For the first time in six years, the Miami Dolphins are in the playoffs.
As the Dolphins get set to take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon in the AFC Wild Card, the burning question lies at the game’s most important position. With Tua Tagovailoa in concussion protocols and Teddy Bridgewater nursing a broken finger, it’s unclear who will get the call behind center.
What we do know is that whether it’s Tagovailoa, Bridgewater, Skylar Thompson or Mike Glennon, whoever starts at quarterback will be doing so for the first time in the playoffs as a member of the Miami Dolphins. Before that happens, here’s a look back on how quarterbacks have fared in their first postseason start for the Dolphins:
Bob Griese (1970)
Result: Lost to Oakland Raiders in AFC Divisional Playoff, 21-14
Stats: 13-for-27 passing, 155 yards, two touchdown passes, interception
Overview: The first quarterback selected by the Miami Dolphins in the NFL Draft fittingly was the first one to make a postseason start for the franchise. Unfortunately, that did not result in a victory. Griese, however, tossed touchdown passes to Paul Warfield and Willie Richardson. Griese fumbled twice in the hard-fought loss in Oakland, but Miami recovered each time.
Earl Morrall (1972)
Result: Beat Cleveland Browns in AFC Divisional Playoff, 20-14
Stats: 6-for-13 passing, 88 yards
Overview: Earl Morrall was 38 years old and had already started a Super Bowl for the Baltimore Colts when he made his first playoff start as a member of the Miami Dolphins. Morrall was sacked four times and far from stellar, but connected on two passes to Paul Warfield for a total of 50 yards on the decisive drive. With less than five minutes remaining, Jim Kiick scored the winning touchdown as Miami rallied past the Cleveland Browns in the Orange Bowl, 20-14. The Dolphins’ ground attack finished with 198 yards.
David Woodley (1981)
Result: Lost in overtime to San Diego Chargers in AFC Divisional Playoff, 41-38
Stats: 2-for-5 passing, 20 yards, interception, fumble lost
Overview: David Woodley’s first playoff start would be a short one in what would be one of the most memorable games in NFL postseason history. Against the San Diego Chargers, Woodley struggled early as the Dolphins fell behind 24-0 at the Orange Bowl. Miami head coach Don Shula turned to Don Strock who rallied Miami to a fourth-quarter lead before falling in overtime. Despite the struggles, Woodley bounced back the following postseason to lead the Dolphins to Super Bowl XVII.
Dan Marino (1983)
Result: Lost to Seattle Seahawks in AFC Divisional Playoff, 27-20
Stats: 15-for-25 passing, 193 yards, two touchdown passes, two interceptions
Overview: The only rookie to start a playoff game for the Miami Dolphins, Dan Marino didn’t have his finest performance, but threw touchdown passes to Dan Johnson and Mark Duper. He also helped put the Dolphins in the lead with a short touchdown drive with less than four minutes to go. Running back Curt Warner, however, answered with a touchdown of his own for the Seattle Seahawks with less than two minutes to play to go up 24-20. Unfortunately for Miami, Fulton Walker fumbled on each of the next two Seattle kickoffs and Marino never saw the football again.
Jay Fiedler (2000)
Result: Beat Indianapolis Colts in overtime in AFC Wild Card, 23-17
Stats: 19-for-34 passing, 185 yards, touchdown pass, three interceptions, seven rushes, 43 yards
Overview: On a day where Lamar Smith rushed for 209 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, Jay Fiedler overcame three early interceptions to lead the Miami Dolphins from an early 14-0 deficit. Far from sharp, Fiedler’s late touchdown pass to Jed Weaver ultimately forced overtime. After a missed field goal by Indianapolis Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt, Fiedler was 3-for-4 for 26 yards on the final drive before Smith scored from 17 yards out to end the contest.
Chad Pennington (2008)
Result: Lost to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Wild Card, 27-9
Stats: 25-for-38 passing, 252 yards, touchdown pass, four interceptions
Overview: A longtime member of the New York Jets, Chad Pennington was a big reason for one of the greatest turnarounds in NFL history. In his first season with the Dolphins, Pennington helped transform a 1-15 team into the AFC East champions. In 2008, Pennington led the NFL in completion percentage, threw 19 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. In the AFC Wild Card Game against the Baltimore Ravens, however, the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year was intercepted four times. Pennington did find Ronnie Brown for Miami’s lone touchdown, but little else went right as the Dolphins were handled at home in their first playoff game in seven years.
Matt Moore (2016)
Result: Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers in AFC Wild Card, 30-12
Stats: 29-for-36 passing, 289 yards, touchdown pass, interception, two fumbles lost
Overview: Forced into action after a late-season injury to Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore made the most of his opportunity with the Miami Dolphins in 2016. In the AFC Wild Card Game at Heinz Field, Moore showed tremendous toughness following a big hit from Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree, but not much went right for the Dolphins. Moore put up decent numbers, but that was overshadowed by three turnovers. Moore’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams with less than six minutes to play remains Miami’s last playoff touchdown.