We know Matt Moore can start and win football games. Moore ranks as one of the highest paid and perhaps talented backups in the NFL. He represents the latest in a line of Dolphins backups with solid credentials.
Can he lead the Dolphins down the stretch during the final three weeks of the 2016 season?
Moore will certainly have his work cutout for him with road games against the Jets and Bills and the season finale against the Patriots in Miami.
If Moore can perform at a high level, he’ll join two famous Miami Dolphins backup QB’s who led the team to success.
— Scott Middleton (@PricklyPinecone) December 11, 2016
EARL MORRALL: UNSUNG MVP OF THE PERFECT SEASON
Don Shula coached Earl Morrall in Baltimore. Morrall helped lead the Colts to Super Bowl III after Johnny Unitas suffered a massive elbow injury. Two years later, he emerged off the bench in a Super Bowl V victory over Dallas.
With those feats in mind, Shula invited the 38-year-old to Miami to serve as Bob Griese’s backup.
“All Earl ever did was win games for me, whether it was as a starter or coming off the bench,” Don Shula said after Morrall’s passing in 2014. “What I remember the most, of course, is what he did in 1972 when he replaced Bob Griese after Bob’s injury and kept our perfect season going until Bob returned in the playoffs.”
Griese suffered a broken ankle in Week 5 against San Diego. Morrall stepped in and managed a well-stocked Dolphins offense all the way through to the AFC Championship Game.
Morrall started the AFC finale in Pittsburgh, however, with Miami trailing 10-7, Shula inserted Griese back into the lineup and he promptly connected with Paul Warfield for 52 yards. The Dolphins defeated the Steelers and Griese started in Super Bowl VII to complete the Perfect Season.
DON STROCK: RELIEF PITCHER
Don Strock played the role of major backup to Griese and later combined with David Woodley to form the famous “Woodstrock” duo responsible for leading the Dolphins to Super Bowl XVII. He also backed up Dan Marino before retiring after the 1988 season.
Strock joined the Dolphins in 1974 and spent 13 seasons in Miami back up Griese, Woodley and Marino. He best remembered for his relief role in the 1981 AFC Divisional Playoff classic against the San Diego Chargers at the Orange Bowl.
Trailing 24-0, Strock entered the game with 12 minutes to play before halftime. That’s when he participated in the famous “Hook and Ladder” pass play (see video below) that helped the Dolphins climb back into the game.
“In my mind I just felt like, we have the ball and we need to go down and just score some points, whatever it is, a field goal, just to get something going,” Strock told Miami Dolphins.com. “We got an interception after we kicked the field goal and drove down and scored a touchdown (on a 1-yard pass from Strock to tight end Joe Rose) and then obviously the hook-and-lateral turned the whole football game around.”
— Big E (@ian693) December 12, 2016
Can Matt Moore conjure some of the same magic?
Consider how the Dolphins season progressed with fourth-quarter chills and spills and bellyaches:
You make your own luck.
Awesome FOX finds Don Strock in the stands after a QB injury… #ARIvsMIA
— SFL Commissioner (@sflone) December 11, 2016