Dolphins Defeat Patriots Behind Marino's Heroics

From Associated Press

Dan Marino did something unusual when he scrambled out of the pocket.

Then Marino did something more familiar--he threw a game-winning touchdown pass.

Marino's seven-yard touchdown pass to Tony Paige with 1:46 left Sunday gave the Miami Dolphins a 27-24 victory over the New England Patriots.

The game-winning pass salvaged an inconsistent day for Marino, who is eighth in NFL history with 222 touchdown passes. Marino completed 22 of 34 passes for 255 yards, but he also threw three interceptions, two of which led to New England touchdowns.

"I'd have really felt bad if we'd lost because I made some mistakes," Marino said. "I had a lot of time to throw. I just made some bad decisions, real bad decisions."

Dolphin partisans could not question Marino's decision to roll out on the winning play that broke opening-day streaks of five losses by Miami and six wins by New England.

Paige, whose blocking helped second-year pro Sammie Smith run for a career-high 159 yards and one touchdown, cut from the left and caught the ball in the middle of the end zone for Marino's second touchdown pass. It only would have tied the game had it not been for a bad decision by New England's coaches.

The Patriots led, 24-20, when Jason Staurovsky lined up for a 41-yard field goal attempt with 10:47 left. He made a 42-yarder earlier. But this time, New England tried a fake, and holder Marc Wilson's run was far short of the first down.

Patriots Coach Rod Rust admitted the decision was "a mistake. We obviously thought it was there. It was a plain mistake, that's all.

"The mistake was the call, not the execution."

Marino's heroics overshadowed a strong game by New England's Steve Grogan, the NFL's oldest quarterback at age 37, who completed 17 of 28 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns.

Grogan's touchdown passes of 22 yards to Irving Fryar and 35 yards to Marv Cook gave New England a 21-6 lead.

Following a punt, and trailing, 24-20, the Dolphins had the ball at the Patriots' 48 with 4:15 left.

The winning drive began with a 10-yard run by Smith. Marino's eight-yard completion to Fred Banks gave the Dolphins a first down at the Patriots' seven. Paige scored on the next play.

The Patriots' last hope ended when Staurovsky's 57-yard field goal attempt fell short with 21 seconds left.

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