LA Chargers News

Los Angeles Chargers defining moments: Epic in Miami

SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Dan Fouts #14 of the San Diego Chargers sets to pass during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Jack Murphy Stadium on September 25, 1983 in San Diego, California. The Browns won 30-24. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Dan Fouts #14 of the San Diego Chargers sets to pass during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Jack Murphy Stadium on September 25, 1983 in San Diego, California. The Browns won 30-24. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
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SAN DIEGO – SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Dan Fouts #14 of the San Diego Chargers sets to pass during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Jack Murphy Stadium on September 25, 1983, in San Diego, California. The Browns won 30-24. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO – SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Dan Fouts #14 of the San Diego Chargers sets to pass during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Jack Murphy Stadium on September 25, 1983, in San Diego, California. The Browns won 30-24. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

It might be the most memorable game in Los Angeles Chargers history. It is known simply as the ‘Epic in Miami’.

The Chargers, playing then in San Diego, won the AFC West in 1981 with a 10-6 record. They earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs and met the Miami Dolphins in the divisional round in a game played in the famous Orange Bowl.

The Dolphins had a record of 11-4-1 that season and held the No.2 seed in the AFC. Though the Chargers were a solid team, most figured that the Dolphins should be considered heavy favorites in the game.

The date was January 2,1982 and fans were in for what is widely considered one of the best games in the history of the league. Sports Illustrated called it the “Game No One Should Have Lost”.

The Dolphins had the home crowd in their corner, but they would have to find a way to stop the league’s best offense, led by Dan Fouts, who threw for an NFL record 4,802 yards that season.

Though the game featured one of the wildest finishes you will see, the Chargers jumped all over the Dolphins in the first quarter, taking advantage of a Dolphins interception and a kickoff that bounced back and the Chargers actually recovered.

At the end of the first quarter, the Chargers held a 24-0 lead, quieting the Miami crowd.

In the second quarter, Dolphins coach Don Shula made a call that would alter the game, benching quarterback David Woodley for Don Strock. That was the spark that Miami needed.

The Dolphins were able to put 10 points on the board and after a missed field goal by Chargers kicker Rolf Benirschke, the Dolphins had great field position, but halftime was moments away. With six seconds on the clock and the ball around the San Diego 40-yard line, the Dolphins came up with this…

That cut the lead to 24-17 as the two teams hit the locker room.

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