The New England Patriots won a see-saw, 33-24 battle from the Miami Dolphins yesterday, and took undisputed possession of first place in the AFC East with a 6-2 record.
Horace Ivory ran, stumbled, broke tackies and somersaulted the last few yards for 21 yards and the winning touch-down with 3 minutes 10 seconds remaining.
The Patriots took a 17-14 lead two seconds before the end of the half on a 29-yard field goal by David Posey.
The Dolphins had tied the score at 14-14 on a six-yard pass from Bob Griese to wide receiver Nat Moore, but Griese left 58 seconds on the clock.
Steve Grogan then took the Patriots 53 yards, much of it on a 24-yard pass to tight end Don Hasselbeck and an 11-yard pass to running back Andy Johnson. Grogan ran 18 yards himself to the Miami 12-yard line.
On first 10 Grogan's receivers were well covered and he threw ball into the seats behind the end zone, leaving six seconds on the clock, and Posey, who has been with the Pastriots for three weeks, kicked his field goal.
The Dolphins scored in the first quarter after strong safety Tim Fockey intercepted a pass by Grogan at the New England 31-yard line. Delvin Williams ran 19yards, Griese passed 11 yards each to Williams and Moore and then Moore benefitted from a pass interference call in the end zone. Williams scored from a yard out.
In the second quarter, the Pastriots scored just about the same way.
Strong safety Doug Beaudoin of the Patriots intercepted on Griese. Then Grogan passed 11 yards to wide receiver Harnold Jackson, Don Calboum ran for 12 yards and wide receiver Stanley Morgan was interfered with in the end zone. Andy Johnson plunged a yard for a touchdown.
The Pats went ahead, 14-7, after Beanudoin's second interception. Grogan ran for 10 yards, Horace Ivory for 11 and Sam Cunningham plunged a yard for a touchdown.
Miami's Gare Yepremian missed a 45-yard field goal attempt and Posey a 38-yarder before Griese took the Dolphins 80 yards to score the third quarter, mostly on a 38-yard pass to wide receiver Daniel Harris. Griese passed four yards ot tight end Andre Tilman for the touchdown and Yeptemian's conversion put the Dolphins ahead, 21-17.
The Patriots them went 64 yards to regain the lead, on a one-yard touchdown plunge by Ivory. Big plays were a 28-yard pass to Jackson and a 24-yard pass to Jackson. Posey's conversion made it 24-21, New England.
The Dolphins tied it at 24-24 with 6-34 to go in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard field goal, against the wind by Yepremian.
But the Patriots came right back with a 64-yard flight to the Miami goal line. Ivory running, stumbling and somersaulting the last 21 yards for the touchdown that put the Patriots ahead. 31-24, with 3:10 to go.
Tight end Russ Francis put the ball in scoring position with a good run after a catch, gaining 29 yards to the Miami 21.
As the game wound down, the Patriots' Jerrel Wilson punted to the Miami two, then the Pats sacked Griese in the end zone for their final two points.