In the ’70s, the mighty era of the Dolphins came at a time when the Patriots were still irrelevant. Decades later, that same fate was reversed, as the Patriots built a winning culture while the Dolphins are racking up multiple draft picks every year. The prime eras of both franchises were just never destined to meet in time.
Nonetheless, the two teams have shared moments worth remembering as old-school AFC East rivals.
4. Overtime Thriller for New England
In Week 7 of the 2003 season, the Patriots defeated the Dolphins 19-13 in overtime, snapping a streak of five consecutive losses in South Florida.
3. Monday Night Upset
The Dolphins had their fair share of tough days, but few were as inconsequential as their 2004 Monday Night Football matchup versus reigning champion New England Patriots.
Miami, under the direction of interim head coach Jim Bates, was 2-11 entering the night. The Patriots, meanwhile, were riding the waves and boasting a 12-1 record. To everyone’s surprise, Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor haunted Tom Brady all throughout the night. Dolphins quarterback A.J. Feely also orchestrated the ‘Fins offensive schemes next to perfection. In a competitive thriller, the Dolphins shocked the eventual Super Bowl champions, 29-28.
2. Clean Sheet
The 1972 Miami Dolphins may arguably be the best team in NFL history, going 17-0 all throughout the season on its way to grabbing the Super Bowl VII title. On November 12, 1972, the Dolphins had one of its most dominant performances, blasting the Patriots, 52-0.
They grabbed the win despite the absence of top playmaker Bob Griese due to injury. The team also lost their premier wide receiver in Paul Warfield who suffered injuries to his left ankle and knee in the third period of the game. In the end, the Dolphins were able to overcome the odds to grab the W. It marked the 100th win in the 10‐year coaching career of legendary Miami tactician Don Shula.
1. Dolphins squander Patriots’ 21-game win streak
In the 2008 season, New England quarterback Tom Brady was out for the season with a knee injury. Everyone thought that the Patriots’ regular-season winning streak would stretch to over 22 games or more. The Dolphins were 0-2 on the young 2008 season and had gone just 1-20 in their last 21 games.
The Dolphins pulled a trick from their sleeve and unleashed the “wildcat” in time. Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown took the shotgun snaps instead of quarterback Chad Pennington. Brown compiled 118 yards rushing and four touchdowns while throwing for another. Linebacker Joey Porter’s four sacks were the highlight for a Miami defense that held New England to only 215 yards.
Both teams would finish the season with identical 11-5 records, but the win in Foxborough made the difference as Miami clinched its first division title since 2000.