Dolphins Get Good Start, First Win
Coach Don Shula liked the way his Miami Dolphins came out of the starting blocks, although he conceded their play was inconsistent in a 24-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers Sunday.
“We needed one to get started; 0-2 was tough to live with,” Shula said. “We started out like a house afire, did some good things, but they got back into the game with the two touchdowns.
“We looked the way I would want my football team to look at the beginning. Then they started to whittle away at us. The second half we just didn’t do much.”
Dan Marino threw two touchdown passes and the Dolphins’ special teams took advantage of Packer mistakes as Miami (1-2) built an early lead.
Green Bay Coach Lindy Infante complained about his team’s lackluster first period.
“For three quarters, we played competitive football,” he said. “We just spotted them 17 first-quarter points. It’s a broken record for us, too many mistakes too early in the game.”
Marino, who became the 45th National Football League quarterback to throw for more than 20,000 yards in a career, completed 22 of 33 for 261 yards and touchdown passes of 25 and 4 yards. He also had two interceptions.
Green Bay (0-3) moved the ball well in the air despite four sacks. Starting quarterback Randy Wright hit 18 of 23 passes for 184 yards before going out in the third quarter with bruised ribs. Backup Don Majkowski replaced him and finished 11 of 20 for 76 yards.
Neither team ran well. Miami had 98 rushing yards and Green Bay managed only 78.
The Dolphins, who recorded the 200th regular-season victory in franchise history, moved the ball easily in the first half, and Reggie Roby didn’t punt until midway through the second quarter.
The Dolphins’ special teams blocked a punt and returned another 29 yards, both plays resulting in first-half touchdowns.
Neither team moved the ball effectively in the second half after Majkowski’s first drive resulted in a field goal.
But in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins had to stop Green Bay twice on key fourth-down plays at the Miami 22-yard line. A delay of game penalty nullified William Judson’s breakup of Majkowski’s pass to Albert Bell. Then, Majkowski’s pass to Walter Stanley was incomplete.
The Dolphins took over and, facing a critical third-and-9 situation, Marino connected with Mark Clayton for 10 yards and a first down, then ran out the clock.