Sunday, September 24, 2023

Dolphins Hang a Seventy Burger on the Broncos

 By John Turney 
Tyreek Hill scores the first six of the Dolphins' 70 points
The Dolphins had a chance to break the NFL single-game scoring record today but chose to run the clock out rather than attempt a short field goal that would have run the score up to 73-20.

Dolphins' coach Mike McDaniel had his quarterback take a knee instead.

It was the third time in NFL regular-season history a team had scored 70 or more points. The record is held by Washington with 72, set in 1966 against the New York Giants. Los Angeles scored 70 in 1950 against the Baltimore Colts.

Both those teams scored one touchdown on special teams and nine from scrimmage.

Today Miami became the first team to score ten touchdowns from scrimmage in a single game—five rushing and five passing.

In 1966 cornerback Rickie Harris took a punt back for a touchdown and rookie safety Brig Owens had a scoop and score plus a pick-six in the game and the other seven from scrimmage. In 1950 Rams' halfback  Vitamin T. Smith took a kickoff to the house and the rest of the nine touchdowns were runs or passes.

The 1934 Philadelphia Eagles also scored ten touchdowns in a game but one was an interception return according to the Official NFL Record & Fact Book but only scored 64 points in the game because of several failed conversions so again it was nine from scrimmage and one return.

When asked why he didn't kick the field goal McDaniel told the media, "It felt like chasing points, chasing a record is not what we came here to do. Ten times out of ten you concede and kneel down."

Conversely, when Washington scored 72 it did include a late field goal. Leading 69-41 Washington's head coach Otto Graham sent his kicker Charlie Gogolak out with three seconds left on the clock to attempt a 29-yard field goal, which he made, to make the score 72-41.

But it did happen to set the record -- besting the Rams' 1950 mark. Did that have anything to do with the final three points? 

Unknown. But probably. But it also had to do with revenge. 

Hall-of-Fame linebacker Sam Huff claims he sent Gogolak into the game to run the score up. He was bitter about being traded to Washington from the New York Giants two years earlier and wanted to send a message to Allie Sherman, the Giants coach who'd exiled him.

This was his chance to rub it in a little by sending the kicker in to run the score up by three more points. 

"In the final seconds, we were just trying to kill the clock," Huff wrote in his 1988 autobiography Tough Stuff,  "We had a fourth down at the Giants 22 and a timeout was called with seven seconds left. While Otto was talking to Sonny, I took it upon myself to yell for the field goal team to get out there, and before anyone knew what was happening, Gogolak had kicked a 29-yard field goal for a final score of 72-41. After the game, Otto took a lot of heat for kicking the field goal and rubbing it in. But it wasn't Otto's decision, it was all mine."

So payback was the primary motivating factor but it's also likely that the sideline was aware of the 70-point NFL scoring record. 

Either way, Graham took the responsibility in his comments to the sportswriters in the postgame locker room telling the media, "Charlie (Gogolak) had missed a couple of field goals last week against Cleveland and hadn't attempted any today. He needed a shot. The practice."

He didn't happen to mention that Huff had usurped his authority on that final play.

So, the Dolphins didn't get the points record but getting the touchdowns from scrimmage record (if it is even a record) is still a good day's work for the offense.

Additionally, Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders tied Gogolak's record of ten PATs attempted in a game and set the record for most successful PATs in a single game with ten.

There will be other odds and ends in terms of records set and tied but had the Dolphins done what Otto Graham did in 1966 they would have the scoring record but Mike McDaniel chose the higher road. 

Either that or former Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb isn't as upset about being in Miami as Sam Huff was about being in Washington D.C. because he didn't send the kicker in to break the record.


  1. Actually the 4th time in history. Of course the 1940 Championship Bears 73-0 vs Washington. The Bears missed 3 XPts. and failed on the 2 pt conversion on the last TD of the game! Otherwise we're talking 78 pts

    1. RIght, for whatever reason NFL usually separates regular season and playoff games---that was the NFL championship game ... if if you count both ... you're right. If it is regular season only ... then it's the 3rd and to keep it consistent that's who I looked at it.

    2. There wasn't a two point conversion in 1940. The Bears were asked by the officials to run or pass for the extra point as they were about to run out of footballs due to all of the balls going into the stands on extra points.

    3. There wasn't a 2 point conversion in 1940. The Bears were asked not to kick the ball due to they were running out of balls from all of the extra points going into the stands.

  2. From Brian wolf ...

    Conceding and kneeling down ... haha, good one. Looked like running up the score to me, why not just score 77 points? Didnt they have 70 points with eight minutes remaining?

    What, the Dolphins had the second highest yardage total, ever? Didnt the Broncos give up nearly 700 yards in a SB as well?

    Some of the games today were real headscratchers.

    1. The Broncos gave up "only" 602 yards vs. Washington in SB 22. 356 of which was in the 2nd quarter which is probably why it seemed like it was even more.

  3. I hadn't heard that Huff story before, even when I did an article on this game a while back. The version I told was based on what Otto Graham had told the New York Times - that he was giving Gogolak a chance to get in extra practice because he missed two FGs the week before and hadn't tried one yet that day.

    Washington actually got the ball back at the end by accident - the Giants QB thought it was third down when it was actually fourth and New York turned the ball over on downs.

    Great work as always, John Turney.

    1. You're right, it was a fluke that Gogolak even got a chance.

    2. I believe Huff's story over Grahams. Sherman had the thankless task of replacing veterans for youth but Huff and Erich Barnes still had gas left in the tank I believe. I can see Huff getting so upset because he knew the crowd cared more about the defense in NY than the offense, though Shofner was exciting. Tarkenton gave them a shot in the arm later but the young defense took awhile to gets its bearings.

      How do does Sherman deserve to be judged? Obviously an excellent offensive coach who developed Conerly, Tittle, Gifford and Shofner who went to three straight championship games as HC but couldnt beat the Packers or Bears before disposing of veteran players. He struggled but like most coaches, once his main QB was gone, hard to replace him, though Morrall and Tarkenton were capable.

  4. Why doesn't the NFL count the 73-0 game as the record?

    1. They do count it in the playoff section of the Record and Fact book ... but not in the regular season section of "All-Time Records" ... why? I think sports have always had regular and postseason records ... baseball does, basketball ... assuming hockey, but I never look at their records ... maybe there is a sport that combines them Stathead has search engine that can include them if you choose to, though. You can pick "either" and get all records and include postseason games ... makes for interesting results