Marino Outguns Strock as Dolphins Win, 38-31
Dan Marino was No. 1 and Don Strock was No. 2 in Miami for 5 seasons, and that was the way it turned out again Monday night.
Marino passed for 4 touchdowns and 404 yards, including a 46-yard bomb to Fred Banks in the final minute that set up the winning touchdown, and the Miami Dolphins ended a 5-game losing streak with a 38-31 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Strock, released last August after 15 seasons with the Dolphins, came on for injured Bernie Kosar and threw touchdown passes of 3 and 2 yards to Reggie Langhorne in the final 6 1/2 minutes to tie the score, 31-31.
“He still has it,” Marino said. “He showed he can still play in this league.”
Kosar suffered a sprained left knee in the fourth quarter when linebacker John Offerdahl hit him as the quarterback released a pass. Kosar is listed as questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Houston Oilers.
The Browns (9-6) can clinch an AFC wild-card playoff berth by beating the Oilers.
After Strock’s second touchdown pass with 59 seconds left, Marino moved Miami 65 yards in 4 plays. Banks, a former Brown, beat Hanford Dixon along the sideline for the big gainer to the 1-yard line, and Lorenzo Hampton scored on the next play with 37 seconds left.
“I gave them an opportunity,” said Marino, who threw 3 interceptions, “and I had to make the play at the end. Freddie did a great job of getting open.”
The Dolphins (6-9) ended their longest losing streak since 1967.
Marino completed 30 of 50 passes, set a National Football League record with his fourth 4,000-yard season, and broke a team record for career touchdown passes. He threw scoring passes of 11 and 9 yards to Mark Clayton, 2 yards to Jim Jensen and 2 yards to Hampton.
“It makes me feel a little bit better about our football team,” Miami Coach Don Shula said. “It’s been a tough 5 weeks, probably as tough as I’ve had. I never gave up on this team, and the team never gave up on themselves.
“I don’t think Dan wanted to be outdone. Strock came in and did a helluva job. I’m glad he did a good job and we won.”
After Kosar was hurt, Strock concluded an 80-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Langhorne that cut Miami’s lead to 31-24.
Cleveland got the ball back with 3:29 left when Felix Wright returned Marino’s third interception 26 yards to the Miami 38-yard line. Strock set up the tying touchdown by hitting Brian Brennan for a 25-yard gain on fourth and 5.
Strock tried to rally Cleveland again in the final seconds. The game ended as his desperation bomb fell incomplete at the Miami 15.
“It was different (playing Miami), but I’m a competitor and I just made the best of it,” Strock said. “I knew Miami would be tough at home on Monday night. They always have been during the 15 years I was here.”
Cleveland’s other scores came on Kosar’s 2-yard run, Earnest Byner’s first touchdown reception of the season, a 39-yarder from Kosar, and Matt Bahr’s 33-yard field goal.