MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins knew they had a fine offense. What they discovered in Sunday's 31-0 victory over Kansas City was that they also have a tough defense.
The Dolphins were led by Dan Marino's two touchdown passes and rookie Ron Davenport's two touchdown runs, but the big story was the defense, which recorded its first shutout since 1983--against a team that entered the game leading the NFL in scoring.
"There were more great plays out there defensively than I've been around in a long time," Miami Coach Don Shula said. "I had been hoping and praying we could come up with a big effort on defense and we did."
Marino and the Dolphin offense went to work after intermission--scoring on five of seven possessions after a scoreless first half.
Marino, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 258 yards, tossed third-quarter touchdown passes to Bruce Hardy and Woody Bennett to start the rout.
Miami changed the complexion of the game on the second-half kickoff when Mike Kozlowski took a handoff from return man Lorenzo Hampton on a reverse that gained 32 yards to the Dolphins' 47.
Marino launched Miami's first scoring drive from there, using completions of 23 yards to Nat Moore and 10 yards Hardy to fuel a 5-play, 53-yard march he capped with his scoring toss to Hardy.
Rookie fullback Ron Davenport added touchdowns on fourth-quarter runs of one and three yards, and Fuad Reveiz kicked a 37-yard field goal.
"We didn't do anything differently in the second half," Marino explained. "We just did it better."
The victory was Shula's 100th in the Orange Bowl in 16 seasons with the Dolphins and boosted the defending AFC champions' record to 2-1.
Kansas City, which started the day averaging a NFL-leading 41.5 points per game, fell to 2-1.
"We didn't play as well as we thought we could or hoped to, but you can't take anything away from Miami," Kansas City Coach John Mackovic said.
"Of course we're disappointed, but we can't do anything about it now," he added. "We have to come back next week and do the things we've done in the past."
The Chiefs were coming off impressive victories over the New Orleans Saints and L.A. Raiders and had hoped to use the Miami game to strengthen their credentials as one of the league's up-and-coming teams.
The Dolphins frustrated quarterback Bill Kenney all day long, though, and survived two Chief drives inside the Miami 10.
"I was ineffective. Our receivers were ineffective. We were just ineffective," said Kenney, who completed 19 of 38 passes for 205 yards and was intercepted twice. "We learned we're not good enough to just show up and expect to win."