Inside The Numbers: The Dolphins And Season Openers

For the second consecutive year, the Dolphins will open the regular season at home when they face the Baltimore Ravens at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.

  • The Dolphins, of course, defeated the Tennessee Titans last year in the weather-delayed game that set an NFL record for length. The game against Baltimore actually should be a third consecutive season opener at home, but fans surely remember the 2017 opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being postponed because of Hurricane Irma. The season opener then became a Week 2 game at StubHub Center against the Los Angeles Chargers.
  • This will be the first time the Dolphins face the Ravens in a season opener, leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars as the only AFC team they have never faced in Week 1.
  • The victory against the Titans last year was their fifth in their past six season openers, a run that began with a 23-10 victory at Cleveland in 2013. The Dolphins also defeated New England in 2014 (33-20), Washington in 2015 (17-10) and the Chargers in 2017 (19-17).
  • The Dolphins will go into the game Sunday with a 29-23-1 record in season openers; their winning percentage of .558 in those games is good for third among AFC teams.
  • There have been nine Dolphins season openers played at times other than Sunday afternoon. Those include five Monday night games, including the 1992 game at Cleveland that became the opener after the scheduled opener against New England was pushed back to October because of Hurricane Andrew. The Dolphins also have opened once on a Thursday night, once on a Sunday night and twice on a Saturday, including that Tennessee game in 2004.
  • The Dolphins own the second-longest opening-day winning streak in NFL history with 11 consecutive victories from 1992 to 2002. Dallas owns the NFL record with a 17-game run.
  • The Dolphins’ 33-20 victory in the 2014 opener stopped New England’s 10-game winning streak on opening day.
  • As Dolphins fans likely recall, the Dolphins overwhelmed New England in the second half to overcome a 20-10 halftime deficit. On their way to outscoring the Patriots 23-0 over the final two quarters, the Dolphins outgained them 222-67 and had a 14-5 edge in first downs.
  • It was the 12th time the Dolphins had reached 30 points in a season opener and the first time since 2005 when they beat the Denver Broncos 34-10 in Nick Saban’s debut as head coach. The Dolphins are 11-1 in those 12 games, the only loss coming in 1991 when they dropped a 35-31 decision at Buffalo.
  • The Dolphins have played 20 openers decided by seven points or less, and are 10-9-1 in those games. The only overtime opener came in a 16-13 loss at Washington in 2007.
  • Breaking down their opening-day record by home or away games, the Dolphins are 12-8 in Miami and 17-15-1 on the road.
  • The Dolphins will be playing consecutive season openers at home for the first time since 2004-05 when they faced Tennessee and Denver, respectively. The longest streak of consecutive openers at home is four years.
  • By contrast, the Dolphins played 13 consecutive regular season openers on the road between 1976 and 1988, going 7-6 during that time.
  • Since they were selected as the opponents to visit the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers to open the 2006 regular season, the Dolphins’ only season openers at home have come in 2008 against the New York Jets, in 2011 against the New England Patriots, in 2014 against the Patriots, and last year.
  • The Dolphins’ top individual opening-day performances for rushing, passing and receiving yards all have come against the Patriots.
  • Dan Marino passed for 473 yards and Irving Fryar had 211 receiving yards in 1994, while Sammie Smith rushed for 159 yards in a 1990 game at New England.
  • The Dolphins have had four 300-yard passing performances on opening day, two by Marino, one by Bob Griese (1969 at Cincinnati) and one by Chad Henne (2011 vs. New England).
  • There have been 13 100-yard rushing performances, including a 122-yard effort by Jay Ajayi in 2017. The only two Dolphins players with two 100-yard rushing games on opening day are Karim Abdul-Jabbar (1996, 1998) and Larry Csonka (1972, 1973). The other opening-day 100-yard rushers are Knowshon Moreno (2014), Ricky Williams (2002), Lamar Smith (2000), Mark Higgs (1991), Sammie Smith (1990), Andra Franklin (1982), Delvin Williams (1978) and Norm Bulaich (1976).
  • The Dolphins have had 15 100-yard receiving performances on opening day, the last being Kenny Stills’ 106-yard day last season. Irving Fryar, Mark Duper, Mark Clayton and Paul Warfield each did it twice; Brian Hartline, Brandon Marshall, Chris Chambers, Marlin Briscoe, Marty Booker and Tony Martin each had one 100-yard opening day for the Dolphins.
  • Defensively, Doug Betters holds the Dolphins opening-day record for sacks with four against the Buffalo Bills in a 12-0 shutout victory in 1983. Charlie Babb has the mark for most interceptions with three in 1975 in a 31-21 Monday night loss against the Oakland Raiders.
  • The Dolphins have had three kickoff returns for touchdowns on opening day, including Joe Auer’s TD on the first play in franchise history in 1966 and Jakeem Grant’s 101-yard touchdown last season. The other was recorded by Mercury Morris in 1969.
  • There also have been three punt returns for touchdowns, the last being Jarvis Landry’s game-winning score at Washington in 2015. The others were produced by Tommy Vigorito in 1982 and Marcus Thigpen at Houston in 2012.

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