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Throwback Thursday | Thanksgiving Memories

The Dolphins will be enjoying a day off this Thanksgiving, but they have made their share of appearances on the traditional holiday and have enjoyed good success while doing it.

The Dolphins have a 5-2 record on Thanksgiving for a .714 winning percentage, which is tied for third-best among teams with at least five games on Turkey Day.

So while preparing for a full day of NFL action, let’s take a quick look back at the Dolphins’ Thanksgiving Day victories.

Nov. 22, 1973

On their way to a second consecutive Super Bowl championship, the Dolphins took a 9-1 record into their game at Dallas to face a 7-3 Cowboys team. This one was all about defense and the running game, as the Dolphins made a 14-0 first-quarter lead stand. The Dolphins rushed for 157 yards and used their punishing ground game to kill off the final 8:41 of the game with a drive that featured four third-down conversions. The Dolphins scored on a 1-yard run by Larry Csonka and a 45-yard pass from Bob Griese to Paul Warfield. Safety Jake Scott set up Csonka’s touchdown with an interception and had a big tackle to complete a goal-line stand in the second quarter.

Nov. 24, 1977

This game was memorable for a few reasons. First, it’s one of only two Thanksgiving afternoon games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 hosted by somebody other than Dallas or Detroit, in this case the St. Louis Cardinals. Second, it was the game where Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese unveiled his glasses. Third was the game itself, which produced what remains to this day the biggest scoring output by one team on Thanksgiving as well as the biggest blowout. The Dolphins were on the positive side of both achievements as they left old Busch Stadium with a 55-14 victory. Griese set a franchise record (later tied by Dan Marino) with six touchdown passes, including three to wide receiver Nat Moore, but the Dolphins actually gained more yards on the ground than in the air that day (295-208).

Nov. 25, 1993

In one of the more famous Thanksgiving Day games in history, the Dolphins recorded an improbable victory at snow-filled Texas Stadium. The Dolphins seemed destined to leave Dallas with a 14-13 loss after Pete Stoyanovich’s 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked in the final seconds, but that was before Leon Lett inexplicably attempted to fall on the loose ball after it had moved beyond the line of scrimmage. Lett slipped and knocked the ball forward, and Dolphins center Jeff Dellenbach recovered the loose ball at the 1-yard line with 3 seconds left. Stoyanovich then kicked an 18-yard field goal for a 16-14 Dolphins victory. Beyond the unusual weather conditions, the game had notable moments, such as Keith Byars’ 77-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which he punctuated by doing a snow angel in the end zone. The game-winning drive, which featured a fourth-and-1 conversion with a 2-yard pass from Steve DeBerg to Byars, came after Dallas kicker Eddie Murray was wide right on a 32-yard field goal attempt that could have made it a 17-13 lead for the Cowboys.

Nov. 27, 2003

The Dolphins wore throwback uniforms for this late-afternoon game in Dallas, and they blew out the Cowboys 40-21 thanks to big performances by quarterback Jay Fiedler and wide receiver Chris Chambers. The two hooked up for three touchdowns to stake the Dolphins to a 37-14 lead through three quarters. Fiedler had almost as many TD passes (3) as incompletions (4) on the day when he posted a near-perfect 156.0 passer rating that earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. The defense chipped in with five sacks, including one by Adewale Ogunleye that produced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Jason Taylor, and three interceptions, one of which was returned 70 yards by safety Sammy Knight.

Joey Harrington Thanksgiving vs. Lions

Nov. 23, 2006

This one was for Joey Harrington. Selected third overall in the 2002 draft by the Lions, Harrington returned to Detroit for this Thanksgiving Day game as the Dolphins’ starting quarterback and enjoyed a happy homecoming. He threw three touchdown passes — two to Marty Booker and one to Randy McMichael — to lead the way to a 27-10 victory. The lone Detroit touchdown was scored by tight end Dan Campbell, the same Dan Campbell who would serve as Dolphins interim head coach for the final 12 games of the 2015 season.

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