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1973 Miami Dolphins season: Wikis

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1973 Miami Dolphins season
Head coach Don Shula
Home field Miami Orange Bowl
Results
Record 12-2
Place 1st AFC East
Playoff finish Won Divisional Playoffs (Bengals) 34-16
Won Conference Championship (Raiders) 27-10
Won Super Bowl VIII (Vikings) 24-7
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1972 1974

Contents

Offseason

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NFL Draft

Regular season

Although the Dolphins were unable to match their 17-0 perfect season of 1972, many sports writers, fans, and Dolphins players themselves felt that the 1973 team was better. While the '72 team faced no competition in the regular season that had a record of better than 8-6, the '73 team played against a much tougher schedule that included games against the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Dallas Cowboys (all playoff teams), plus two games against a resurgent Buffalo Bills squad that featured 2,000-yard rusher O.J. Simpson. Miami finished with a 12-2 regular season, including their opening game victory over the San Francisco 49ers that tied an NFL record with 18 consecutive wins. The Dolphins' streak ended in week two with a 12-7 loss to the Raiders in Berkeley, California.

Just like the last two previous seasons, Miami's offense relied primarily on their rushing attack. Fullback Larry Csonka recorded his third consecutive 1,000 rushing yard season (1,003 yards), while running back Mercury Morris rushed for 954 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. Running back Jim Kiick was also a key contributor, rushing for 257 yards, and catching 27 passes for 208 yards. Quarterback Bob Griese, the AFC's second leading passer, completed only 116 passes for 1,422 yards, but threw about twice as many touchdown passes (17) as interceptions (8), and earned an 84.3 passer rating. Wide receiver Paul Warfield remained the main deep threat on the team, catching 29 passes for 514 yards and 11 touchdowns. Also, the offensive line was strong, once again led by center Jim Langer and right guard Larry Little. Griese, Csonka, Warfield, Langer, and Little would all eventually be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Miami's "No Name Defense" continued to dominate their opponents. Future Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti recovered three fumbles and returned one for a touchdown. Safety Dick Anderson led the team with eight interceptions, which he returned for 163 yards and two touchdowns. And safety Jake Scott, the previous season's Super Bowl MVP, had four interceptions and 71 return yards. The Dolphins were still using their "53" defense devised at the beginning of the 1972 season, where Bob Matheson (#53) would be brought in as a fourth linebacker in a 3-4 defense, with Manny Fernandez at nose tackle. Matheson could either rush the quarterback or drop back into coverage.

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result
1 September 16, 1973 San Francisco 49ers W 21-13
2 September 23, 1973 at Oakland Raiders L 12-7
3 September 30, 1973 New England Patriots W 44-23
4 October 7, 1973 New York Jets W 31-3
5 October 15, 1973 at Cleveland Browns W 17-9
6 October 21, 1973 Buffalo Bills W 27-6
7 October 28, 1973 at New England Patriots W 30-14
8 November 4, 1973 at New York Jets W 24-14
9 November 11, 1973 Baltimore Colts W 44-0
10 November 18, 1973 at Buffalo Bills W 17-0
11 November 22, 1973 at Dallas Cowboys W 14-7
12 December 3, 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers W 30-26
13 December 9, 1973 at Baltimore Colts L 16-3
14 December 15, 1973 Detroit Lions W 34-7

Standings

AFC East
Team W L T PCT PF PA
Miami Dolphins 12 2 0 .857 343 150
Buffalo Bills 9 5 0 .643 259 230
New England Patriots 5 9 0 .357 258 300
New York Jets 4 10 0 .286 240 306
Baltimore Colts 4 10 0 .286 226 341

[1]

Postseason

AFC Divisional Playoff

  • Miami Dolphins 34, Cincinnati Bengals 16
1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 3 13 0 0 16
Dolphins 14 7 10 3 34

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The Dolphins outgained Cincinnati in total yards, 400-194, and first downs, 27-11, while also scoring on three of their first four possessions and shutting out the Bengals in the second half. The Dolphins racked up 241 yards on the ground, including 106 from Mercury Morris and 71 from Larry Csonka, while receiver Paul Warfield caught 5 passes for 95 yards and a score.

AFC Championship Game

  • Miami Dolphins 27, Oakland Raiders 10
1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 0 10 0 10
Dolphins 7 7 3 10 27

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

Running back Larry Csonka led the Dolphins to a victory with 117 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

Super Bowl VIII

  • Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7

Scoring summary

  • MIA - TD: Larry Csonka 5 yard run (Garo Yepremian kick) 7-0 MIA
  • MIA - TD: Jim Kiick 1 yard run (Garo Yepremian kick) 14-0 MIA
  • MIA - FG: Garo Yepremian 28 yards 17-0 MIA
  • MIA - TD: Larry Csonka 2 yard run (Garo Yepremian kick) 24-0 MIA
  • MIN - TD: Fran Tarkenton 4 yard run (Fred Cox kick) 24-7 MIA

Awards and honors

Notes and references

  1. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 296
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Washington
1973 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl VIII

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