The Top 75 Dolphins Games of the 2000s: Numbers 41-45 (2024)

The last two seasons have been generally good ones and often memorable for the Miami Dolphins, who made the playoffs each time mostly behind one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.

The proof comes in our ranking of the top 75 Dolphins games of the 2000s, which featured seven games from 2022 (the most of any season) plus four more from last season.

Of course, this is all subjective and every Dolphins fan might have a different view of each game. For us, it was about the entertainment value of the game combined with the significance of it, with bonus points awarded for anything unusual that happened like, say, a ridiculous three-lateral finish or a team being called back from the locker room 30 minutes after everybody thought the game was over.

And, yes, the list includes some Dolphins losses purely on the entertainment value and quality of the game.

So here it is, our countdown of the top 75 Dolphins games of the 2000s, continuing with numbers 41-45:

We already have featured a few Dolphins victories at Indy in the countdown, but this is the first one that involves Andrew Luck and not Peyton Manning. But this was a passing showdown nonetheless, with Luck and Ryan Tannehill each passing for more than 300 yards, and Charles Clay, Mike Wallace and Colts WR T.Y. Hilton all topping 100 receiving yards. As with victories against Manning, the defense had to come up with some big stops in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory — Brent Grimes picked off Luck on a first-and-10 from the Miami 34 and Philip Wheeler came up with a sack on fourth-and-10 from the Miami 23 on Indy's final drive.

44. 2023 vs. Denver —Dolphins 70, Broncos 20

What can we say about this game? This was an epic performance by the Dolphins offense in the home opener where practically every skill position player had a big play —or several. From Tua to Tyreek and De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert and even Mike White connecting with Robbie Chosen on a bomb, everybody got in on the fun.

This game would deserve a place in the countdown no matter what just because of the sheer absurdity of it as the longest game (in actual time) in NFL history. For those who might have forgotten, this was the game that began at 1:02 p.m. ET and didn't end until 8:08 p.m. thanks to two hour-long lightning delays. But this also was a pretty wild game that saw each team score 17 points in the fourth quarter with a series of big plays — Jakeem Grant's 102-yard kickoff return, followed by Ryan Tannehill's 75-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills followed by Tennessee returner Darius Jennings scoring on a 94-yard kickoff return.

42. 2014 vs. Minnesota — Dolphins 37, Vikings 35

Speaking of crazy fourth quarters, the 2018 Dolphins-Titans game had nothing on this one. The teams combined for five touchdowns in that fourth quarter in Week 16, which also saw three lead changes. For good measure, the last score came when Terrence Fede blocked a Minnesota punt through the end zone for the game-winning safety with 41 seconds left. That play, it should be mentioned, came shortly after Cameron Wake sacked future Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater on third-and-8 to force the punt. Bridgewater had a 114.1 passer rating that day, topped by Ryan Tannehill's 118.7 on the strength of 396 passing yards and four touchdowns. This game would have placed a lot higher in our countdown if not for the fact the Dolphins already had been eliminated from playoff contention.

Few games in Dolphins history have turned so much on one first-half play like this one at Paul Brown Stadium. Coming in with a 3-1 record against a bad Cincinnati team that was 0-3, the Dolphins sleepwalked through most of the first half and appeared as though they would take a 13-3 deficit into the locker room at halftime. But it all turned thanks to a truly horrible decision by the Bengals combined with a great play by a great player, Jason Taylor. With 8 seconds left in the half and facing a second-and-5 from their own 37 after a 5-yard run by Brandon Bennett, the Bengals decided to have Akili Smith drop back to pass. Bad idea. Horrible idea. Taylor got around the left tackle in a hurry, nailed Smith from behind, and caused a fumble that he picked up and returned 34 yards for a touchdown that made it 13-10. The Dolphins then dominated the second half, scoring three touchdowns before Cincy kicked a late field goal.

PREVIOUSLY IN THE COUNTDOWN

-- The Top 75 Dolphins Games of the 2000s: Numbers 71-75

-- The Top 75 Dolphins Games of the 2000s: Numbers 66-70

-- The Top 75 Dolphins Games of the 2000s: Numbers 61-65

-- The Top 75 Dolphins Games of the 2000s: Numbers 56-60

-- The Top 75 Dolphins Games of the 2000s: Numbers 51-55

-- The Top 75 Dolphins Games of the 2000s: Numbers 46-50

The Top 75 Dolphins Games of the 2000s: Numbers 41-45 (2024)

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