*** DOLPHINS NEWS ***
Nov 30, 1997: -- Dolphins Down Raiders 34-16 --
The Dolphins overcame their longtime jinx today, as they beat
the Oakland Raiders in Oakland by the score of 34-16. The Dolphins
won in impressive fashion, with the offense gaining 378 total yards,
137 rushing yards and controlling the clock for 40:11 of the game.
They also converted 50% of their 3rd downs, scored in all 4 quarters
of the game and Dan Marino was not sacked once.
The defense, not to be outdone, sacked Jeff George 6 times
during the game and on one of those sacks, they forced George to
fumble and recovered that fumble in the endzone for a touchdown. The
Raiders were able to convert only 27% of their 3rd down tries and the
Dolphins were able to contain Napoleon Kaufman well for most of the
The game started with the Dolphins kicking off to the Raiders
and Olindo Mare put the first kick into the endzone, so the Raiders
started at their 20 and promptly went 3 and out after Tim Bowens got
the first sack on Jeff George on 3rd down. Pressure from Jason Taylor
and outstanding coverage downfield forced George to scramble and
Bowens eventually chased him down for a 12 yard loss.
Following a punt, the Dolphins started at their 39, but
couldn't get anything going with a run for no gain and 2 incompletions
from Marino and they punted back to the Raiders, who took over at
their 25. From there, the Raiders put together their most complete
drive of the game with Napoleon Kaufman breaking a 29 yard run and
George completing 3 passes to Tim Brown. They moved down to the
Dolphins' 24, where Tim Brown made a nifty comeback move on Sam
Madison and Madison slipped and that gave Tim Brown all the room he
needed to race untouched 24 yards to the endzone and give the Raiders
a 7-0 lead.
After the kickoff was returned by McPhail to the 31, the
Dolphins put together their own scoring drive. First, Abdul-Jabbar
ran 5 times in a row for 24 yards. Then, after an incompletion and a
poor run, Marino hit Perriman on 3rd down and completed an 11 yard
pass to Parmalee on 4th and 4 to keep the drive alive. Marino moved
the Dolphins down to the 7 on a pass to Perriman, but after McDuffie
dropped a pass and Abdul-Jabbar only gained 1 yard, it looked like
Marino's pass to McPhail was good for a touchdown. However, Webb was
penalized for holding on the play and instead of a touchdown, the
Dolphins settled for a field goal after a pass to McPhail only gained
back 6 of the 10 yards lost on the penalty. This cut the score to
7-3 in favor of the Raiders.
Mare' put the kickoff in the endzone again and after 2 runs
for 11 yards by the Raiders, the 1st quarter ended with the Dolphins
The Raiders opened the 2nd quarter with 2 more runs for 14
more yards, but a first down pass by George at his 44 hit Tim Bowens
in the helmet and after a draw to Williams on 2nd down gained only 2
yards, the Dolphins put up a big rush on 3rd down and forced George to
throw the ball away.
Following the punt, the Dolphins started at their own 27 and
embarked on a 14 play, 73 yard drive. On the drive, which was mainly
driven by Marino's passes, Lamar Thomas caught 2 nice passes for 12
and 19 yards, OJ McDuffie caught an 11 yard strike and Troy Drayton
caught a 14 yard pass. This was a textbook Marino drive, which
carried the Dolphins down to the Oakland 6, where John Bock lost a
block on Chester McGlockton on 1st down and McGlockton took down Karim
Abdul-Jabbar for a 1 yard loss and after an incompletion to Pritchett
on 2nd down, Marino found Charles Jordan all alone on a post pattern
from the left slot in the middle of the field for a touchdown and a
10-7 Dolphin lead.
The Raiders got the ball back at their 24 after a 23 yard
kickoff return and gained 21 yards running the ball out to their 45,
but George overthrew Tim Brown deep down the sideline on 3rd down and
the Raiders punted back to the Dolphins.
The Dolphins started the next series from their 33 after
Jordan returned the punt from the 15 to the 33. From there, the
Dolphins ran the ball 3 times for 23 yards to the Raider 44, where
Marino found Charles Jordan again on a deep slant over the middle.
Jordan had beaten the cornerback and one of the safeties misjudged the
angle on Jordan, running into the cornerback. Marino hit him
perfectly in stride and Jordan outran the other safety to the endzone,
getting his 2nd touchdown of the game and expanding the lead to 17-7.
The Raiders got the ball back with 2 minutes left to go in the
half at their 14, but after Tim Brown caught a short Jeff George pass
and turned it into a 35 yard gain by dodging Dolphins' tacklers, the
Raiders had good field position. They moved down to the Dolphins' 23
yardline, but 3 blitzes in a row put pressure on Jeff George and
forced incompletions on 2 passes and then got the sack on 3rd down as
Jerry Wilson used his speed to sack George at the 29. The Raiders
then tried a field goal on 4th and 16 from the Dolphins' 29, but the
ball sailed well wide and the score remained 17-7 in favor of the
Dolphins at the end of the first half.
The second half opened with the Dolphins taking Sam Madison
out of the starting lineup and putting George Teague at free safety
while moving Calvin Jackson back to cornerback. They said it was
because Madison had turned his ankle, but I believe it was because
Madison was having trouble with Tim Brown. Madison did play in the
nickel package in the 2nd half and Tim Brown only caught 2 passes in
the 2nd half for 39 yards, so the change must have helped the
The Dolphins received the second half opening kickoff and
started at their 21, but could only gain 9 yards and punted after just
3 downs. The Raiders took over at their 22, but after a holding
penalty and a 26 yard screen pass to Kaufman, could get nothing going
themselves and after a sack by Shane Burton on 3rd down, were also
forced to punt.
The Dolphins started at their 38 after Jordan's punt return
and Abdul-Jabbar gained 10 yards on first down to the 48. However,
the Dolphins again faltered and on 3rd down and 6, Marino was forced
to roll out under pressure. He tried to throw to Abdul-Jabbar down
the field, but Drayton jumped up between the two and tried to catch
the ball. However, the ball slipped through his hands and was
deflected behind Abdul-Jabbar just enough that Abdul-Jabbar bobbled
the ball into the hands of the Raiders' Lorenzo Lynch for an
The Raiders started at the Dolphins' 48 and after one 22 yard
pass to Tim Brown moved them to the Dolphins' 26, pressure from the
Dolphins forced two incompletions and Sam Madison knocked away a ball
intended for Tim Brown on 3rd down and the Raiders were forced to
settle for a field goal that cut the lead to 17-10.
The Dolphins took the kickoff and with the momentum swinging
back to the Raiders, Marino took the Dolphins down the field on a 9
play, 79 yard drive. He hit Jordan on a beautiful sideline pattern
for 23 yards and on another play, he tried to hit McPhail, but the
ball went through McPhail's hands into the arms of a waiting Charles
Jordan for 17 more yards. This drive was assisted by 2 pretty blatant
pass interference calls on the Raiders and ended when Karim
Abdul-Jabbar ran around the right end for his 14th rushing touchdown
of the year. This gave the Dolphins a 24-10 lead.
The Raiders returned the kickoff only to the 18 and after a
short run by Kaufman, the Raiders were penalized on an attempted pass
on 2nd down for holding. This pushed them back to a 2nd and 18 at
their 10. On this next play, Zach Thomas blitzed and after knocking
over Kaufman, got to George just over the goal line in the endzone.
As Zach took him down, George dropped the ball and Tim Bowens, who was
also applying pressure from the outside, fell on the free ball for a
Dolphins' touchdown and a 31-10 lead.
After Mare's kickoff went out of bounds, the Raiders started
at their 40, but Calvin Jackson knocked away a deep pass to Jett and
the Raiders went 3 and out. The Dolphins took over after the punt at
their 24 and the third quarter ended with the Dolphins driving the
ball from their 34.
The fourth quarter opened with the Dolphins facing a 1st and
20 after a holding penalty and after they couldn't get the yards back,
the punted to the Raiders, who took over at their 23. From there, on
1st down, George hit James Jett for 50 yards deep down the middle
after Jett got behind double coverage deep. Then, on 1st and 10 from
the Dolphins' 27, Jett got behind Teague and Wooden deep and even
though George was buried by 3 Dolphins' defenders, he managed to get
the ball to Jett in the endzone for a touchdown and cut the score to
31-16. However, the Raiders' kicker badly shanked the extra point
attempt and it sailed wide.
Jerris McPhail returned the kickoff to the 30, but Karim
Abdul-Jabbar fumbled his first carry from scrimmage and the Raiders
recovered at the Dolphins' 30. Now, with 11:40 remaining and the
Raiders down by 15 points, they had a 1st and 10 deep in Miami
territory. However, this time the Dolphins covered James Jett well on
1st down and Tim Brown dropped a short pass on 2nd down. After the
Dolphins tipped away a 3rd down pass to Harvey Williams, the Raiders
went for it on 4th down, but a bull rush by Trace Armstrong went right
through Rickey Dudley and Armstrong sacked George for a 12 yard loss.
The Dolphins took over at their 42 and a quick slant to
McDuffie was the only pass play on this drive as the Dolphins ran the
ball 5 times in a row down to the Raiders' 23 yard line. Parmalee got
most of the carries on this drive and gained 22 yards on 5 attempts.
However, Perriman dropped a pass on 3rd down and Mare then hit a 42
yard field goal - the longest of his career - to push the score to
At this point, the Raiders got the ball after the kickoff at
their 20, and moved to the Dolphins 45 on passes to Dudley, Jett and
Brown, but Sam Madison made a good defensive read on George's first
down pass to Tim Brown and stepped in front of it, getting an
interception and returning it to the Raider 49. Now, with 4:44
remaining in the game, the Dolphins drove down to the Raider 26 and
attempted another field goal, but a bad snap by Jeff Buckey forced a
low kick which was blocked. The Raiders recovered at their 38, but
with only 1:11 remaining, elected to run the ball 3 times and the game
ended with the Dolphins beating the Raiders 34-16.
Overall, I was very pleased with the Dolphins' performance in
this game. Offense, defense and special teams had good days today and
even though there were a few costly mistakes (such as a holding
penalty negating a touchdown or Abdul-Jabbar's fumble), the Dolphins
played through them and came out the clear winner.
This game was a good comeback game after a difficult loss in
New England. Now back in a tie for first in the AFC East, the
Dolphins are in much better shape to get into the playoffs. It's
beginning to look like it will come down to the final game against New
England for the AFC East division title.
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