, giving the Chiefs a 16-3 lead. The kicks were sandwiched around a fumble by Miami receiver Mark Duper that linebacker Dino Hackett recovered at the Dolphins 29.
Marino finished with 19 completions in 30 attempts for 221 yards with no interceptions. Sammie Smith carried 20 times for 82 yards.
Kansas City's Steve DeBerg hit 17 of 29 passes for 269 yards with one interception and one touchdown, a 26-yarder to Stephone Paige that gave the Chiefs a 10-3 halftime lead.
Paige caught eight passes for 142 yards.
The Chiefs still have not won a playoff game since the 1969 season.