The Miami Dolphins did it with defense in Thursday night's 17-10 victory over the New England Patriots, overcoming an offense that tried to give the game away.
"The way we played offensively was about as bad as you can play and still survive," Miami Coach Don Shula said.The offense managed only one touchdown on Sammie Smith's 2-yard crash over the middle and Pete Stoyanovich's 47-yard field goal. The Miami special teams scored on Mark Higgs' blocked punt and 19-yard return.
While the Dolphin attack was managing only 50 yards on the ground and 279 in the air, the defense was holding the Pats (1-5) to even lower numbers. New England rushed for only 49 yards and quarterback Marc Wilson passed for 148.
"Our defense I thought really did a great job and and kept battling them," Shula said.
Miami (5-1) lost the ball in the first half on fumbles by tight end Ferrell Edmunds, and running backs Sammie Smith, Troy Stradford and Marc Logan. In addition, Dan Marino threw an interception.
But New England (1-5) netted only 34 yards in the first half. Wilson completed only three passes in 10 attempts for 20 yards in the first two quarters.
"Without a doubt, when the offense is struggling like that, especially turning the ball over, it's going to put pressure on the defense," cornerback Tim McKyer said. "Our job is to keep people from scoring regardless of what kind of circumstances you have to overcome and we managed to get it done tonight."
The Patriots found their offense after intermission and closed to within a touchdown with 6:18 left when Wilson and George Adams hooked up for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 4. It was the second fourth-down conversion of the 53-yard drive.
Earlier, the Patriots advanced on fourth-and-two at the Miami 21 when McKyer was called for pass interference on receiver Greg McMurtry.
Later, the Patriots tried again on fourth-and-one with 3:25 left in the game. But this time Wilson's quarterback sneak was stopped by linebacker David Griggs and end T.J. Turner.
The Patriots only score in the first half came on Jason Staurovsky's 41-yard field goal. Stoyanovich kicked a 47-yarder for Miami in addition to Higgs' blocked punt and 19-yard return and Smith's score.
Staurovsky's field goal came at the end of a 45-yard drive that started when cornerback Ronnie Lippett's second fumble recovery in four plays.
Stoyanovich's field goal in the second quarter tied the score at 3-3. It came after the Dolphins drove 35 yards from their own 35 to the New England 30. Two minutes later, Higgs broke free up the middle and blocked Brian Hansen's punt, picked up the ball at the 19 and raced untouched into the end zone.