Coming at the end of an NFL season shortened to nine games due to a player strike, Super Bowl XVII turned out to be a rematch of Super Bowl VII ten years prior. Like that game, Super Bowl XVII was played in Southern California, this time at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Miami came into the game as a 3-point favorite.
The Dolphins had one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL, ranking last in the league in passing yards with 1,401 and passing touchdowns with only eight. But that didn't stop the Dolphins from compiling a 7-2 SU record thanks to an excellent rushing attack and defense. Miami finished third in the NFL in rushing with 1,344 yards on the ground. The defense, nicknamed the "Killer Bees" with six starters having last names starting with a "B", held opposing offenses to the fewest total yards and passing yards in the NFL.
That defense was set to have its work cut out for it going up against a Washington Redskins attack led by Joe Theismann. Theismann was the NFC's top rated passer with 2,033 passing yards and 15 passing touchdowns. Kicker Mark Moseley was the first kicker in NFL history to win league MVP after converting on 20 of his 21 field goal attempts and all 18 of his extra point attempts. Washington ended the regular season with an 8-1 SU record before advancing to the Super Bowl in the playoffs.
The Miami Dolphins took an early 10-3 lead and entered halftime with a 17-10 lead. But instead of taking over control of the game on defense, Miami gave up 17 unanswered points as the Washington Redskins ran all over the Dolphins in the second half. Washington running back John Riggins set Super Bowl records in rushing yards with 166 and rushing attempts with 38 in the 27-17 win over Miami.
With the upset win, Washington exacted some revenge after being the final win for the undefeated 1974 Dolphins back in Super Bowl VII. The game's 44 points put the total comfortably OVER the posted total of 36.5 points.
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