Oakland Raiders: 30 Iconic Moments In Franchise History

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Aug 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; A helmet from a San Diego Chargers player in a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 17-7. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

21. December 21,1974 – Sea of Hands

The Miami Dolphins of the 70’s were a juggernaut. When they rolled into the Coliseum in 1974 to square off with the Raiders, they had been to the previous three Super Bowls, winning the last two of them.

The stadium was rocking, with longtime Raider exec Al LoCosale being quoted as saying, “I have never heard any louder cheering in the Coliseum than when we came out to be introduced. The stadium left the ground.”

That all changed 15 seconds after kickoff when Dolphins return man took the opening kickoff 89 yards for the score. Miami led 7-0. And the score didn’t change until the Raiders had their second possession of the second quarter. Ken Stabler led a quick, efficient drive that saw Oakland’s offensive line manhandle the Miami defense. Charlie Smith capped off the drive with a 31yard touchdown reception from Stabler to tie up the game 7-7.

With just under five minutes left in the game, the Raiders trailed the Dolphins 19-14. Cliff Branch made a diving catch. But he was untouched by the Dolphin defenders, so he alertly jumped up and streaked the rest of the way for the 72 yard score and a 21-19 lead. But Bob Griese led the Dolphins right back. With just over two minutes remaining, running back Benny Malone broke free for a 23 yard score to give Miami the lead back at 26-21.

With half a minute remaining, no timeouts, and sitting on a first and goal from the eight, Stabler took the snap and couldn’t find an open receiver. With Miami defenders pulling him down, Stabler threw the ball forward out of desperation. Running back Clarence Davis had come back toward Stabler to give him a target. Davis jumped and in what was called a “sea of hands” outbattled everybody for the ball, coming down with it clutched firmly to his chest, giving the Raiders a 28-26 victory.

Next: November 22, 1982