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NFL – 1974 – Great Teams Great Games – AFC Divisional Playoffs – Dolphins Vs Raiders


In a play that became known as the “Sea of Hands”….the Raiders’ Clarence Davis somehow caught the winning touchdown pass with 24 seconds left in the game among “the sea of hands” of three Dolphins defenders.

The game began when rookie receiver Nat Moore returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a Miami touchdown…..then Miami defensive back Dick Anderson intercepted a pass from Raiders QB Ken Stabler….when fellow safety Jake Scott was hurt on the play and would miss the rest of the game. Oakland’s defense made a stand in their own territory to force a punt…..after which the Raiders tied the game with Stabler’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Smith…..then with 1:01 left in the half….Miami’s  Garo Yepremian kicked a 33-yard field goal to put the Dolphins back in the lead at halftime by a score of 10 – 7.

The Raiders scored on their opening drive of the 3rd quarter with Stabler’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Fred Biletnikoff….who managed to haul in the ball with one arm along the right sideline and barely tap his feet in bounds through tight coverage by cornerback Tim Foley….thus giving them a 14–10 lead. Aided by a 29-yard pass interference penalty against the Raiders on 3rd down….Miami struck back with Bob Griese’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Paul Warfield…..but Oakland lineman Bubba Smith blocked the extra point attempt….while keeping the Miami lead at just 2 points at 16 – 14.

Early in the fourth quarter, Yepremian increased Miami’s lead to 19–14 with a 46-yard field goal. Later in the period, Oakland got the ball on their own 17-yard line….when Stabler started the drive with an 11-yard completion to Biletnikoff….then on the next play….he threw a pass to Cliff Branch at the Dolphins’ 27-yard line….where Branch made a spectacular diving catch….and got back up and ran the rest of the way to the end zone for a 72-yard touchdown reception….while giving the Raiders a 21 – 19 lead with 4:37 left in the game….then with 2:08 left to play….the Dolphins took a 26 – 21 lead with a 68-yard, 4-play drive that ended with Benny Malone’s 23-yard touchdown run….after evading four tackle attempts by Raider defenders on the way to the end zone.

Following a 20-yard kickoff return by Ron Smith….the Raiders got the ball on their own 32-yard line with 2 minutes left to play….while having all three timeouts left.  After a 6-yard completion to tight end Bob Moore….followed by a short run…..Stabler completed two consecutive passes to Biletnikoff for gains of 18 and 20 yards….then after a 4-yard catch by Branch….Frank Pitts made a bobbling first down catch at the Dolphins 14-yard line….and on the next play…..Clarence Davis ran the ball 6 yards to the 8-yard line….. when the Raiders called their final timeout.  On the next play, Stabler dropped back to pass and looked for Biletnikoff in the end zone….but he was tightly covered….so, with Dolphins defensive end Vern Den Herder dragging him down….that’s when Stabler threw a desperate pass to the left side of the end zone into a “sea of hands”….as Davis fought his way through the Dolphins defenders to make the touchdown catch.

Trailing 28–26, the Dolphins got the ball back with 24 seconds left….but on their second play of the drive, Oakland linebacker Phil Villapiano intercepted Griese’s pass at the Raiders 45-yard line….allowing his team to run out the rest of the clock….causing Miami coach Don Shula to say….”This has to be the toughest loss I’ve ever suffered. The Raiders are a great credit to professional football as they needed touchdowns to win and they got them.”  Raider TE Bob Moore finished his first career playoff game with 184 all-purpose yards (142 KR, 40 Rec, 2 PR)….while WR Fred Biletnikoff caught 8 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown….as QB Kenny Stabler completed 20 of 30 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception….as this video captures all of those great moments for any and all football fan’s viewing pleasure.

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