For the third straight year, the Miami Dolphins are playing meaningful football games in December with a playoff spot on the line.
On the line this day 30 years ago was a shot at the AFC East crown. The Dolphins trailed the lowly New England Patriots most of the way in the 1992 season finale, but rallied to win in overtime, 16-13.
At 10-5, Miami arrived in Foxborough on Dec. 27, 1992, needing a win and a Buffalo Bills loss to the Houston Oilers to win the division. The Bills and Oilers didn’t play until that evening. The first order of business was beating New England.
The Patriots were just 2-13, but for much of the day, that was hard to tell. Sam Gash’s touchdown helped the Patriots take a 13-3 lead into the locker room. Entering the final quarter, New England led 13-6 and had kept Miami out of the end zone.
More than midway through the final period, the Dolphins mounted a pivotal 9-play, 75-yard drive. Quarterback Dan Marino converted a key third down with an 11-yard strike to Mark Clayton. From there, it was the Bobby Humphrey show.
Humphrey carried on the final three plays, totaling 27 yards. His 1-yard touchdown run drew the Dolphins even at 13 with 2:53 remaining.
New England looked as though it had moved into field goal range after Jeff Carlson found Irving Fryar inside the Miami 30-yard-line. Three plays later, Larry Webster and Chuck Klingbeil combined to sack Carlson for an 11-yard loss to take the Patriots out of field goal range.
The Patriots took the ball first in overtime but went 3-and-out. On Miami’s possession, Marino was 3-for-3 on the drive for 33 yards passing and Humphrey did the rest. After three straight carries by Humphrey, Pete Stoyanovich’s 35-yard field goal — his third of the day — ended the contest.
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With the win, Miami completed the regular season with a record of 11-5. Later that night, Houston defeated the Bills 27-3 to give the Dolphins the division crown.
Buffalo would ultimately top the Dolphins in the AFC Championship at Joe Robbie Stadium to end Miami’s Super Bowl hopes. Throughout the course of the 1992 season, the Dolphins rallied from fourth-quarter deficits to win six times. Their lone overtime victory from that season came on this day three decades ago.