Dolphins At Their Best On Thanksgiving

Posted Nov 22, 2011

The Dolphins will be making their third appearance on Thanksgiving Day on Thursday when they take on Dallas at Cowboys Stadium, and history says they should be happy the game was scheduled for that day.

Put simply, the Dolphins have been very impressive on turkey day, with five victories in six outings. Making that record even more impressive is the fact that four of their five victories were against a team with a winning record.

If the NFL keeps the same scheduling pattern, and if the Dolphins aren’t scheduled for the relatively new Thanksgiving night game, their next possible turkey day appearance would be in 2014 at Detroit.

Until then and until Thursday’s game at Dallas, we revisit Miami’s previous Thanksgiving Day games.

Nov. 22, 1973 — Miami 14, Dallas 7

In a battle of traditional powers, the Dolphins outlasted the Cowboys in a defensive battle.

The Dolphins came up with three sacks of Roger Staubach and Jake Scott had an interception as they shut out the Cowboys until the fourth quarter.

Offensively, Bob Griese completed only six passes, but one of those was good for a 45-yard touchdown to Paul Warfield that gave Miami a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

The victory improved the Dolphins’ record to 10-1 on the way to a 12-2 finish.

Nov. 24, 1977 — Miami 55, St. Louis 14

Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, Detroit and Dallas have hosted the two Thanksgiving afternoon games, with the exception of 1975 and 1977 when St. Louis replaced Dallas.

The Dolphins made the Cardinals wish they had never played that 1977 game.

That day, the Dolphins set team records for points and yards (503) while Bob Griese became the first NFL quarterback since 1972 to throw six touchdown passes in a game.

The Dolphins also rushed for 295 yards against a Cardinals team that actually was pretty good — St. Louis came into the game with a 7-3 record.

The victory moved Miami to 8-3 on the season on the way to a 10-4 finish that unfortunately wasn’t enough to make the playoffs.

Nov. 25, 1993 — Miami 16, Dallas 14

Less than two weeks after Don Shula had become the winningest coach in NFL history, he took his surging Dolphins to snowy Dallas.

The Dolphins were facing a Cowboys team that had gone 7-1 after starting 0-2 without holdout running back Emmitt Smith — and Dallas was the defending Super Bowl champion.

The game featured Keith Byars’ 77-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and one of the wildest finishes when Leon Lett foolishly touched the ball after a Dolphins field goal attempt in the final seconds had been blocked.

The improbable victory gave the Dolphins a 9-2 record on the season, but they wouldn’t win another game the rest of the way. Dallas, meanwhile, wouldn’t lose again on its way to capturing a second consecutive Super Bowl title.

Nov. 25, 1999 — Dallas 20, Miami 0

This was the day when Dan Marino endured perhaps the worst game of his Hall of Fame career.

Back in action after missing the previous five games with a shoulder injury, Marino looked rusty while tying his career high with five interceptions, including one that was returned 46 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Dexter Coakley to give Dallas a 7-0 lead in the third quarter.

The Dolphins defense turned in a solid performance against Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and company, holding the Dallas offense to 324 yards and only a fourth-quarter touchdown.

The loss was the beginning of a tough end to the season for the Dolphins, who went to Dallas with an 8-2 record and would finish the season at 9-7.

Nov. 27, 2003 — Miami 40, Dallas 21

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of their 1973 Super Bowl team, the Dolphins wore their throwback jerseys for this game.

But their style was far different from the run-oriented 1973 Dolphins, as quarterback Jay Fiedler and wide receiver Chris Chambers put on a show.

Chambers ended the game with five catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns — from 39 and 6 yards in the second quarter and from 35 yards in the third.

Ricky Williams added 104 yards rushing and Jason Taylor returned a fumble 34 yards for another score, and the result was a lopsided Dolphins victory over a Dallas team that came in with an 8-3 record.

The victory put the Dolphins at 8-4 on their way to a 10-6 finish.

Nov. 23, 2006 — Miami 27, Detroit 10

Call it Joey Harrington’s revenge.

Discarded by the Lions, the former third overall pick enjoyed his best game in a Dolphins uniform as he threw for three touchdowns.

The game actually didn’t start very well for Miami, which found itself trailing 10-0 in the first quarter.

But behind Harrington’s passing and a running game that produced 186 yards, the Dolphins scored the last 27 points.

The victory was the Dolphins’ third in a row after a 1-6 start, but they couldn’t maintain their momentum and ended dropping four of their last five to finish 6-10.
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