The Miami Dolphins will face quite the challenge Sunday when they face the Kansas City Chiefs, who will come to Hard Rock Stadium sporting an 11-1 record that's tied for best in the NFL.
This will mark the fifth time the Dolphins will face a team coming in with a record of 11-1 or better (at least 11 wins and no more than one loss), and the first since 2007 when they were 1-13 and had to face the 14-0 New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
That one didn't work out well for the Dolphins, who were on the short end of a 28-7 final score, but they won the other three matchups — all of them in Miami.
Let's look at those in reverse chronological order:
2004 — Dolphins 29, Patriots 28
This game might go down as the biggest upset history in franchise history. The Dolphins were suffering through a miserable 2-11 season when they prepared for a Monday night game against New England, which was coming off a Super Bowl title and had a 12-1 record on its way to a second consecutive championship. The Dolphins, wearing orange jerseys on this night, trailed 28-17 in the fourth quarter before A.J. Feeley engineered a comeback that was capped by a fourth-down touchdown pass to Derrius Thompson. Two late takeaways by the Dolphins defense helped secure the victory.
1998 — Dolphins 31, Broncos 21
This Week 16 matchup had the makings of an electric night in Miami after Denver started the season 13-0, but the Broncos suffered their first loss (against the Giants) the week before they came down to Miami. The Dolphins, who came in with a 9-5 record, made it two losses in a row when Dan Marino connected with Lamar Thomas for three touchdown passes. Marino added a fourth touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden as he outdueled John Elway, though Elway and the Broncos got their revenge in the playoffs when they defeated the Dolphins 38-3 in Denver on their way to a second consecutive Super Bowl title.
1985 — Dolphins 38, Bears 24
Among the most famous games in Dolphins history and the one many fans would consider the best victory, the Dolphins ended the Bears' dreams of a perfect season at 12-0. This one wasn't as close as the final score would suggest because the Dolphins took a 31-10 lead into halftime. The Dolphins solved the Bears' 46 defense with a lot of quick passing and Marino completed 14 of 27 passes for 270 passes and three touchdowns — all of his completions went to wide receivers Mark Clayton, Mark Duper and Nat Moore. The Dolphins, incidentally, entered that game with the same 8-4 record the 2020 team currently has. The biggest shame of that 1985 season was that a potential Dolphins-Bears Super Bowl rematch was thwarted when the Dolphins suffered a 31-14 loss against New England at the Orange Bowl in the AFC Championship Game.