Over his illustrious 17-year career, Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino had plenty of magical moments. On this day 30 years, Marino was hardly at his best but came through when it mattered.
Marino overcame three interceptions and a concussion to engineer a game-winning march. His late touchdown pass to Fred Banks lifted Miami to a thrilling 19-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Setting the Stage
Miami was looking to start 3-0 as it arrived in the Kingdome on Sept. 27, 1992. The Dolphins had not started 3-0 since 1984.
Fresh off a win over the New England Patriots, Seattle was looking to even its record at 1-2. With time ticking away, the Seahawks were one stop away from doing just that.
Miami Finds a Way
Through three quarters, the Dolphins had managed just three Pete Stoyanovich field goals as they trailed 10-9. Early in the fourth, his fourth kick put Miami back in front, 12-10.
Less than four minutes later, however, the Seahawks regained the lead. Following Terry Wooden’s interception of Marino — Seattle’s third — John L. Williams scored from four yards out to put the Seahawks back in front, 17-12.
After a Miami turnover and a Seattle punt, the Dolphins took over at their own 20 with 6:35 to play. Four Marino completions to four different receivers moved the Dolphins inside the Seahawks 35-yard-line, but after two consecutive misfires, the Miami quarterback was down and forced to come out of the game.
Backup Scott Mitchell made the most of his opportunity with an 18-yard strike to Tony Martin on 3rd-and-10. After a short run from Mark Higgs, Marino returned while battling a concussion.
Marino misfired on his first throw upon entering, but not on his second. Facing 3rd-and-9 from the 15, Marino lofted one to a streaking Banks. Banks was able to corral the catch and get both feet in before falling out of the end zone.
Despite the three picks, Marino finished with 254 yards passing. Seattle got two more possessions, but posed no serious threat.
Kelly Stouffer found Louis Clark for Seattle’s first touchdown of the day. Bryan Cox and David Griggs each had two sacks for a Miami defense that yielded just 221 total yards. Cox added an interception while Griggs tallied a fumble recovery.
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The heartbreaking loss for Seattle would serve as a sign of things to come. The Seahawks finished the year just 2-14.
For Miami, on the other hand, the 1992 season would be one where it found a way to win. The Dolphins started 6-0 en route to an 11-5 finish and appearance in the AFC Championship.
Throughout the course of the year, the Dolphins rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to win six times. One of those occasions came on this day three decades ago.
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.