FOXBORO, MASS., SEPT. 9 -- A scrambling Dan Marino threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Tony Paige with 1:46 left, ending an inconsistent afternoon on a positive note and giving the Miami Dolphins a 27-24 victory over the New England Patriots today.
Marino had thrown three interceptions, two of which set up touchdowns that gave New England a 21-6 second-quarter lead. Trailing by 24-20, the Dolphins got the ball back at the New England 48 with 4:15 remaining.
The drive began with a 10-yard run by Sammie Smith, a second-year pro who ran for a career-high 159 yards and one touchdown. After Marino's eight-yard completion to Fred Banks gave the Dolphins a first down at the Patriots 8, Marino, unable to find a receiver, scrambled right. With little pressure, he found Paige cutting over from the left.
"I'd have really felt bad if we'd lost because I made some mistakes," Marino said. "I had a lot of time to throw. I just made some bad decisions, real bad decisions."
New England's last rally died when Jason Staurovsky missed a 57-yard field goal with 21 seconds left.
Marino's late heroics overshadowed a strong game by Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan -- at 37 the NFL's oldest quarterback -- who completed 17 of 28 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Marino completed 22 of 34 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
The Dolphins, whose 41 turnovers were tied for most in the AFC last season, were hurt by four today. Two were interceptions that set up Grogan's touchdown passes of 22 yards to Irving Fryar and 35 yards to Marv Cook that gave the Patriots their 21-6 lead.
Staurovsky's 42-yard field goal put New England ahead, 24-20, late in the third period. Staurovsky lined up for a 41-yard attempt with 10:47 left in the game, but New England ran a fake. Marc Wilson rushed but failed to get the first down.