Combining the countdown to the start of the Dolphins regular season with the best plays in franchise history
To help count down the days to the start of the Miami Dolphins regular season last year, we marked each day with the corresponding jersey number and came up with the three best players to wear that number.
This year, we’re counting down to the start of the regular season with a countdown of the top 100 plays in Dolphins history.
Given that the Dolphins have played 849 regular season games and 41 more in the playoffs, it’s an awfully difficult task to narrow things down to 100 plays and then rank them. The plays selected were ranked on the basis of difficulty, uniqueness, immediate and long-lasting impact and historical significance.
The countdown initially appeared in Dolphin Digest in 2019 but has been updated.
We continue with No. 4:
No. 4: Jay Fiedler’s game-winning TD run vs. Oakland in 2001
Setting the stage: In terms of atmosphere at the Dolphins’ current stadium, under whatever name, there probably hasn’t been a game that matched what happened on Sept. 23, 2001. The place was electric for more than football reasons: It was the return of the NFL after a one-week absence in the aftermath of the events of 9/11. It only made things better that the Dolphins put together one of the best finishes of the 2000s against the Oakland Raiders on that day.
The play: The Dolphins faced that day an Oakland team that was a year removed from reaching the AFC Championship Game and they trailed 15-10 when they decided to punt with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter. The defense produced the three-and-out necessary to stay in the game and the offense then began its final drive at the 20 after a touchback. After converting a fourth-and-3 from the Raiders 18, the Dolphins moved to a third-and-2 with 12 seconds left. After faking a pitch to the left, quarterback Jay Fiedler rolled to his right and then juked inside a Raiders defender at about the 7-yard line and made a beeline toward the end zone. With a couple of defenders converging on him, Fiedler dove head-first into the end zone with the ball extended in front of him, scoring one of the most dramatic touchdowns in franchise history. The picture of Fiedler with the ball tucked in his right arm and his left arm extended with a fist in celebration made the cover of the next issue of Sports Illustrated.
The No. 18 Greatest Play: Cleo Lemon’s game-winning TD pass to Greg Camarillo in OT vs. Baltimore in 2007
The No. 13 Greatest Play: Lamar Smith’s game-winning TD run in OT vs. Indianapolis in the 2000 playoffs
The No. 9 Greatest Play: Trace Armstrong’s game-clinching sack-strip vs. Buffalo in the 1998 playoffs
Alain Poupart has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @PoupartNFL. Feel free to submit questions every Friday for the All Dolphins mailbag.