The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 6, 1976 · Page 33
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December 6, 1976

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 33

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Monday, December 6, 1976
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Page 33
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ft V The Palm Beach Post Spor Clipboard, D6 SECTION D MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1976 Points: Miami 45, Buffalo 27 Yards: Solomon 252, Simpson 203 By CHUCK OTTERSON Pott Sportt writer MIAMI Promoters for yesterday's game between the Miami Doiphins and Buffalo Bills missed the boat by forgetting to tell everybody they'd be taking a trip by time machine back to the early days of the American Football T-eague. The 43,475 fans who showed up at the Orange Bowl witnessed almost three solid hours of thrill-a-minute football, with more big plays than Neil Simon could produce in a lifetime. The Dolphins piled up 425 yards in offense and 314 yards on punt, kickoff and interception returns. Buffalo accounted for 424 yards in offense and 178 yards on returns. The final score was more like something from the National Basketball Association than the National Football League: Miami 45, Buffalo 27. Five of the touchdowns were scored on plays of 37 yards or more, including a 75-yard run by Buffalo's O.J. Simpson and a 79-yard punt return by Miami's Freddie Solomon. "It's one of the wildest ones I've been around in a while," Miami coach Don Shula said. "There were a lot of big plays. I'm just thankful we were able to come up with more big plays than they did." Simpson, who had gained 100 yards only once in 14 previous tries against the Dolphins, picked up 110 in the first quarter alone. He finished with 203 yards in 24 carries the sixth 200-yard effort of his eight-year NFL career but his performance was overshadowed by that of the swift, elusive Solomon. Miami's second-year wide receiver caught five passes for 114 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown pass from Don Strock. He carried the ball once and raced 59 yards to score on a reverse. And he returned that punt 79 yards for still another TD. Strock, making his first start of the season, completed 11 of 22 passes for 219 yards and two scores, including a 37-yarder to rookie Duriel Harris. He also carried the ball once and scored on a two-yard bootleg. "I saw they had the blitz on," Strock said. "The linebacker was down in a three-point stance. If he doesn't touch me, there's nobody there to stop me." The combined total of 72 points was the most for any game involving the Dolphins since they beat the New England Patriots, 41-32, Dec. 17, 1967. "Freddie's the one who electrified everybody with the big plays," Shula said. "Duriel chipped in with his share and Strock did an excellent job. He called his own game. "Gary Davis got the most playing time he's had and he did a good job." Davis, a 5-foot-10, 202-pound rookie, led Miami with 79 yards in seven carries, including a 57-yard sprint to set up a TD by fullback Don Nottingham. The Dolphins, producing perhaps the ultimate in balanced attacks, gained 218 yards rushing and 219 passing. Strock was sacked once for a 12-yard loss. "Defensively," Shula said, "except for that long run by O. J. I guess that's what every coach says after playing Buffalo I thought we held them pretty well." Simpson, who gained an NFL-record 273 yards against Detroit Thanksgiving Day, admitted that the Bills' 2-11 record takes a lot of the satisfaction out of his 200-yard days. "I would much rather win," he said, "but I'm a realist. "Most of the teams we're playing are stronger than we are. But one thing we know we can do is run. We have a lot of pride on our offensive line; sometimes we run the ball even against an eight-man line." Simpson's touchdown following field goals of 28 yards by Buffalo's George Jakowenko and 53 yards by Miami's Garo Yepremian gave the Bills a 10-3 lead with 11:11 remaining in the first quarter. The Dolphins tied it on Strock's TD pass to Harris and went ahead to stay on Solomon's punt return. Jakowenko's 49-yard field goal made it 17-13 at the half. The Bills added second-half touchdowns on Gary Marangi passes of 11 yards to Reuben Gant and 15 yards to Bob Chandler. Turn to DOLPHINS, D4 Solomon Simpson Ittff Photo by Mm i. Loptnot Miami's Freddie Solomon (Below) eludes grasping Mark Johnson of Buffalo with 79-yard punt return for touchdown. The Bills' O.J. Simpson outlegs Dolphin defenders Kenny Ellis and Jerls White on his. 75-yard first-quarter touchdown run. w k , ... . V ": -0 V u I lr --V J ItaH Phl by iirbtri Montgomery Pats Reach Playoffs With Win A Bittersweet Year For O.. Superstar Bob Bassine Sports Editor ; Vf' . - ?;; -.j. J fo 7 jjn j T&f v t-7 n 1 h 'vQ r Mr) I !"" ' - 'if - f " 5 ? ( . j,m f t'-f m y ' . y ' FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) - "We started slow, but we stuck together and kept the faith," quarterback Steve Grogan said yesterday after leading the New England Patriots into the National Football League playoffs for the first time. After a stuttering start, Grogan ran for two touchdowns and passed for two others as the Patriots won the coveted spot with a 27-6 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Grogan, the sophomore pro from Kansas State, tied the NFL record for quarterbacks by rushing for his 10th and 11th touchdowns of the season. The Chicago Bears' Johnny Lu-jack ran for 11 in 1950 three years before Grogan was born and Green Bay's Tobin Rote did it in 1956. "I'm an awfully happy man," said coach Chuck Fairbanks, who left Oklahoma in 1973 to rebuild the Patriots. "We've come a long way. The team has come on faster than I thought it would. "Two things stand out in my mind this season. The players never became unglued or lost their poise when the opponent was having success. The other thing is, they've been so cooperative and willing. There is a very close feeling with each other and with the coaching staff. It started during training camp and grew all season." "They're a good team," said New Orleans coach Hank Stram. "Any team that has won so many games (10) has to be good. However, this is a frustrating Toss for us. At half-time, we thought we had a good chance. When we made it 13-6 we were very much in the ball game. Turn to PATRIOTS, D5 MIAMI - As the Buffalo Bills filtered through the tunnel toward their dressing room yesterday at the Orange Bowl, a chorus of youngsters lined up and chanted, "Juice, Juice, Juice." A girl, a pretty girl, maybe in her mid 20s, grabbed his arm. "I touched him, I touched him! " she squealed. "Man, that's the second time I touched O.J. Wheeyou, I'll be back the next time." The object of this attention was Orenthal James Simpson, O.J., at this moment the main man, the primary superstar of football, the box office attraction. Buffalo's running back has suffered a lot of frustration in this stadium. "In the past," he said with an engaging smile, "I haven't exactly torn Miami apart. But when you look back at those years, nobody tore up that No-Name defense. They were the best." He had no problems living up to his advance billing yesterday, gaining 203 yards, more than 100 of them in the first quarter when he broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown run. Miami eventually won, 45-27, but Simpson's run put Buffalo ahead, 10-7, early in the game. It came on a play that Simpson didn't like when it was put into the Bills' playbook two years ago. "We call it a 27," Simpson said. "Both guards pull. I started to go inside and there wasn't much of a hole and I saw I could get outside their containment. "But what really made the play go was (Bob) Chandler (wide receiver). He didn't make a block but he tied a man up and I was able to go around him. "Funny thing about that play, though. When we first put it in, I told our coaches it would never go that I had to spend too much time in the backfield. So the first time we used it, I went 94 yards for a touchdown against Pittsburgh." Turn to BASSINE, D5 'Records are nice. But the ultimate record is to accomplish what the Dolphins did. That's perfection and you can't top that ... I'd like to win a Super Bowl ... I'd like that to be the final game of a 17-0 year.' O.J. Simpson AP Wirophoto Miami's Harris Lunges for a Remarkable TD Reception

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