Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Looking Back...

Raiders Come Back to 'Squish the Fish'
December 2, 1984

WR Dokie Williams gets open deep for a 75-yard touchdown play.


The Miami Dolphins under head coach Don Shula were tough to beat. The Miami Dolphins at home in the Orange Bowl were very tough to beat. And the Miami Dolphins with Dan Marino firing are especially tough to beat.

On Sunday afternoon December 2, 1984, in the muggy confines of the aging Orange Bowl, Dan Marino fired more productively than any quarterback the Raiders had faced in their 25-year history.

Marino, then only in his second NFL season, completed 35 of 57 pass attempts that afternoon for 470 yards, the most ever allowed thru passing by the Raiders since the franchise first fielded a team in 1960. No quarterback in the 374 league games that the Raiders had played from September 11, 1960 through November 25, 1984, had ever moved his club 470 yards by passing against the Silver and Black. Not Pro Football Hall of Fame members like Roger Staubach, Joe Namath, Lenny Dawson, Fran Tarkenton, Jonny Unitas, Dan Fouts, Terry Bradshaw or other great pro passers.


Raiders QB Marc Wilson barks out the signals at the line of scrimmage.


Marino, then only in his second NFL season, completed 35 of 57 pass attempts that afternoon for 470 yards, the most ever allowed thru passing by the Raiders since the franchise first fielded a team in 1960. No quarterback in the 374 league games that the Raiders had played from September 11, 1960 through November 25, 1984, had ever moved his club 470 yards by passing against the Silver and Black. Not Pro Football Hall of Fame members like Roger Staubach, Joe Namath, Lenny Dawson, Fran Tarkenton, Jonny Unitas, Dan Fouts, Terry Bradshaw or other great pro passers.

But, you know what? These 1984 Raiders- defending World Champions of Professional Football- gave up 470 yards passing to Marino and the Dolphins and beat them by 11 points, 45 to 34. This classic shootout saw a total of 48 first downs, 919 yards of offense, 711 yards on pass receptions, 81 passes thrown, 137 yards in penalties, 79 points scored and four scoring plays of over 50 yards each. Plus a heroic goal–line stand, a pair of 100-yard individual pass reception games, a 100 yard rushing game, a 100-yard interception game, quarterback sacks, big hits and all the trimmings of the year’s best television game.

As the featured NBC Sports game of the day, kickoff time had been set back to 4 p.m. on a humid, windy 80-degree afternoon in Miami to be the second game of the TV doubleheader on both coasts. The Raiders won the coin toss and chose to receive.

On the very first play, Raider quarterback Marc Wilson opened the game with an eight-yard pass to halfback Kenny King. Three hours and 43 minutes later Wilson would bring the AFC showcase to a close by kneeling on one knee to run out the clock.


Future Hall of Famer Mike Haynes (22) returned an interception 97 yards for a TD.


After the first punt, the Dolphins took over on their own 35. Dan Marino started a march by completing passes to his talented wide receivers Mark Clayton and Mark Duper. Then, with a third-and-goal from the Raider three, he threw for Duper in the left flat and found Raider corner Mike Haynes there instead.

Haynes picked off the pass at three, juked once, headed down the right sideline, picked up an escort from safety Mike Davis and sped a Raider-record 97 yards with the interception to put the Raiders on the scoreboard first, 7-0.

Marino came out firing on Miami’s next possession. Six completions later he hit Jimmy Cefalo on the left edge of the end zone from four yards out to tie the score. With this touchdown pass, the brilliant former University of Pittsburgh star had set a new NFL record. In only his second pro season, and his first full season as a starter, Marino had now thrown his 37th touchdown pass in one season- and still had over 47 minutes to play in this game plus two more games left on his 1984 league schedule.

A 47-yard strike from Marc Wilson to wide receiver Dokie Williams quickly propelled the Raiders goalward. But then a fumble brought an even quicker end to the drive as the first quarter ended.

In the second quarter, an interception return gave Miami the ball on the Raiders six, and a six-yard burst by Tony Nathan put Miami ahead by six as big defensive end Sean Jones blocked the extra-point kick. The scoreboard now read: Dolphins 13- Raiders 7.

A 42-yard kickoff return by Cle Montgomery put the Raiders back in business. Marc Wilson rolled right and hit wide receiver Malcolm Barnwell along that sideline for 19 yards. Marcus Allen swept left for 15. Then Wilson passed to Allen for 10 down to the Miami 11-yard line. Allen then popped thru between blocks by right guard Mickey Marvin and right tackle Henry Lawrence to put the Raiders back on top, 14- 13.

Later in the second quarter, the Raiders pulled ahead, 17-13 on a Chris Bahr 44-yard field goal. The Dolphins then began a march downfield with three minutes left in the half. A pass interference penalty kept the drive alive. A sudden rainstorm then, struck, and colorful umbrellas blossomed throughout the Orange Bowl like spring flowers.


As night fell at the Orange Bowl, DE Howie Long looked to put Dolphins’ QB Dan Marino’s lights out.

Another interference call put Miami on the Raider one-yard line with 45 seconds to play. Big Pete Johnson pounded over left guard on the first-and-goal, but Lyle Alzado stopped him dead in his tracks. Next, Johnson went right and a group of Raider defenders, led by corner back Lester Hayes, rose up and stopped him just inside the one. Finally, with nine seconds left, Miami coach Don Shula called his last time out to review his options. Disdaining the field goal, coach Shula chose to go for the TD and the halftime lead. Woody Bennett powered into the pole behind his left tackle- and went absolutely nowhere. Mike Davis, Howie Long and a wild bunch in Silver and Black said, “no way.” As the gun went off, Miami was still one foot from the goal line, and the Raiders were still ahead, 17-13.

But 30 minutes of football, 505 yards of offense and seven touchdowns were still to come!

On the Raiders first second-half possession, a pair of Marc Wilson passes to tight end Todd Christensen and runs by Kenny King and Frank Hawkins put the ball in close. A pass to tight end Dave Casper from seven yards out added seven points. Raiders 24-Dolphins 13.

Just five minutes later, the Dolphins closed the gap to four points again as Marino went deep to Clayton for 64 yards and the score. Amazingly, Clayton fumbled the ball while running all alone in the clear, but the ball bounced right back to him, and he continued in stride for the touchdown.

On their next possession, Miami took the lead-temporarily- when Marino finished an 83-yard march with a 10-yard scoring toss to Clayton along the right sideline. The final quarter would open with Miami ahead 27-24. But head coach Tom Flores and his tough band of Raiders were long on comeback courage though short on time.

With 9:07 left, the Raiders took over on their own 25. One play was all it took to cover the 75 yards ahead. Marc Wilson scrambled to his right to avoid a rush, fired on the move down the right sideline to a flying Dokie Williams, who went untouched for the score. The Raiders were back on top- for good, finally- 31 to 27.

Defensive tackle Bill Pickel got a quarterback sack on the next Miami possession. Cornerback Mike Haynes recorded his second pass interception, returning this one 54 yards down the right sideline to the Dolphins 10-yard line. Three plays later, Marcus Allen took a pitchout wide right for six yards and the touchdown. Raiders 38 – Dolphins 27.

Miami never quit. Despite defensive pressure from Howie Long, Lyle Alzado, Sean Jones, Reggie Kinlaw, Bill Pickel, Greg Townsend and others who battled heat, humidity and fatigue as well as disciplined pass protectors, Marino threw and threw and threw some more. A nine-yard pass to Duper again cut the Raider lead to just four points, 38-34.

Raider defensive back Odis McKiney recovered the Miami on-sides kickoff attempt on the Raiders 44 with 2:09 left on the game clock. After Frank Hawkins gained three inside, the two-minute warning stopped the clock. When time resumed, Marcus Allen was held to a one-yard gain sweeping right, and Miami took its first time out with 1:52 left. With two time outs remaining, the Dolphins could get the ball back if they stopped the Raiders on the third-and-six at the Raider 48. But these Raiders showed the Dolphins, the sold-out Orange Bowl crowd and the huge national television audience that this night they would not be stopped!

Marcus Allen took the handoff from Marc Wilson, started right, cut back behind tackle Henry Lawrence, leaped over a defender and headed for the goal line. Fifty-two yards later, Allen had his third TD of the game and the Raiders had their tenth win of the 1984 season, enroute to another playoff appearance. Tom Flores was now 5-0 in games against Don Shula.

A tired, weary, but proud band of Raiders had learned firsthand why Dan Marino would one day be a Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate. And a television audience of over 40 million had again learned to respect the Raiders. Home or away, these warriors in Silver and Black continually defied the odds to remain professional sports’ winningest team.

From Raiders.com

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