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The Revenge Of The Killer Bees
John Papanek
January 24, 1983
A year ago it was The Game No One Should Have Lost, a gut-wrenching thriller in which the Miami Dolphins overcame a 24-0 first-quarter deficit only to lose 41-38 in overtime to the San Diego Chargers. Obviously, Sunday's rematch—in the same Orange Bowl for the same stakes, the right to play for the AFC Championship—demanded a title, too.
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January 24, 1983

The Revenge Of The Killer Bees

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Fouts was itching to get his offense back on the field, but Hank Bauer bobbled Uwe von Schamann's ensuing kick-off, and Woody Bennett slammed into Bauer as he was trying to pick up the ball. It squirted out of Bauer's hands and right at a startled von Schamann, who was trotting downfield to back up the action. Von Schamann, you'll recall, was the goat of Miami- San Diego I, the flubber of two field goals, either of which would have won the game. "I was looking for anything that would redeem me," he said. "A field goal, a fake field goal, an onsides kickoff, a pass—anything."

Von Schamann plucked the ball out of the air at the San Diego 23. He might have picked up some yardage, but he had held a live football only once before, and that was to punt. So he fell on it and took a mighty helmet in the back for his trouble. "I tried to roll up like an embryo," he said, "but they stuck me anyway." Eight plays later Woodley hit Ronnie Lee with a six-yard pass in the end zone.

Now was it time for Fouts to come back? Not yet. First the Chargers had to fumble away another kickoff. This time a hit by Steve Shull jarred the ball loose from James Brooks. That resulted in a 24-yard field goal. Finally, in the last 4:07 of the half, San Diego woke up, striking for two TDs. First Fouts threw a 28-yard scoring pass to Joiner. Then, after a 23-yard von Schamann field goal, Chuck Muncie went over from the one to make the score 27-13.

The Chargers being the Chargers, this was still considered a nip-and-tuck ball game. A couple of quick Fouts-to-Winslow or Fouts-to-Chandler hookups and the Dolphin defense would start having to worry about the running of Muncie and Brooks. "That was something we couldn't let happen," said Arnsparger later. And it didn't. Miami's secondary stayed tight on Chandler and Joiner, while the linemen and linebackers kept pressuring Fouts.

The game was particularly frustrating for Winslow, who had caught 13 passes for 166 yards in a remarkable performance in last year's classic. But on Sunday he not only aggravated the turf toe he'd suffered a week earlier against Pittsburgh but also twisted an ankle. By his own estimation, he was reduced to 50% efficiency. But even 50% of Winslow is a lot of receiver.

"The way they were playing us, I was set up for another big day," said Winslow. "They were trying a little man-to-man, leaving the middle open. I knew where the dead spots were, but I couldn't get to them." In fact, the Dolphins laid off Winslow because they knew he was hurt, which made it easier for them to stop the other receivers.

Listen to Chandler, who hadn't been held to as few as two catches since the final regular-season game of 1981: "They did a tremendous job of disguising what they were going to do. Once we receivers got through their jams at the line of scrimmage, the safeties took away our bread and butter. I know that today, for the first time I can remember, I was having thoughts about whether to release inside or outside. I started trying to do some things differently, give them a different look."

Still, the Chargers had a drive going late in the third quarter, thanks to a fake punt. They were at the Miami 36 when Fouts threw to Joiner at the 19. Small was covering him man-to-man, but when Joiner curled toward the middle, Glenn Blackwood moved in. Fouts forced the ball into the coverage, and Blackwood picked off the pass without breaking stride. Woodley then engineered another scoring drive that he completed himself with a seven-yard quarterback draw. Three interceptions in the fourth quarter snuffed San Diego's remaining hopes. Final score: Miami 34-13.

So ended the assault of the Killer Bees. If they give another such performance this week against the Jets and, equally important, Woodley stays hot, Miami should earn its fourth ticket to the Super Bowl. "I can smell Pasadena," said Small. "I can smell the roses."

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