Miami Dolphins at 50: Top 10 Games
By Dan Heaning
No. 5 – 1982 AFC Championship: Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets; Jan. 23, 1983
What part of the Dolphins defeat the New York Jets to go to the Super Bowl doesn’t belong in the top five greatest games in franchise history?
After avenging “The Epic” defeat against the Chargers in the previous round by a 34-13 score, the Dolphins didn’t find the No. 1 seeded Los Angeles Raiders awaiting them.
Instead, the Jets pulled off a 17-14 upset giving Miami home field advantage for the AFC Championship game.
Some games on this list have been offensive masterpieces, this was the exact opposite. Both teams combined for nine turnovers, 19 punts, and 337 total offensive yards.
Both teams threw interceptions on their opening drives and the game remained scoreless for quite some time.
The Dolphins had a grand opportunity after Miami cornerback Don McNeal blocked a Chuck Ramsay punt. Miami got the ball on the New York 20, but Woodley threw a pick with time running down. This ensured the game would remain a scoreless tie going into halftime.
Someone finally scored in the second half. A.J. Duhe picked off Jets quarterback Richard Todd early on in the third quarter.
After nearly losing the ball on a Nathan fumble, on which he was ruled down by contact, the Dolphins converted a third and three play with a 13-yard pass to Duriel Harris. But Jets safety Darrol Ray argued that the pass was incomplete and got a little snippy. As a result, he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and the Dolphins found themselves on the Jets seven yard line. Woody Bennett scored on the very next play to give the Dolphins the 7-0 lead.
A.J. Duhe blew the game open in the fourth quarter. Todd looked for a short pass to his running back, but Duhe’s pass rush got right into Todd’s passing lane. Duhe jumped up and intercepted the ball. He ran his third interception of the game into the endzone for the contest’s last score.
From that point on, New York was finished as the Jets didn’t even come close to scoring for the rest of the tilt.
While the offensive stats are hard to look at in this one, Duhe’s three picks along with interceptions by Blackwood and Gerald Small were the story of the game. Especially Duhe who had intercepted two passes in his career prior to the tilt. Duhe’s performance set up one touchdown and then scored one himself. Thus completing what is likely the best game of the linebacker’s career.