NFL – Throwback Thursday: Kelly’s Heroes

04 Jan

The final week of the 2023 NFL schedule takes place this week, and one marquee matchup features the Miami Dolphins taking on the Buffalo Bills. We’ll look back for this week’s Throwback Thursday post to a game played between these 2 AFC East rivals on September 10,1989 at what was then Joe Robbie Stadium. It was the opening day of the 1989 season and both teams had high expectations. Miami had dominated the Bills in the early part of the decade, winning 11 of 14 contests, but Buffalo rebounded when the Marv Levy/Jim Kelly era began with 4 straight wins.

Buffalo struck first with the only scoring in the opening quarter on a Scott Norwood field goal. Then the Dolphins took over the second quarter, scoring on a Troy Stradford 1 yard run and a Pete Stoyanovich field goal to lead 10-3 at the half. The Bills tied it up when fullback Larry Kinnebrew closed out a drive with a 2 yard TD plunge. Miami’s special teams then got into the fray, blocking a punt that Marc Logan picked up and took the remaining 2 yards into the end zone for a 17-10 advantage. Norwood cut it to 17-13 with another field goal to finish the third quarter scoring.

Dan Marino then made his presence felt, completing an 8 yard touchdown toss to Andre Brown, upping Miami’s lead to 24-13. The remainder of the game was a bit of a coming out party for Kelly as the quarterback and unquestioned leader of the Bills. He led one drive that culminated with him finding Flip Johnson on a 26 yard TD pass, then after the Bills’ defense held, he led another to the Dolphins’ 2 yard line with time running out. There were 2 seconds left on the clock, time for one last play. Kelly took the snap from center, dropped back to pass, then surprised everyone by running into the end zone for the winning touchdown to secure a 27-24 win. It was a great start to the Bills’ season as his teammates mobbed him in the end zone celebrating the daring play. That swashbuckling style would be a trademark of Kelly’s Hall of Fame career.


Jim Kelly, Dan Marino had many epic battles


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