Decade-by-Decade: The 1980s and the Classic Shootout

01/01/2005

The San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins faced off in what turned out to be one of the most exciting, emotional and exhausting games in pro football history in the AFC divisional playoffs. The game was played in Miami's Orange Bowl on January 2, 1982, and was finally decided by a 29-yard field goal by San Diego's Rolf Benirschke after 13:52 minutes of overtime.

The real drama, however, was created by the determination of the players of the two teams under the trying circumstances of the must-win game staged on a warm, humid evening in Miami. San Diego jumped off to a 24-0 lead but Miami rallied to even the score at 24-24 early in the third quarter. Each team added a touchdown in the third and fourth quarter to set the stage for the dramatic finish.

Each of the opposing field-goal kickers had earlier chances to win the game. Miami's field goal try by Uwe von Schamann was blocked as regulation time ran out. Benirschke missed one in overtime and von Schamann had another kick blocked before the San Diego kick won the game.

The Chargers' Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow, exhausted by the extreme heat, had to be treated several times on the bench but he caught 13 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. He also blocked von Schamann's kick as time ran out. Another San Diego star was Charlie Joiner, the Chargers' all-time leading receiver and 1996 enshrinee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who had seven receptions for 108 yards.

Box Score: 1981 AFC Playoff (January 2, 1982)

Scoring:

San Diego: 24 - 0 - 7 - 7 - 3 - 41
Miami:  0 - 17 - 14 - 7 - 0 - 38

First Quarter
SD - FG Benirschke 32
SD - Chandler, 56 punt return (Bernischke kick)
SD - Muncie, 1 run (Bernischke kick)
SD - Brooks, 8 run (Bernirscke)

Second Quarter
M - FG von Schamann 34
M - Rose, 1 pass from Strock (von Schamann kick)
M - Nathan, 25 run after lateral from Harris who caught 15 pass from Strock (von Schamann kick)

Third Quarter
M - Rose, 15 pass from Strock (von Schamann kick)
SD - Winslow, 25 pass from Fouts (Bernirschke kick)
M - Hardy, 50 pass from Strock (von Schamann kick)

Fourth Quarter
M - Nathan, 12 run (von Schamann kick)
SD - Brooks, 9 pass from Fouts (Bernirschke kick)

Overtime
SD - FG Bernirschke 29

Statistics:

Rushing - Miami: Nathan 14-48, Woodley 1-10, Hill 3-8, Vigorito 1-6,
Franklin 9-6; San Diego: Muncie 24-120, Brooks 3-19, Fouts 2-10

Passing - Miami: Strock 43-29-1, 403 yards, 4 TDs; Woodley 5-2-1, 20 yards,
0 TDs; San Diego: Fouts 53-33-1, 433 yards, 3 TDs; Muncie 1-0-0, 0 TDs

Receiving - Miami: Nathan 9-114, Harris 6-106, Hardy 5-89, Rose 4-37, Cefalo 3-62, Vigorito 2-12, Hill 2-3. San Diego: Winslow 13-166, Joiner 7-108, Chandler 6-106, Brooks 4-31, Muncie 2-5, Scales 1-17.

Interceptions - Miami: L. Blackwood 1-8. San Diego: Edwards 1-35, Buchanon 1-0.

Sacks - Miami: Bokamper 2. San Diego: Johnson 2, Jones 1.

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