Dolphins 33, Raiders 21
“I think Vonnie’s trying to steal it,” Taylor kidded.
Not that it mattered much. Miami’s two menacing defensive linemen just smiled and settled for three sacks apiece, appreciative of each other’s fine work.
The Dolphins’ smothering defense put relentless pressure on Kerry Collins to give this frustrated franchise a much-needed morale boost.
Taylor had three of the seven sacks, including a safety, Gus Frerotte threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns, and the Dolphins snapped a three-game losing streak with a 33-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
“All in all, when you pressure a quarterback and when you get hits on him and take him out of a rhythm, it’s tough for him to get going and their offense to get going,” Taylor said.
Ricky Williams broke open for a 34-yard touchdown run with 3:50 to play to help Miami to its sixth straight regular-season victory over the Raiders.
One week after an embarrassing 22-0 defeat to Cleveland, Taylor and company answered first-year coach Nick Saban’s call for more spirited play from a Dolphins team (4-7) that had lost six of seven games since starting the season winning two of three.
Collins again tried to rally his team late, but failed to hit an open Jerry Porter on a third-and-1 with Oakland down two points, and turned the ball over on the Raiders’ next two possessions.
After Collins missed Porter, Miami drove the ball 80 yards, getting 56 on the ground from Williams on the way to his second touchdown of the season and a nine-point lead.
“Victories have been hard to come by this year,” Williams said. “I think when we can, late in the game, stick together and pull one out it’s going to help our confidence.”
Collins started the fourth quarter with an 18-yard run for the longest TD rushing of his career and spiked the ball in celebration.
“We were sick about that,” Holliday said. “Kerry Collins is not the fastest guy, first of all.”
The Raiders (4-7) revealed their frustration for a public audience in the waning moments. Defensive tackle Ted Washington was yelling and gesturing toward defensive end Tommy Kelly before Randy Moss stepped in and tried to break up the disagreement.
“Everything’s cool,” Washington said afterward.
Collins finished 21-for-37 for 226 yards and LaMont Jordan ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns, but the Raiders missed a chance to win back-to-back games for the second time this season. They rallied for an emotional 16-13 victory at Washington last week in coach Norv Turner’s reunion with the Redskins, his former employer.
“I don’t point fingers,” defensive end Bobby Hamilton said. “We won in Washington in a hostile environment. We’ve got to learn to come back at home and start playing with that same motivation.”
Taylor and Holliday handled the bulk of the load for the Dolphins’ injury-depleted defense, which was missing linebackers Junior Seau (out for the season with a calf injury) and Zach Thomas (shoulder).
Taylor sacked Collins in the end zone on Oakland’s first drive of the second half, and Frerotte threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Randy McMichael late in the third.
The Raiders had a 34-yard touchdown called back because Doug Gabriel stepped out of bounds running a pattern, then came back in to make the catch. But Oakland recovered and Jordan rushed for an 8-yard TD to pull the Raiders to 16-14.
“Let’s just call it what it is: We came out flat,” Jordan said. “We’re not going to the playoffs. It’s the first time all year I can say that.”
Frerotte, who didn’t start last Sunday because of a sprained right index finger but still played, connected on a 44-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Gilmore on Miami’s opening drive.
Collins completed long passes to Porter, Alvis Whitted and Moss early in the second quarter during Oakland’s first scoring drive, capped by Jordan’s 1-yard TD plunge that tied the game at 7.
Ronnie Brown scored on a 1-yard run 32 seconds before halftime to give the Dolphins a 14-7 lead.
The Raiders played without defensive tackle Warren Sapp, placed on injured reserve Saturday with a torn right rotator cuff.
Miami moved offensive coordinator Scott Linehan down onto the field for the first time this season. “That worked for us,” Saban said. … Oakland punter Shane Lechler extended his streak with a punt of 50 yards or more to 32 games. … Oakland S Reggie Tongue tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.