Legendary Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Dan Marino had some of his finest moments against the New York Jets. Marino’s career-high for passing yards came against the Jets in 1988, but his most memorable moment against Miami’s division rivals came on this day 25 years ago.
In a critical AFC East contest, the Dolphins arrived in the Meadowlands to take on the Jets on Nov. 27, 1994 with a record of 7-4. New York was 6-5, but looked on its way to evening its record with Miami. The Jets raced to a 24-6 lead, but Marino would cap the Miami comeback with some trickery for the ages in a 28-24 win for the Dolphins.
The Jets led 10-0 at halftime, but increased their lead to 18 after a touchdown run by Brad Baxter and a second touchdown pass from Boomer Esiason to tight end Johnny Mitchell with less than four minutes to play in the third quarter. Until that point, all Miami had managed was a 10-yard touchdown pass from Marino to wide receiver Mark Ingram.
Down 18, Marino and Ingram would hook up for a 17-yard touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter and a 28-yard touchdown less than five minutes into the final period to cut the lead to three. After two New York punts and one by Miami, the Dolphins got the ball back at their own 16-yard-line with 2:34 to play.
Marino had been 5-for-6 passing on the final drive, moving Miami inside the Jets’ 10-yard-line with time ticking away. After an 11-yard completion to Ingram set the Dolphins up with goal to go, Marino signaled to his team that he was going to spike the ball and stop the clock, but with less than 30 seconds remaining, he took the snap and fired a back-shoulder throw to Ingram. With most the New York defense surprised, Ingram hauled in the 8-yard touchdown pass in front of Jets’ cornerback Aaron Glenn with 22 seconds remaining for what would be the game-winning touchdown.
The Jets would reach the Miami 35-yard-line on their final drive, but Esiason’s throw went out the back of the end zone on the game’s final play. Miami had improved to 8-4 while the Jets fell to 6-6.
Marino finished the day with 359 yards passing, the four touchdowns to Ingram and two interceptions. Esiason also had a monster day with 382 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Both teams had two receivers go over 100 yards. New York’s Rob Moore finished with a game-high 124 yards receiving while Art Monk added 108 yards receiving. For Miami, Ingram finished with 117 yards receiving on a game-high nine catches. Irving Fryar caught five passes for 103 yards and also caught a 2-point conversion in the win.
The Jets would lose their final four games while the Dolphins went on to finish 10-6 and win the AFC East. Fresh off a season-ending Achilles injury, Marino would lead the Dolphins to four fourth-quarter comeback wins that season. Perhaps none of the finishes were as memorable as the one that took place on this day a quarter century ago.
Mike Ferguson is a contributor for The Grueling Truth, covering Florida sports and sports history. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. To keep up with all of his work, like his Facebook page.