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Dolphins hold of Rams, reach .500

The SportsXchange

MIAMI GARDENS -- Greg the Leg made it interesting.

St. Louis Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a potential NFL-record 66-yard field goal on the final play of the game to allow the Miami Dolphins to escape with a 17-14 win Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium.

The Rams moved from their own 3 to the Dolphins' 48-yard line in eight plays over the final 1:41, but they didn't quite get close enough to force overtime.

"I was just hoping he made it," Rams running back Steven Jackson said. "I wish we could have given him a little more room. He gave a good shot at it."

The miss was the third of the game for Zuerlein, who made the first 15 to open his career after being drafted in the sixth round out of Missouri Western.

"We had a good wind," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "The odds of Greg making that kick from that distance I thought were much (better) than us making that fourth down."

The Dolphins, back home for the first time in three weeks, climbed back to .500 with a second straight win. They enter their bye week at 3-3 and feeling good about their prospects of ending a run of three consecutive losing seasons.

The Rams, in their first season under Fisher, dropped to 3-3 overall and 0-3 on the road. They were coming off a Thursday night game but failed to take advantage of the extra rest.

Fisher turned down the Dolphins' coaching job in January after taking more than week to mull his options. He dropped to 3-8 all-time against the Dolphins, who were outgained 462-192 in total yardage yet managed to survive.

"If you look at the stat sheet, you'd be surprised we came out on top in this game," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "You have to give them credit. We obviously have to do a better job in the running game. We're used to the other side of that coin, where we're shutting down the run and running the ball effectively."

The Dolphins had just 19 yards rushing, while their league-leading rush defense allowed a season-high 162 yards.

Rams rookie Daryl Richardson broke off a 44-yard run in the first quarter that was easily the longest against Miami this season.

"It was kind of a grind-it-out game," Philbin said. "Have to hand it to our guys for hanging in there, making plays when we had to and taking good care of the football."

By halftime, the Rams had 137 rushing yards, 44 more than the previous high for a full game against the Dolphins this year, set by the Jets in Week 3.

A 1-yard sneak by Sam Bradford, who added a two-point conversion pass to Jackson, pulled the Rams within 17-14 with 8:30 remaining.

The Dolphins opened a 17-6 lead on the first drive of the second half. Ryan Tannehill went 7-for-8 passing on the drive for 53 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano.

That was Tannehill's second touchdown pass of the day. His first covered 29 yards to little-used wide receiver Marlon Moore with 5:27 left in the first half. Tannehill finished 21-for-29 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Dan Carpenter added a 42-yard field goal after the Rams fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Miami's Marcus Thigpen recovered at the St. Louis 25-yard-line.

Zuerlein made two field goals in the first quarter to extend his career start to 15 straight makes, but he hooked misses from 52 and 37 yards in the second quarter to slow the visitors' momentum.

NOTES: Dolphins greats Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas were inducted into the team's Honor Roll at halftime. Former defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger, the other member of this year's class, will be inducted later this season. Taylor, No. 6 all-time on the NFL sacks list, thanked all his former Dolphins teammates but mentioned just one by name: former defensive tackle Tim Bowens. Former Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson, in a taped video message to the crowd, called Thomas and Taylor "the two greatest players I ever coached." ... Miami rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon left the game with a left ankle injury in the second quarter but later returned. ... Veteran receiver Jabar Gaffney was inactive for the second straight week since signing with the Dolphins. ... Dolphins cornerback Richard Marshall missed his second straight game because of a back injury, while second-year running back Daniel Thomas missed his second game this year due to a concussion. .. Linebacker Mario Haggan (thigh) and wide receiver Danny Amendola (collarbone) were among the Rams' inactive players.
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