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Suddenly, the Dolphins are breezing to three wins in a row

Miami has the wind in its sails after crushing Buffalo to become the third team in NFL history to win three consecutive after starting 0-7. Also trending upward: Detroit and Oakland.

November 20, 2011|Sam Farmer
  • Dolphins running back Reggie Bush hauls in a pass over Bills linebacker Kelvin Sheppard in the first half Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.
Dolphins running back Reggie Bush hauls in a pass over Bills linebacker… (Steve Mitchell / US Presswire )

The second wind of the Miami Dolphins is more like a gale-force howler.

The Dolphins stormed to their third consecutive victory Sunday — a 35-8 crushing of the Buffalo Bills — further distancing themselves from their 0-7 start. Miami is the third team in NFL history to win three in a row after losing its first seven.

"You can see how good we can be," safety Yeremiah Bell said. "This is where we expected to be at the beginning of the season. It just took us awhile."

And South Florida isn't the only place finally heading north. That fickle arrow is once again pointing up for the Detroit Lions, who beat Carolina in a 49-35 shootout (the highest-scoring game of the season), and the Oakland Raiders, who won at Minnesota, 27-21, to tighten their grip on first place in the AFC West.

The Dallas Cowboys needed more than a second wind to win at Washington — their third consecutive victory — they needed an oxygen mask. The Redskins rallied to force overtime, then narrowly missed a 52-yard field-goal attempt in the extra period, setting the stage for Dan Bailey's 39-yarder that clinched a 27-24 victory.

So, for the first time in franchise history, the Cowboys have won two overtime games in a season.

No turkey of a lineup

In keeping with NFL tradition, Dallas and Detroit will play host to Thanksgiving games. Not only are the Cowboys and Lions coming off wins, but so are all four of the other teams playing in the three games on Thursday — San Francisco, Baltimore, Miami and Green Bay.

When the 49ers' Jim Harbaugh squares off against the Ravens' John Harbaugh, it will be the first time brothers have faced each other as NFL head coaches.

Thanks for the help

The play clock almost ran out on the Cowboys when they were lining up for Bailey's winning field goal in overtime. Just before the snap, Tony Romo — the holder — signaled for a timeout.

Problem was, the Cowboys didn't have a timeout left, so that should have been a penalty that pushed back the kick five yards.

Fortunately for Dallas, the Redskins simultaneously called a timeout in hopes of icing the kicker.

The Cowboys weren't penalized, and Bailey barely made his kick. It was nearly wide right, and might have missed had he been kicking from 44 yards instead of 39.

Another flag day

Penalties continue to be a problem for the Raiders, who lead the league in that department and Sunday had 12 for 117 yards, including four personal fouls for hits deemed illegal.

Coach Hue Jackson doesn't think his team was treated fairly against the Vikings and intends to call the league about it.

"I understand that I am a rookie coach and maybe I don't get all the calls," he said. "But there is no way some of the things that happened should happen.

"Sometimes I would get talked to as if they didn't know what I was asking. I just don't think it was fair. I asked several times for explanations and wouldn't get them. . . . We can't get the ref over here when there is a break in the action, but he is over there on the other bench having conversations with them. I have a hard time with that."

Play of the day

Tampa Bay lost at Green Bay, but Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount had the highlight of the season with a 54-yard touchdown run on which he broke at least seven tackles. He celebrated by taking a few steps toward a fake Lambeau Leap, then taunting fans by flicking the football at them (it bounced back into the area behind the end zone).

Stat of the day

Arizona, like San Francisco's previous nine opponents this season, did not score a rushing touchdown. According to NBC, the 49ers are only the third team since 1930 to deny opponents a touchdown on the ground through 10 games.

A hair too slow

Cincinnati's Adam Jones — formerly known as Pacman — found an effective way to bring down Baltimore receiver Torrey Smith. He latched on to Smith's long hair and yanked him to the turf — a first for Smith, one of many players around the league to wear their hair that way.

Officials threw a flag, thinking it was a horse-collar tackle, but quickly picked it up, as tackling a player by his hair is legal because the hair is considered an extension of the uniform. There just seems to be an unspoken rule that you don't make tackles that way; otherwise, we'd see them every week.

The tackle got the attention of Smith's teammates.

"They were like, 'Did you lose a few dreads?' " Smith said. "No, I didn't lose anything."

Scary hit

Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was injured when he was inadvertently kneed in the back of the head by Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson. The hit knocked the helmet off Heyward-Bey, and he was carted off the field on a backboard.

After the game, Jackson said that the receiver had total movement in his limbs and that the diagnosis was a neck injury.

"He's going to be fine," the coach said. "I truly believe he's going to be OK, but obviously we have to take all the precautionary measures to make sure he's going to be OK."

Slammed Diego

For every team that's trending up, there's one in a downward spiral, and nobody (this side of Indianapolis) is circling the drain quite like the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers lost at Chicago, 31-20, and it was an ugly one. Twice in the fourth quarter, the Chargers had a chance to make things interesting, and both times those hopes were quickly dashed when bad throws by Philip Rivers were picked off.

San Diego ran four plays in the fourth quarter — four! — and two of those were intercepted passes.

Rivers has been intercepted a career-high 17 times, and the Chargers haven't picked up a victory since winning at Denver on Oct. 9. Now, they meet Denver again, with the Tim Tebow-powered Broncos riding a three-game winning streak and San Diego in a five-game tailspin.

The Chargers have had 14 turnovers during their slide, and if they lose to Denver they might as well call it a season.

No need for a second wind if you don't have a pulse.

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