JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As if he hadn't already suffered enough, Dan Marino reluctantly submitted to a postgame grilling
from reporters. He sidestepped a couple of questions, but answered several, showing commendable patience at the end of the most miserable afternoon in his 17-year career.
Then someone asked about his unfulfilled quest for a Super Bowl ring.
|Dan Marino was picked off twice, fumbled twice and was sacked twice in the ugly loss.|
"That's enough, guys, OK?" Marino said with a frown. He gave a small wave and left, possibly for good.
Instead of the Super Bowl, Marino might be headed for retirement, thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars. They buried the Miami Dolphins 62-7 Saturday in the second round of the AFC playoffs.
Marino's final statistics: 11 completions in 25 attempts for 95 yards, two fumbles lost and two interceptions. His first pass Saturday was intercepted, and from there his day went downhill, ending under an avalanche.
"I've never experienced a game like this in my life," he said. "Even as a kid, I've never had a game like this."
Jacksonville led 38-0 before Marino's first completion. After one series in the second half he went to the bench, his season over and his future uncertain.
Was it his last game?
"Don't ask me that question now," he said. "I'll wait and see as time goes on what the circumstances are with the Dolphins."
Coach Jimmy Johnson, who feuded frequently with Marino this season, is also considering retirement. Johnson said he worked his
team too hard in practice this week and took blame for the defeat, but he declined to take questions regarding his plans.
"I don't think either one of them should hang it up," guard Kevin Donnalley said. "Both of them have a ton of passion for this
Saturday's defeat probably won't help the strained relationship between Marino and Johnson, or their zeal for coming back. The drubbing made Miami's season-ending 38-3 loss at Denver last year look competitive by comparison.
It was a dismal disappointment for Johnson. He promised a Super Bowl in three years when he came to Miami in 1996, but he has just two playoff victories in four seasons.
Marino, seeking his first championship ring at age 38, was the sentimental favorite in the NFL playoffs. Jaguars safety Carnell
Lake was among those to hug the future Hall of Famer after the game.
"I just told him good luck, and that he has had a great career," Lake said. "Seventeen years -- Dan has nothing more to prove. The only reason he would come back would be to get another crack at the Super Bowl."
The Jaguars showed Marino no mercy, blitzing relentlessly to take advantage of his poor mobility, forcing bad decisions and weak throws. His longer passes floated, as they have tended to do since he returned from a neck injury in November.
Defensive breakdowns, a chronic problem during the Dolphins' late-season slump, also contributed to the most lopsided loss in team history. Fred Taylor scored on a 90-yard run, an NFL playoff record, and the Jaguars scored on touchdown passes of 39, 70 and 38
Miami, by contrast, committed seven turnovers. Marino's first interception, badly underthrown, led to a field goal. Two series later he was searching for a receiver when Tony Brackens slapped the ball out of his hand, picked it up and ran 16 yards for a touchdown and a 24-0 lead.
It was Marino's frequent turnovers that prompted Johnson to criticize his quarterback earlier this season. But Johnson took all
the blame Saturday, saying he didn't let the Dolphins recover physically from their playoff victory last week at Seattle.
"I tried to prepare them too much," he said. "I should have pulled back after the long trip to Seattle. It was obvious from the
start that we were dead-legged."
The defeat completed a stunning collapse by the Dolphins, who shared the NFL's best record at midseason but went 3-7 the rest of
the way. They hit bottom Saturday, and it could be that the last game of Marino's career was his worst.
"We didn't really compete at all," he said. "We played horrible."