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Pro Football Week 11 | MIAMI 13, CAROLINA 9

Patience in Rushing Works for Dolphins

November 16, 1998|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The results suggest the Miami Dolphins are on the right track by trying to develop a stronger rushing game.

On the day they had their best rushing output of the season, the Dolphins took sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

Karim Abdul-Jabbar rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown and the Dolphins ended a three-game road losing streak with a 13-9 victory over Carolina on Sunday.

"Everybody likes to watch you throw the ball, but it's hard to argue with the effectiveness of running it," Miami guard Mark Dixon said after the Dolphins improved to 6-1 when they get at least 100 yards rushing. "It opens up the whole game for you when you can do the job on the ground."

Miami (7-3) finished with season highs of 40 carries and 184 yards rushing. The Dolphins had five rushing plays of at least 10 yards, including bursts by Abdul-Jabbar of 30, 23 and 22 yards.

"Days like this are an offensive lineman's dream," Dixon said. "It gets everybody's confidence up."

Miami blew fourth-quarter leads in each of its previous two road games, but had held on against the Panthers (1-9).

"They basically tell you what they're doing, and it's up to you to do whatever it takes to stop it," Carolina defensive end Sean Gilbert said. "They basically just stood up and punched us right in the face."

Rookie John Avery had 53 yards rushing in 12 carries for the Dolphins, whose victory combined with the New York Jets' loss gave them a one-game lead in the AFC East.

"They were giving us some problems with their pass rush," Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson said of the Panthers. "So rather than taking the negative plays, we stayed with the running game."

Abdul-Jabbar set the tone on the game's opening possession, an 11-play, 92-yard drive that was powered by seven rushes for 69 yards. Abdul-Jabbar carried five times for 55 yards, finishing off the drive with a one-yard touchdown burst to give the Dolphins a lead they never relinquished. Olindo Mare had two 22-yard field goals for Miami.

"A few times we were just pushing them off the ball, and another few times I used cutbacks here and there," Abdul-Jabbar said. "We had some good blocking."

Carolina, losing for the seventh time in eight home games dating to last season, was held to three field goals by John Kasay.

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