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PRO FOOTBALL : Marino Throws AFC East Race Into a Tie : He Passes for 376 Yards, 3 Touchdowns in 28-10 Win Over Eagles

December 14, 1987| From Times Wire Services

PHILADELPHIA — Dan Marino wasn't about to stare a gift horse in the mouth.

The Philadelphia Eagles fed Marino the worst pass defense in the NFL Sunday, and he ate it up, passing for 376 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Miami Dolphins to a 28-10 victory.

The win moved Miami into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East with Indianapolis and Buffalo at 7-6.

Marino completed 25 of 39 attempts, including scoring strikes of 11 and 20 yards to Mark Clayton and 20 yards to Mark Duper. Ron Davenport ran one yard for a touchdown as the Dolphins overcame two early deficits.

This was the 25th regular-season game in which Marino passed for 300 or more yards. It tied him for third with Sonny Jurgensen, behind Dan Fouts and Johnny Unitas. At one point in the third quarter, Marino completed 11 consecutive passes.

Marino picked apart the Eagles' defense, despite being sacked three times, once by Reggie White who leads the NFL with 17.

The Miami pass-rush defenders, who lead the league in fewest sacks allowed with 14, did a good job even without center Dwight Stephensen, who is out with a damaged knee. Jeff Dellenbach replaced him.

The Eagles led twice in the first half, 7-0 and 10-7, scoring on a 44-yard pass play from Randall Cunningham to Mike Quick and a 27-yard field goal by Paul McFadden. But, in the end, they were no match for Marino and slipped to 5-8.

Cunningham was 22 for 38 for 189 yards.

"We were able to throw a little today because our offensive line did a pretty good job against a great Eagles' defensive line, picking up their stunts and blitzes," Marino said. "I had time to throw and was able to make some big plays."

Marino said the Dolphins went to the shotgun after the first two series.

"With White and Jerome Brown and Mike Pitts playing right against the center, it was tough for a normal drop."

Miami Coach Don Shula said the Eagles' strategy at the outset was obvious.

"They put White on Dellenbach," Shula said. "They got two sacks on the first series. After that Dellenbach settled down, and we did a better job of helping him."

Eagles' Coach Buddy Ryan praised Marino's performance.

"We had guys double covered, and he still threw touchdown passes," Ryan said.

He added, "You don't give up 28 points and win games."

Marino threw to six receivers, led by Clayton, who caught 7 passes for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Troy Stradford, with 5 for 49.

Stradford, the Dolphins' rookie running back, gained only 18 yards rushing in 10 carries.

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