Raiders and Dolphins Played Some Classics

Over the rich history of the Oakland, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas Raiders, there have been some amazing classic football games.

Much like the Pittsburgh Steelers, who the Las Vegas Raiders beat on Sunday, the Silver and Black have a storied history with the Miami Dolphins, who they will host this Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Like the Steelers, the Raiders don’t play the Dolphins every year because they are not in the same division of the American Football Conference, and the Raiders lead the all-time series, 20-19-1. However, Miami has won seven of the last eight meetings dating to 2007.

That includes last season when quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hit wide receiver Mack Hollins with a 34-yard pass. The Raiders were flagged for roughing Fitzpatrick on the play, allowing Jason Sanders to kick a 44-yard field goal with one second left to give Miami a 26-25 victory.

However, like with the Steelers, the most compelling games these teams played came during the 1970s, when the Raiders and Dolphins were two of the powers in the National Football League. Miami won Super Bowls VII and VIII, and the Raiders captured Super Bowl XI in addition to falling short of the ultimate game a heart-breaking six times by losing the AFC Championship Game.

The Raiders did have a 5-3 overall record, including a 2-1 mark in the playoffs, against Miami.  

In the first round of the playoffs in 1970, quarterback Daryle Lamonica threw two touchdown passes, including an 82-yarder to wide receiver Rod Sherman in the final minutes to give the Raiders a 21-14 victory at the Oakland Coliseum.

Lamonica outdueled Bob Griese, who also threw for two touchdowns, but had one of his passes intercepted and returned 50 yards for a touchdown by the great cornerback Willie Brown.

A week later, the Baltimore Colts defeated the Raiders, 27-13, in the AFC Championship Game and beat the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, in Super Bowl V.

Three years later, the Raiders broke the Dolphins’ 18-game winning streak, 12-7, in the second game of the season on four field goals by George Blanda at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, where the game was moved because the Oakland Athletics were playing in the World Series at the Oakland Coliseum.

The Dolphins got a measure of revenge later in the season when fullback Larry Csonka rushed for 117 yards and three touchdowns to power Miami to a 27-10 victory over the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game at the Orange Bowl.

The Dolphins went on to win their second straight Super Bowl by defeating the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7.

Miami was going for three straight Super Bowl titles the following season when the Raiders stunned them, 28-26, on Kenny (Snake) Stabler’s famed six-yard “Sea of Hands” touchdown pass to running back Clarence Davis with 26 seconds left in the first-round playoff game.

However, in the AFC Championship Game the following week, the Raiders lost to the Steelers, 24-13, in Oakland as Franco Harris rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns, both in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh then beat Minnesota, 16-6, in Super Bowl IX.

That was the last time Oakland and Miami met in the playoffs until the 2000 season, but the Raiders ended the Dolphins’ 31-game winning streak at the Orange Bowl, 31-21, with the highlight being a 102-yard kickoff return by Harold Hart.

In an interesting side note to the series, Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula of the Dolphins was 0-7 against the Raiders in California (0-6 in Oakland and 0-1 in Los Angeles) before Miami beat the Raiders, 24-14, in 1988 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

In that 2000 playoff game, Coach Jon Gruden’s Raiders routed the Dolphins, 27-0, but lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 16-3, in the AFC Championship Game the next week, and the Ravens went on to rout the New York Giants, 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.

As they prepare to meet this week, the Raiders and Dolphins are both trying to get back to those glory days.

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