One of just three members of the franchise to have his number retired, quarterback Bob Griese spent his entire 14-year career as a member of the Miami Dolphins.
On this day 55 years ago, he picked up his first win as a starting quarterback and engineered his first-game winning drive. Griese’s 31-yard touchdown toss to Howard Twilley with just over a minute remaining served as the game-winner as the Dolphins rallied past the Buffalo Bills, 17-14.
The Dolphins were just 1-8 and had lost eight straight as they arrived at the Orange Bowl on Nov. 26, 1967. Miami led 10-0 early, but a touchdown pass and a touchdown run by Buffalo quarterback Jack Kemp in the second quarter looked as though it would be enough for a Bills victory.
A timely stop inside the 10-yard-line by the Buffalo defense also looked to loom large. Three plays later, however, Dick Westmoreland’s third interception of the day gave the Dolphins new life as they began the decisive drive at the Bills’ 23-yard-line.
Despite the favorable field position, the Dolphins looked dead in the water. Facing 4th-and-18 from the 31, Miami needed a miracle. It found one in a perfectly placed Griese pass.
In between a slew of Buffalo defenders, Griese hit Twilley in stride. Twilley waltzed into the end zone as the Dolphins had taken their first and only lead of the second half with 1:01 to play. A turnover on downs on the ensuing drive preserved the win for the Dolphins.
Griese overcame three interceptions to finish with 222 yards passing and the decisive touchdown. An 8-time Pro Bowler, Griese would finish his career with a record of 92-56-3 as a starter in addition to winning a pair of Super Bowls. His first-ever victory as a starter came with an improbable touchdown pass on this day 55 years ago.