Five snapshots from the Dolphins-Patriots series, focusing on games played in New England …
1. Sept. 9, 1990 — The 1990 opener at Foxboro Stadium featured the best performance in the career of 1989 Dolphins first-round pick Sammie Smith. The running back from Florida State rushed for a career-high 159 yards that day, including a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Fullback Tony Paige scored the game-winning on a 7-yard pass from Dan Marino with 1:56 left in the fourth quarter.
2. Dec. 27, 1992 — The Dolphins had to win in overtime against the 2-13 Patriots to close out the 1992 regular season, but it was a huge victory because it gave them the AFC East title and ended up providing home-field advantage in the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills. After Bobby Humphrey scored a game-tying touchdown for the Dolphins with 2:53 left in regulation, Larry Webster and Chuck Klingbeil came up with a huge sack of quarterback Jeff Carlson to knock the Patriots out of field goal range in the final minute. The Dolphins defense then got a three-and-out to start overtime before Pete Stoyanovich kicked a 35-yard field goal for the victory.
3. Oct. 17, 1999 — This was one of the wildest game in the history of the series. Things got off to a catastrophic start for the Dolphins, who not only watched New England take a 14-0 lead on two interception returns for touchdowns but lost quarterback Dan Marino to injury in the process. Damon Huard came on in relief, and turned in impressive performance after throwing one of the early pick-sixes. Huard delivered in the clutch, engineering a 59-yard game-winning touchdown drive that ended with a 5-yard pass to fullback Stanley Pritchett with 23 seconds remaining. Kicker Olindo Mare also played a big role in the victory as he kicked a franchise-record six field goals — from 20, 33, 45, 45, 41 and 53 yards.
4. Dec. 24, 2000 — Like the 1992 game, the Dolphins pulled out a three-point victory to clinch the AFC East title, though this one featured a rather bizarre ending. After Olindo Mare gave the Dolphins a 27-24 lead with a 49-yard field goal with 9 seconds remaining, the Dolphins thought they had won the game after Drew Bledsoe's Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete. After a 35-minute delay, the officials decided that there still should be 3 seconds left on the clock, so both teams had to be called back from their locker room and the Dolphins had to interrupt their celebration. Backup quarterback Michael Bishop was called on to try another Hail Mary for the Patriots, it fell incomplete, and the Dolphins officially had the victory and the division title.
5. Sept. 21, 2008 — This became known as the Wildcat game. This was the game, after an 0-2 start in Tony Sparano's first season as head coach, when the Dolphins unveiled the Wildcat, the offensive formation where Ronnie Brown took the snap in the shotgun just as fellow running back Ricky Williams ran in front of him. The Patriots had no answer for the Wildcat, as Brown finished with four rushing touchdowns and threw a TD pass to tight end Anthony Fasano, who was in the first year of his first stint with the Dolphins. Linebacker Joey Porter was the defensive star in the 38-13 victory as he finished with four sacks.