Series History: Bucs-Dolphins

Series History: Bucs-Dolphins

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins have shared Florida’s football attention for more than four decades (the Jacksonville Jaguars joined the party in 1995), but neither one has laid claim to Sunshine State supremacy. After 41 years and 10 regular-season meets, the Bucs and Phins stand at 5-5 in the head-to-head series, and the overall scoring in those 10 games is separated by a single touchdown. A single touchdown with a missed extra point, in fact.

Four years ago, the Dolphins came to Tampa for a skirmish under the lights, the second Monday Night Football matchup between the two teams, and the third nationally-televised prime-time affair in just 10 meetings.

As is usually the case when the two Florida rivals get together, this one was an entertaining affair decided by a slim margin, as Bucs running back Bobby Rainey scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter for the final points in a 22-19 comeback win for the home team. Rainey had ripped off a 31-yard run on the previous play on a night when three different Tampa Bay backs – Rainey, Brian Leonard and Mike James – all surpassed 40 rushing yards. Miami got the ball back for one last shot with three minutes to play but consecutive sacks by Will Gholston and Gerald McCoy put the Dolphins in a fourth-and-28 hole and Darrelle Revis picked off Ryan Tannehill’s desperation throw.

That was the first win for the Buccaneers after an 0-8 start in 2013, Greg Schiano’s last season as head coach. However, it continued a strong run for Tampa Bay against its downstate foes. The Buccaneers have won four of the last five in the series, including all three played at Raymond James Stadium in that span.

Even when the Dolphins started the series by taking four of the first five, Tampa Bay and Miami have usually taken things down to the wire. Six of the 10 games have been decided by three points or less and another one was a six-point final. All in all, the Bucs have scored 228 points in the 10-game series, while Miami has managed 222. There’s never a lack of points when the two teams meet; both the Bucs and Dolphins have scored at least 13 points in every single game they’ve shared the field.

VIEW: Bucs’ Power Rankings: Week 1

The drama in the series began right away, as the Buccaneers welcomed the Dolphins to Tampa Stadium midway through their inaugural 1976 season. The Bucs finished that campaign without a victory, but they may have come closest against the Dolphins even though Miami was coming off six straight seasons of 10 wins or more. WR Morris Owens caught three touchdown passes for the Buccaneers, two from QB Steve Spurrier in relief of Parnell Dickinson. A failed extra point on one of those scores meant the game was tied at 20-20 late in the fourth quarter before Garo Yepremian won it for Miami with a 29-yard field goal with less than a minute to play.

The Bucs evened the series at one apiece six years later, in the process getting their first-ever Monday Night Football win. After opening the season with three losses, the third one coming after a lengthy interruption by a players’ strike, the Bucs started a late-season surge with a 23-17 win keyed by another Owens, in this case RB James. Owens ran 18 times for 82 yards and defensive backs Mike Washington and Neal Colzie each picked off a pair of passes.

Morris Owens’ three receiving touchdowns in the aforementioned 1976 game remained a Buccaneer record until the third Bucs-Dolphins meeting, a wild 41-38 shootout victory for Miami at home in 1985. TE Jimmie Giles caught four touchdown passes from QB Steve DeBerg in that game, which is still a franchise single-game standard, but it wasn’t enough to counteract five scores from five different Dolphins, with QB Dan Marino’s 302 passing yards leading the way. The Bucs tied it with 43 seconds left but that left Marino enough time to maneuver his team into position for Fuad Reveiz’s game-winning 43-yard field goal.

The Dolphins won the next two games as well, and then the teams didn’t meet again until 1997, when the Buccaneers were in the midst of a franchise revival. Tampa Bay opened that season with a five-game winning streak, of which a 31-21 win over the Dolphins in a TNT Sunday night affair was the fourth outing.  FB Mike Alstott ran in two touchdowns and RB Warrick Dunn iced it with a 58-yard TD catch-and-run in the fourth quarter. The Bucs won again in Miami in 2000 in a game played mostly under a heavy rain. Four different Bucs picked off passes, with LB Jamie Duncan returning his for the visitors’ only touchdown, and Martin Gramatica hit 30 and 46-yarders in the rain to win it in the fourth quarter.  After one more win for the Bucs in 2005, which tied the all-time series, Miami briefly got back on top with a 25-23 win in 2009 keyed by Ricky Williams’ 100-yard game.


                                   Bucs’ Game-by-Game Record vs. the Dolphins:

                       Series Notes:

  • Overall Season Series: Tied, 5-5
  • Bucs’ Home Record: 4-2
  • Bucs’ Road Record: 1-3
  • Current Streak: Win 1 (2013)
  • Buccaneers’ Longest Winning Streak: 3 (1997-2005)
  • Dolphins’ Longest Winning Streak: 3 (1985-91)
  • Regular Season Point Total: Buccaneers 228, Dolphins 222
  • Most Points in a Game, Buccaneers: Dolphins, 41-38 (1985)
  • Most Points in a Game, Dolphins: Dolphins, 41-38 (1985)
  • Most Points, both teams: 79…Dolphins, 41-38 (1985)
  • Fewest Points in a Game, Buccaneers: Dolphins 33-14 (1991)
  • Fewest Points in a Game, Dolphins: Buccaneers 27-13 (2005)
  • Fewest Points in a Game, both teams: 29…Buccaneers 16-13 (2000)


Published at Wed, 06 Sep 2017 12:00:30 +0000