Inside The Numbers: Season Finales

The Dolphins will close out the 52nd season in franchise history Sunday when they face the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Dolphins will go into the game with a 26-25 record in season finales — 19-16 at home, 7-9 on the road.

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This will mark the fifth consecutive season the Dolphins finish at home — they faced the Jets in 2013 and 2014, and the Patriots the last two years. This will mark the sixth time the Dolphins have faced Buffalo in a season finale, but the first time since the 2001 season. And that game was rescheduled from Sept. 16 to Jan. 6, 2002 after the league postponed all games on the weekend following the events of 9/11. The last time the Dolphins initially were scheduled to end against the Bills was 1985.

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The Dolphins are a perfect 5-0 in season finales against the Bills, with victories in 1970 (45-7), 1977 (31-14), 1981 (16-6), 1985 (28-0) and in that January 2002 game (34-7).

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The Dolphins are 16-15 against AFC East opponents in season finales, 19-15 if you include three victories against the Colts before they moved to the AFC South in 2002.

The most lopsided Dolphins victory in a season finale was the 1970 game against the Bills, which clinched the franchise's first-ever playoff berth.

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The Dolphins have been involved in three shutouts in season finales, including a 16-0 victory against the Baltimore Colts to close out the 14-0 campaign of 1972.

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the Dolphins' season finales was a run of three consecutive overtime games from 1991-93. The Dolphins lost against the Jets (23-20) in 1991, defeated the Patriots (16-13) in 1992 and lost against the Patriots (33-27) in 1993. The Dolphins also played their first 16 season finales at home before closing the strike-shortened 1982 season at Baltimore.

The Dolphins have had seven 300-yard passing performances in season finales, starting with John Stofa's 307-yard outing against Houston to close out the franchise's first season (1966). Ryan Tannehill holds the Dolphins record for a season finale for his 350 passing yards in the 20-10 victory against the New England Patriots in 2015.

The other Dolphins quarterbacks to pass for 300 or more yards in a season finale were Dan Marino (1984, 1989, 1998), Jay Fiedler (2003) and Don Strock (1979).

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There have been seven 100-yard rushing performances, topped by Ricky Williams' 185 yards against the New England Patriots in 2002. Williams had another 100-yard performance in a season finale against New England when he rushed for 108 in 2005.

Other Dolphins running backs to rush for 100 or more yards in a season finale were Gary Davis (1977), Sammie Smith (1990), Lamar Smith (2001), Ronnie Brown (2006) and Lamar Miller (2014).

In terms of receiving, there have been 13 100-yard performances, including two by Chris Chambers (2003, 2004), Oronde Gadsden (1998, 1999), Mark Clayton (1984, 1989) and Nat Moore (1977, 1979), and one by current Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (2016). The others belong to Frank Jackson (1966), Paul Warfield (1973), Melvin Baker (1974) and Scott Schwedes (1988).

Defensively, the record for most sacks in a season finale is three, set by Bob Baumhower in 1983 against the New York Jets. Safety Mike Kozlowski had two pick-sixes in that game, a 34-14 Dolphins victory.

There have been four other season finales with a Dolphins player recording two interceptions, including the 1981 game against Buffalo when Kozlowski did it for the first time. Other Dolphins players with two picks in a season finale were safety Jarvis Williams in 1990, cornerback Andre' Goodman in 2008 and defensive tackle Randy Starks in 2011.

Finally, we come to special teams, where the Dolphins record for most field goals in a season finale is five and was set by Olindo Mare in 2006 against the Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins have had one kick return for a touchdown in a season finale, Wes Welker's 95-yard kickoff return against the Baltimore Ravens to close out the 2004 season.

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