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A Dolphin Greatest-Hits Package

October 07, 2002|From Associated Press

MIAMI — Zach Thomas busted his chin strap tackling Kevin Faulk, one in a series of jarring hits that helped the Miami Dolphins knock the New England Patriots out of first place.

The Dolphins sacked Tom Brady three times, pressured him into mistakes, pounded the middle with Ricky Williams and handed the Patriots their second loss in a row Sunday, 26-13.

The victory left Miami (4-1) alone atop the AFC East. The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots (3-2) fell a game back.

"They have something we want," Dolphin cornerback Patrick Surtain said. "We want to get where they were last year."

Surtain led a resurgent defense that rebounded from a 48-30 loss at Kansas City a week ago. Miami took a 16-0 lead in the first half, when New England totaled only 26 yards and committed two turnovers, and the Dolphins finished with a 20-minute advantage in time of possession.

Williams lost a fumble for the second week in a row but topped 100 yards rushing for the fourth time in five games. He gained 105 tough yards in 36 carries, a team regular-season record.

Jay Fiedler threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, all on third down.

"We were embarrassed last week with what happened," Miami Coach Dave Wannstedt said. "To see our team bounce back in every phase was rewarding."

The Patriots fell to 0-13 in Miami in September and October. They can take some consolation that Sunday's loss was similar to a 30-10 drubbing in Miami a year ago, when Brady threw for 86 yards. The Patriots recovered from that defeat, their worst of the season, and went on to win the Super Bowl.

This time Brady passed for 240 yards, including touchdown throws of 34 and 25 yards to David Patten. But much of his success came in the final eight minutes against a defense that played much better after giving up five touchdown passes to Kansas City's Trent Green a week ago.

"We made too many mistakes in the first half and dug ourselves a hole," New England Coach Bill Belichick said.

Surtain and end Jason Taylor, both of whom have been hobbled by knee injuries, sparked Miami's defense. Taylor had two sacks and forced a fumble by Brady to set up the game's first score, and Surtain's interception led to the next score for a 13-0 lead.

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