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Dolphins Feast On Thanksgiving Day Games

Posted Nov 22, 2012

The Dolphins have had some memorable games on Thanksgiving Day.

Nov. 22, 1973
Miami Dolphins 14 • Dallas Cowboys 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 and a victory in Super Bowl VIII.

Nov. 24, 1977
Miami Dolphins 55 • St. Louis Cardinals 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 Dolphins 16 • Dallas Cowboys 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 Cowboys 20 • Miami Dolphins 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 Dolphins 40 • Dallas Cowboys 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 Dolphins 27 • Detroit Lions 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.

Nov. 24, 2011
Dallas Cowboys 20 • Miami Dolphins 19
Tony Sparano’s holiday homecoming to Texas ended in heartbreak as his Miami Dolphins fell to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-19, on a last-second field goal. Four trips inside the red zone could only yield four Shayne Graham field goals and that proved to be the difference at Cowboys Stadium. Quarterback Matt Moore completed 19-of-32 for 288 yards and one touchdown, a 35-yarder to wide receiver Brandon Marshall that Marshall reeled in despite having cornerback Terence Newman draped all over him. He caught five passes for 103 yards and the score on the afternoon. If Moore could have one play back it would be his fumble of a shotgun snap late in the first half that was recovered by Dallas at the Miami 5. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Laurent Robinson on the next play, the first of two touchdown passes to Robinson, and Moore did manage to get the Dolphins into field goal territory at the end of the first half to make it a 10-6 ballgame.
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