Tuesday, March 20, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: #21

#21: 1985 Week 1: Dolphins 23, Oilers 26 (ρ=1.2759)
Dolphins' season: finished 12-4 with the #2 seed in the AFC, losing in the AFC Championship game to the Patriots.
Oilers' season: finished 5-11. Head coach Hugh Campbell was fired with 2 games left to play.
What happened: quarterback Dan Marino's 159 yards passing, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions earned him one of his lowest passer ratings of his career. After 3 quarters, the Dolphins' offense had managed just 3 field goals, and even with a pick-6 the Dolphins' 16 points weren't enough to stay ahead of the Oilers' anemic offense.
Marino was benched in favor of career backup Don Strock, who managed a go-ahead touchdown for the Dolphins. But the Dolphins defense couldn't hold, and the Oilers came back with an answering touchdown of their own to preserve the win.
Also of note: the Dolphins were the only team to beat the Super Bowl Champion Bears that season.

Next week: another case of a strong offense that can't get started against a bad defense.