Dan Marino stayed upright all game and reached an unprecedented milestone.
Marino become the first player in NFL history to reach 400 career touchdown passes as the Miami Dolphins defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-10 Sunday.
Marino connected with O.J. McDuffie with a 22-yard scoring pass late in the second quarter, then reached the milestone with a seven-yard touchdown to McDuffie on the first play of the fourth quarter. Marino and McDuffie hooked up for a touchdown for a third time on a nine-yard play with 7:34 left as the Dolphins (8-4) remained tied for first in the AFC East with the Jets.
“Four hundred touchdown passes is a lot of touchdown passes,” said Marino, who thrown three touchdowns or more in a game 59 times. “But winning games is the most important thing.”
It was the first time Marino had thrown for three touchdowns in a game this season as Coach Jimmy Johnson has placed greater emphasis on the run. Marino completed 22 of 40 passes for 255 yards and had one intercepted, which was returned 79 yards for a touchdown by Rob Kelly.
Miami’s offensive line, with two reserves protecting Marino’s blind side, held the Saints without a sack for the first time in 61 games, ending the third-longest streak in NFL history. Left tackle Brent Smith and left guard John Bock started in place of injured seven-time Pro Bowl selection Richmond Webb and Mark Dixon.
“After practice Friday, I said the result of the ballgame would depend on how the offensive line plays,” Johnson said. “I called each one of them out by name and said we’ll win or lose the ballgame depending on how you play.”
Kerry Collins, making his third start since joining New Orleans (5-7) from Carolina, was nine for 24 for 110 yards with three interceptions.