Jets delay Shula's flight into history Dolphins fall, 27-10

No. 325 must wait

November 08, 1993|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It has happened so often that even Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula laughs about it. Another historic day in his life, another New York Jets win. Another Dolphins-Jets game, another Miami loss.

On a day when Shula could have become the winningest coach in NFL history, his Dolphins were a no-show at Giants Stadium yesterday, as the Jets defeated Miami, 27-10.

A crowd of 71,306 and a national television audience were expected to be a part of this event, as Shula, 63, went for win No. 325 to pass George Halas.

But Gatorade showers for Shula will have at least until next week in Philadelphia, when the Dolphins play the Eagles.

"No Gatorade," said Shula, who has a 324-153-6 record in 31 years as an NFL coach. "We just didn't get it done. They turn into a great football team on the days they play us. I don't know what happens any other time."

The Jets own Shula. Yesterday's loss was No. 21 against New York, the most for Shula against any team. The Jets have swept both games this season against their AFC East rival, and have won four of the past five.

Shula has a 28-21-1 overall record against the Jets, but is only 2-7 against them at Giants Stadium.

The biggest loss, though, was the 16-7 upset win by the Jets over the Shula-coached Baltimore Colts in the 1969 Super Bowl, a loss Shula has called the most devastating in his career.

"I remember some of those [losses]," said Shula, smiling.

The Dolphins (6-2) weren't laughing yesterday. New York (4-4) pushed them all around the field. Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason completed 23 of 32 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. The Jets rushed for another 100 yards. They had the ball for almost 37 minutes.

"They kicked our butts all over the field," said Miami cornerback Troy Vincent. "It was pretty sad, because I think the guys really wanted it for the coach. Everybody would like to be a part of history. I just wanted to be on the team that got that big win for the winningest coach in football history."

Were the Dolphins possibly distracted by all the hoopla this week?

"Heck no," said Bryan Cox, a Miami linebacker and self-proclaimed team spokesman. "Anybody who says that is just looking for an excuse and doesn't want to face the reality that we got crunched big time. We were never in the game physically."

The Jets, though, were fired up.

"Their players were inspired to get it for him, and my players were inspired not to let it happen against us," said Jets coach Bruce Coslet.

The Jets were focused and unstoppable in the first two quarters, using their short passing attack for a 17-3 halftime lead.

New York scored on its opening series on a nine-play, 81-yard drive that was finished by a 17-yard touchdown pass over the middle from Esiason to tight end Johnny Mitchell with 10:09 left in the quarter.

The Jets got a break nearly two minutes later. Left defensive end Marvin Washington, on a strong rush from the outside, hit Dolphins quarterback Scott Mitchell's throwing arm while he attempted to pass, and Jets cornerback Lonnie Young intercepted, giving New York possession at the Miami 40.

New York could advance only to the 26, but Cary Blanchard kicked a 37-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 5:32 left in the first quarter.

A Pete Stoyanovich field goal cut it to 10-3, but New York's offense was relentless. During an 11-play, 83-yard drive, Esiason completed passes of 12, 13, 27, 11 and 11 yards to take the Jets to the Miami 2. On first-and-goal, Mitchell caught a touchdown pass from Esiason with 19 seconds left to put New York ahead 17-3.

The Jets scored on their first possession of the third quarter, a 43-yard field goal by Blanchard, and the rout was on.

So, still, is Shula's coming-out party.

It will be another week of spots on the morning news shows and moreinterviews for newspapers that contain stories about his trademark jaw and once-revolutionary sideburns. He has gone from the run-oriented Miami teams with Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris to the pass-happy days of Dan Marino.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame already has asked for the shirt Shula wears on the sidelines when he gets big No. 325.

"There's been a lot of emphasis on it this week after tying the record," said Shula. "I was hoping to pass the record today and get it out of my mind and everybody else's mind, and just concentrate on the football team. The record of the football team, that's what is important. If and when it happens, I'd like it to happen in a year when I can look back and be proud our our football team."

Yesterday was not that day.

NFL COACHING WINS

MA

Coach .. .. .. W .. .. .. .. L .. .. .. ..T.. .. .. .. Pct.

x-Don Shula ... .. 324 .. .. ... 153 .. .. ... 6 .. .. .. .. 677

George Halas .. .. 324 .. .. ... 151 .. .. ... 31 .. .. .. .. 671

Tom Landry ... ... 270 .. .. ... 178 .. ... ... 6 .. .. .. .. 601

Curly Lambeau ... 229 ... .. ... 134 .. ... ... 2 .. .. .. .. 623

Chuck Noll .. ... 209 ... .. ... 156 .. ... ... 1 .. .. .. .. 572

x-active

Note: 73 of Shula's wins came as coach of Baltimore Colts from

1963 to 1969

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