The 100 Greatest Plays in Dolphins History: No. 51

Combining the countdown to the start of the Dolphins regular season with the best plays in franchise history
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To help count down the days to the start of the Miami Dolphins regular season last year, we marked each day with the corresponding jersey number and came up with the three best players to wear that number.

This year, we're counting down to the start of the regular season with a countdown of the top 100 plays in Dolphins history.

Given that the Dolphins have played 849 regular season games and 41 more in the playoffs, it's an awfully difficult task to narrow things down to 100 plays and then rank them. The plays selected were ranked on the basis of difficulty, uniqueness, immediate and long-lasting impact and historical significance.

The countdown initially appeared in Dolphin Digest in 2019 but has been updated.

We continue with No. 51:

No. 51: Bob Griese's Game-Winning TD Pass to Jim Mandich at Minnesota in 1972

Setting the stage: The Dolphins' run to a perfect season featured a couple of close calls in the regular season, perhaps none more significant than what happened in Week 3 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota. Against the 1-1 Vikings, the Dolphins trailed 14-6 midway through the quarter at a time when, remember, the two-point conversion rule wasn't in effect. The Dolphins cut their deficit to 14-9 thanks to a clutch 51-yard field goal by Garo Yepremian. That was followed by a second consecutive three-and-out by the defense, setting the stage for some late-game heroics.

The play: The Dolphins began their final drive at the 41-yard line with 2:11 left but quickly moved to the Vikings 3-yard line thanks to a roughing-the-passer penalty on Bob Lurtsema and a 17-yard completion from Bob Griese to Howard Twilley. On first-and-goal, Griese dropped back and found Jim Mandich in the back of the end zone for an easy 3-yard touchdown that provided the winning margin in a 16-14 victory. Mandich, of course, would go to become the voice of the Dolphins as a member of the radio broadcast team until his death from cancer in 2011.

The No. 100 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 99 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

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The No. 96 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

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The No. 79 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 78 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 77 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 76 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

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The No. 56 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 55 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 54 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 53 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

The No. 52 Greatest Play in Dolphins History

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Alain Poupart has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @PoupartNFL. Feel free to submit questions every Friday for the All Dolphins mailbag.