The Dolphins offense is coming off a strong performance in the victory over the Baltimore Ravens, but the challenge now is to show some consistency and be able to perform the same way on a weekly basis.

That's not going to be easy against the Chargers on Sunday, but there is reason for optimism that goes beyond the mistake-free performance in the victory over the Ravens.

The truth is the offense has gotten a little bit better every week since Ray Lucas took over at quarterback following Jay Fiedler's thumb injury.

Think about it. The Dolphins were absolutely brutal against Buffalo, they were poor against Green Bay, they were a little bit better against the Jets and then they were impressive in the Baltimore game.

The question now is whether they can continue that upward swing, whether the improvement is a matter of Ray Lucas getting more comfortable and everybody simply playing better around him.

"We're getting better," said running back Ricky Williams. "As a group we're getting more confident and we're executing better. Hopefully we'll keep getting better."

The improvement has come from every facet of the offense, starting with Lucas.

He looked so much more confident in the game against the Ravens and never threw a ball that was in danger of being intercepted, all the while making some plays with his running ability.

Then there's the offensive line, which clearly didn't perform well during the three-game losing streak before dominating up front against Baltimore.

"After you look at the film from the week before (at N.Y. Jets), there was certainly the sense that we weren't carrying our weight," said tackle Mark Dixon. "Whether perceived or real, that's how we felt. It feels good this week to feel like you're a part of this deal.

"The thing is, you can't get drunk with success. You've got to understand that a week ago we were all getting ready to get cut and I was about to go back to Canada. You have to understand where you're at, keep playing hard and keep moving forward."

There have been a couple of other changes on offense.

The wide receivers made a lot of big plays last week, most notably by James McKnight. Ricky Williams was used more often as the third-down back, something Coach Dave Wannstedt said would happen again this week and throughout the rest of the season.

Finally, the Dolphins emphasized the tight end in the passing game, with Randy McMichael and Jed Weaver both coming up with some big gainers.

Wannstedt said McMichael will continue to be a big part of the game plan the rest of the way.

So, yes, there indeed reason to believe the Dolphins have turned the corner on offense.

Not that they'll be rolling over opponents every week.

But at least now the Dolphins have reason to believe the offense won't keep them from winning games anymore.

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