The Falcons and Dolphins square off against one another after each having played their last game in London. Luckily for the Falcons, they’re coming off of a bye week, while Miami did not get that luxury.
Another game against an AFC opponent means that our analysis in the all time series history will yet again not be too extensive, as these teams have not played each other often. In fact, they’ve only played 13 times in total, with the Fish owning a 9-4 record.
Miami got out to a quick start in this series, winning the first four meetings between 1970 and 1983, and six of the first seven overall between 1970 and 1995.
The Falcons held their own and actually broke even in the Dan Marino era, compiling a 2-2 record against the Hall of Famer, even though one of those wins was toward the tail end of Number 13’s career.
The Birds did have an impressive win in 1986, when they picked off the First-Team All-Pro Marino four times and held an explosive Miami offense to just 14 total points en route to getting their first win ever against the Dolphins. Turk Schonert was the quarterback of record for the Falcons that afternoon, though it was running back Gerald Riggs who carried the load.
Atlanta has had more success in recent times, compiling a 3-3 record from 1998 through today after starting out 1-6 before that. Their most successful run was between 1998 and 2009, when put together a 3-1 run on the back of their defense, who held the Dolphins to less than 20 points in each of those meetings. Miami has bounced back by winning the previous two matchups.
Despite being 3-1, the Falcons were looking pretty shaky to begin the 2017 season, coming off of their Super Bowl collapse a few months prior. They snuck away with road wins against the Bears and Lions which came down to the final snaps and seconds, and had just suffered a home defeat to the Buffalo Bills. Coming off a bye, they looked to get it together against a Dolphins team they were favored to beat.
Things couldn’t have gone better for Atlanta in the first half — the defense clamped down while the offense was making explosive plays, and the result was a 17-0 lead at the break.
Jay Cutler and the Dolphins answered back immediately, however, putting together back to back touchdown drives on their first two possessions of the third quarter, one of which happened because a Grady Jarrett roughing the passer penalty took away a red zone interception.
Miami completed the comeback and left the Falcons shut out and bewildered in the second half. The game went to overtime where a late interception by Reshad Jones sealed Atlanta’s fate, as they proved that their habit of choking away leads was far from behind them.
While the Falcons were coming off of a bye week, the Dolphins had some off field issues leading up to this game when video leaked of their offensive line coach Chris Foerster snorting cocaine, after which he promptly resigned. Our own Matt Chambers puts it a lot more elegantly than I could:
FALCONS GOT OUTCOACHED AFTER A BYE AND DOLPHINS COACHES WERE DOING RAILS OF BLOW— Falcoholic Matt (@FalcoholicMatt) October 15, 2017
Both teams ended up having successful 2017 campaigns, as each finished 10-6 and made the playoffs as a Wildcard in their respective conferences. That season marked the last time either of these teams participated in the post season.