Pivotal Pro Football Moments
pivotal NFL postseason moment: A decision by a coach or an action by a player that establishes, continues or changes the momentum of a playoff game.
1970: Raiders Prevail with Warren's Help
Division Round: Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders
Oakland Tribute writer George Ross described the 1970 Miami Dolphins as "a young team given new life this season with mass transfusions of Colt blood." Ross explained: "Don Shula, a convert from Baltimore, ... brought assistants and players with him to Miami to wield new weapons on a growing war machine ..."
In his first year as coach, Shula improved the Dolphins from 3-10-1 the year before to 10-4 to earn a wild card spot in the AFC playoffs.
John Madden's second Oakland team finished with an 8-4-2 record, which was good enough to win the AFC West by one game over the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders' key victory was a 20-6 triumph at home over KC in the second-to-last weekend of the regular season.
The Dolphins upset the Raiders in Week 3 20-13 in Miami. Could they do it again?
Dolphins Score First
The Dolphins recovered two Oakland fumbles in the opening minutes. One recovery set up a touchdown that Miami scored on a 16y pass from QB Bob Griese to WR Paul Warfield to cap a two-play drive.

Bob Griese (far right) calls signals.
Oakland Has Secret Agent
DB Jimmy Warren came to Oakland in the fifth week of the season when the Dolphins cut him. "I knew every defense they were in, every coverage they called all day long. I have no idea how much it helped, but I yelled the defense they were playing on every play.
"Coach (Tom) Dahms picked it up, and he was helping me yell too. I could tell when they would blitz and when they would use man-to-man coverage. I thought they'd change their signals, but they didn't. Maybe they thought I was absent minded."
Warren stood on the sideline at the end of the Raider bench where he could get an unob­structed view of Miami defensive coach Bill Arnsparger.
"He was over there waving his arms and making all these funny gestures," said Warren. "They were the same signals they used when I was there."

Charlie Smith runs the ball.
Raiders Tie the Score
Oakland tied the game with only 1:50 left in the half on Darryl Lamonica's 22y pass to WR Fred Biletnikoff. That culminated a 8 play-62y drive. The Dolphins played a deep zone 90% of the time, but this time they tried to surprise Lamonica with man-to-man coverage behind a blitz.

Willie Brown returns interception for touchdown.
Raiders Take the Lead
Neither team scored again until Raiders DB Willie Brown intercepted a Griese pass and ran 50y to the end zone. George Blanda's kick made it 14-7 Raiders with 2:34 left in the third period.
Brown explained: "We were in a zone. I just drop back and read the quarterback. Which­ever way he's looking, I react accordingly. He was looking in the opposite direction, though, and the first thing I know the ball is coming directly at me, and I guess my eyes got this big.
"Next thing I know, I had the ball and four-five Miami guys were coming across in pursuit, and the only thing I was thinking about was the goal line andhow embarrassing it would be for a defensive back to let some guy come and catch you from behind."
Coach Shula: "Griese tried to lay the ball over Willie's head, but he just slipped, and it hung there. Willie had nothing to do but run it in."
It was the Raiders' first defensive touchdown of the season.

Rod Sherman catches touchdown pass.
Sensational Pass Play Extends Lead
From the Oakland 18 after the Raiders recovered a fumble, Lamonica once again took advantage of the Dolphins man-to-man coverage. He threw a long pass that Rod Sherman snagged behind CB Curtis Johnson and ran into the end zone. Blanda's kick made it 21-7 Oakland with 9:34 left in the game.
It was Sherman's first touchdown reception of the season.
Lamonica explained his daring call. "We were anticipating in the huddle that they'd be coming, and they were. It's what they had to do—get to me. The play I called had three options. I had an out, a short corner route by Warren Wells, and I had my halfback out there in the flat in case the linebacker drops off instead of comes. But he was coming, and it left me a man-on-man out there with Rod.
"Man, I got to the line of scrimmage and saw the coverage they had, and I liked it. Our line did a helluva job picking up the rush too.
"Rod made a great move. I saw him go into his final move, and it looked real good. I felt I got everything on the ball, but I didn't see it, really. Some big guy hit me as the ball left my fingers. I just had to rely on crowd noises after that.
"When I got to my feet, he was crossing the goal line, 82 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage. It was a pleasant sight."
Coach John Madden gave Lamonica full credit for calling the pass play, saying with a laugh, "he had three options, and that's not the one I would have taken."
Lamonica: "I saw the defense they had at the time, and I liked it. Sherman was my pri­mary receiver, but I could have thrown a hook to Warren Wells, and I had a back out there in the flat."
Racing at full speed, Sherman got behind rookie defender Curtis Johnson to catch the ball at the Dolphin 43 and continued to the end zone untouched.
"I was just trying to get upfield as fast as I could," said Sherman. "I looked over my shoul­der and saw that Daryle had chosen me."
Shula said that Johnson appeared to be in good position to intercept the ball. "It looked like he just misjudged it."

Ken Stabler calls signals.
Dolphins Cut Lead in Half
Miami cut the deficit back to seven when Griese threw a 7y pass to WR Willie Richardson to end a 69 yard, nine-play drive. Garo Yepremian booted the PAT. Oakland 21 Miami 14 with 4:28 remaining.
The Raiders earned their fourth straight berth in the AFC Championship Game.