Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the Raiders 1970 NFL Division Playoff game against the Miami Dolphins where the Silver and Black came out victorious 21-14 thanks to the arm of QB Daryle Lamonica and the hands of CB Willie Brown.
It was a rainy December Sunday at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as 54,401 fans filed in to witness the first playoff game the Raiders participated in after the AFL-NFL merger.
Oakland came into the game after finishing the season 8-4-2 with the best record in the newly formed AFC West. The Dolphins came to the Coliseum with a record of 10-4 and finished second behind the Baltimore Colts in the AFC East.
Miami won the opening coin toss and elected to receive. Raiders K Mike Eischeid kicked off to the Miami 2-yard line. After a return of 21 yards, the Dolphins started their opening drive at their own 23. The Dolphins went three-and-out and were forced to punt.
With 13:27 in the first quarter, the Raiders started their first drive at the Oakland 37. The offense was able to move the ball accumulating three first downs all the way to the Miami 16. Unable to move the ball any further, K George Blanda attempted a 23-yard field goal that missed wide right.
The Dolphins second drive started on their 20 with two runs from RB Larry Csonka for 5 yards and Mercury Morris for 7 yards picking up their first 1st down of the day. The Dolphins gained some momentum moving the ball all the way to the Oakland 18-yard line. Miami’s offense stalled and was forced to attempt a 24-yard field goal. K Garo Yepremian missed wide right and the game remained scoreless.
After an Oakland punt, the second quarter started with Miami holding possession of the ball on their own 43-yard line. The Dolphins went three-and-out and punted the ball for a touchback.
On the Oakland 20, Raiders RB Charlie Smith committed the game’s first turnover with a fumble.
Miami capitalized on Oakland’s mistake and after a first down run, QB Bob Griese passed to WR Paul Warfield for a 16-yard touchdown. After the Yepremian extra point, the Dolphins led the game 7-0.
The teams would trade punts until 4:35 left in the quarter when the Raiders started their first scoring drive of the game. Oakland would start the drive at their 38. RB Marv Hubbard opened the drive with a run to the left for 4 yards. After an incomplete pass, QB Daryle Lamonica connected with TE Raymond Chester down the middle for 21 yards. A pass to WR Fred Biletnikoff for 11 yards set up a game-tying touchdown pass. On 2nd and 10, Lamonica dropped back to pass and targeted Biletnikoff in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. After the Blanda extra point, the game was tied 7-7 with 1:50 left in the first half.
The half would end with the game tied at 7-7 and the Raiders set to receive to open the second half. The Raiders were able to accumulate 154 total offensive yards while allowing only 106 to Miami.
Yepremian kicked off to the Oakland 7 with the Raiders returning it 22 yards to their own 29. The Raiders were able to build on their momentum to end the first half and moved the ball with ease all the way to the Miami 2-yard line, threatening to make the game 14-7. Unfortunately, a costly fumble by Charlie Smith, his second of the day, prevented the Silver and Black from taking their first lead of the game.
The makings of a great team appear in times of adversity, and the Raiders’ defense came up big on the ensuing Dolphins’ drive.
Miami started their drive on their own 10, hoping to turn turnovers into points for the second time in the game. Griese opened the drive with a 24-yard strike to WR Warfield. After runs of 2 yards, Griese passed to RB Jim Kiick for nine yards.
With momentum threatening to shift to the visiting team, the Raiders’ defense rallied and came through with the game in the balance. On first and 10, Griese was sacked for a loss of 12 setting up the turning point in the game. After a run of three yards, Griese lined up for third and 19. Dropping back to pass, Griese attempted to connect with Warfield. Willie Brown stepped in front of the pass and returned it down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown making the game 14-7 after the extra point.
The third quarter would end with the same margin and Miami with the ball.
Miami started the fourth quarter on their own 48 and was still battling. After two first downs, the Dolphins were able to move the ball into field goal range all the way to the Oakland 17. Unable to score a touchdown, Yepremian missed a 24-yard attempt.
On the Raiders next possession, the offense showcased their flair for the dramatic. It took all but three plays for the Silver and Black to score a touchdown, but it didn’t come without excitement. After a first down run of four yards by RB Hubbard, RB Pete Banaszak almost gave the ball back to the Dolphins. Luckily the Raiders would recover. On third and 12, Lamonica dropped back to pass and zipped the ball to a streaking WR Rod Sherman who walked in to the end zone for an 82-yard game breaking touchdown, making the score 21-7 after the extra point.
Miami would answer on their ensuing drive, making it difficult for the Oakland fans to breathe easy. Griese led the Dolphins all the way to first and goal on the Oakland 7 and picking up five first downs on the drive. On first and goal, Griese passed to WR Willie Richardson for a 7-yard touchdown. The Dolphins though were still down 21-14 and were forced to attempt an onside kick.
With 4:28 left in the game, the Raiders recovered the onside kick attempt. The Raiders, playing the clock, ran the ball four consecutive times and punted the ball, believing in the strength of their defense.
With 2:28 left in the game, the Dolphins began their last drive of the game. The Raiders defense, which played well all game, forced a turnover on downs and sealed a 21-14 victory which would set up a meeting with the Baltimore Colts in the next round.