MIAMI — For one night, the Miami Dolphins brought the memories flooding back.
With Dan Marino throwing for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns, they looked like the Dolphins of old in trouncing the New York Jets, 45-3, Monday night at the Orange Bowl.
"I always felt we were better than our record indicated, but we never proved it," Coach Don Shula said. "Tonight I felt we proved it."
The Dolphins (6-6), whose only victories this season were over teams with losing records, ended New York's nine-game winning streak by scoring 7 of the first 8 times they had the ball.
Miami controlled the ball for 40 minutes 19 seconds against the Jets (10-2), who scored 51 points against the Dolphins nine weeks ago.
"We did a lot of things right," Marino said. "It gives us a positive feeling to do that against a team with the best record in the NFL."
Marino, who completed 29 of 36 passes, threw touchdowns passes of 22 and 21 yards to Nat Moore, and 1-yard scores to Bruce Hardy and Lorenzo Hampton, who scored three touchdowns.
Marino has 31 touchdown passes, making him the first NFL player to throw for more than 30 touchdowns in each of three seasons.
Hampton rushed for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns in 19 carries and caught 5 passes for 40 yards. He became the first player to run for more than 100 yards against the Jets this year. He started his night with a 54-yard scoring burst on Miami's first possession.
That was the plan--to run against a New York defense missing Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau, Marty Lyons and Lance Mehl.
"We felt that we could run on them and get the balance we need," Shula said. "The Jets' defense has really been hurt. There are some great, great players who didn't play."
Miami was ranked last in the NFL in rushing entering the game and was next-to-last in defense.
The Jets beat the Dolphins earlier, 51-45, in overtime.
This time, the Dolphins limited Ken O'Brien, the league's leading quarterback, to 11 completions in 21 attempts for 168 yards.
The only two New York threats when the game still was in reach ended with Johnny Hector's fumble at the Miami 16 in the first quarter and an interception by Bud Brown after the Jets moved to the Dolphins' 40 in the second period.
"We'll have to see the character of the team," said Jet Coach Joe Walton, whose club is one game ahead of the New England Patriots in the AFC East. "We got knocked down and now we'll have to get back up again."
But all was not perfect for Miami, which lost two starters for the season--Mark Clayton with a separated shoulder and Paul Lankford with a broken leg.
The Dolphins took a 7-0 lead on the sixth play of their first possession. On a third-and-two from their 46, Hampton burst through New York's nine-man front and had no one to stop him for the final 40 yards of his trip to the end zone.
After Brown's interception, the Dolphins marched 86 yards in 12 plays, with Hampton going over the top from the one for the touchdown. Marino was 7 for 7 for 64 yards on the drive.
Hampton's third touchdown came on a one-yard pass from Marino with two seconds left in the first half at the end of a 92-yard, 14-play drive. One play earlier, New York's Harry Hamilton intercepted Marino's pass in the end zone, but the play was nullified by a holding call on the Jets' Jerry Holmes.