December 9 is the anniversary of the famous "Miami Miracle," the three-lateral play from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills to DeVante Parker to Kenyan Drake that produced an improbable 69-yard touchdown to give the Miami Dolphins a 34-33 victory against the New England Patriots in Week 14 of the 2018 season.
To commemorate the anniversary, we count down the top 10 plays in Dolphins history, selected on the basis of uniqueness, degree of difficulty and historical significance.
As always, feel free to disagree.
10. Cameron Wake’s “sack-off” vs. Cincinnati in 2013
On Halloween night, Wake ended a back-and-forth battle when he split the Cincinnati offensive line and planted Andy Dalton into the end zone on a third-and-10 from the 8-yard line.
9. Trace Armstrong’s sack/strip vs. Buffalo in the 1998 playoffs
The Dolphins seemingly had this one under control after taking a 24-14 lead with 3:42 left, but a field goal and an onside kick recovery gave the Bills a chance and they made it to a first-and-goal from the Miami 5-yard line with 17 seconds left. But Armstrong saved the day when he crushed Doug Flutie from the side, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Shane Burton to clinch the victory.
8. Dan Marino’s game-winning TD pass to Irving Fryar in 1994
This was Marino’s comeback game after his 1993 Achilles injury and it came down to a fourth-and-5 from the New England 35. Not content with just getting the first down, Marino lofted a perfect pass down the right sideline for the touchdown that gave Miami a 39-35 victory.
7. Dick Anderson’s pick-six in the 1971 AFC Championship Game
Anderson’s 62-yard interception return, which gave the Dolphins a 14-0 lead on their way to a 21-0 victory, was a thing of beauty as he weaved his way across the field aided by some terrific blocking by his defensive mates.
6. "Mountaineer Shot" against Philadelphia in 2019
For creativity, it's hard to beat the play that ended with a touchdown pass from punter Matt Haack to kicker Jason Sanders. The whole thing started with an unusual formation with everybody split out wide on both side except for snapper Daniel Kilgore and Haack. The rest was beautiful history.
5. Jay Fiedler’s game-winning TD run vs. Oakland in 2001
There was a lot of emotion everywhere around the NFL when football returned after the events of 9/11, and the Dolphins provided even bigger dramatics when Fiedler sneaked into the end zone with a 2-yard touchdown on the final play to provide an 18-15 victory against the Raiders.
4. Larry Seiple’s fake punt at Pittsburgh in the 1972 AFC Championship Game
Pulling off a fake punt on your own in the second quarter of a conference title game takes a lot of guts, but Seiple made it work when he saw a big opening in the Pittsburgh defense. The run set up a touchdown that helped the Dolphins tie the score 7-7 on their way to a 21-17 victory.
3. The “Fake Spike” at the New York Jets in 1994
That it came against the rival Jets made this play all the more special, even though faking a spike in a late-game situation and instead having Dan Marino throw a touchdown pass to Mark Ingram — his fourth TD of the game — was pretty spectacular in itself.
2. The “Miracle in Miami” vs. New England in 2018
This was absolutely incredible, the Tannehill to Stills to Parker to Drake play that covered 69 yards and gave the Dolphins that 34-33 victory. The only thing keeping this from being number 1 is that it ended up not having any playoff implications.
1. The hook-and-lateral vs. San Diego in the 1981 playoffs
This may be the greatest play in NFL history. Setting the stage, the Dolphins fell behind 24-0 in the first quarter and trailed 24-10 with six seconds left in the first half when they had the ball at the San Diego 40-yard line. Instead of going for a Hail Mary, the Dolphins had Don Strock threw a short comeback pattern to Duriel Harris, who then pitched the ball to a streaking Tony Nathan as Chargers defenders converged on Harris. Nathan easily got to the edge and ran untouched to the end zone. Sure, one could argue this shouldn’t be number 1 because the play came during a Dolphins loss, but that’s overtaken by the sheer genius of the play — in a playoff game no less.