Still Finding Ways

Those who weren't happy about the Dolphins winning tight, low-scoring games in recent games should be happy just about now after the Dolphins won a high-scoring affair at Kansas City. And just as the offense underperformed in some of those games, Sunday it was the defense's turn to have an off game. Yet the bottom line remained the same.

The Dolphins yet again found a way to win a close and came up with the big plays -- on offense and defense -- in the fourth quarter.

On defense, it was guys like Nathan Jones, Matt Roth and Renaldo Hill who delivered in the clutch and helped the Dolphins hold Kansas City to a mere field goal in the second half after a horrid defensive performance in the first two quarters.

On offense, it was -- who else? -- Chad Pennington.

He was impressive again on Sunday, engineering a beauty of a drive that gave the Dolphins the 38-31 lead in the fourth quarter.

He finished with a 111 passer rating and only added to the argument that he should have been selected to the Pro Bowl instead of Brett Favre.

He also got some help Sunday, mostly from his tight ends, Anthony Fasano and David Martin.

Fasano had two touchdowns, both coming on plays where he did some great work after the catch, while Martin made a nice catch in the end zone on a throw where Pennington again showed tremendous touch.

The Dolphins used a couple of reverses on offense for big gains in the running game, and that also helped Pennington.

But in the end, it came down to him making plays, as it always does.

And he delivered, yet again.

This had the potential of a dangerous game for the Dolphins because the Chiefs had played much better in recent weeks and because of the brutal weather conditions.

Early on, after Patrick Cobbs' 60-yard kickoff return to open the game and Ted Ginn Jr.'s 31-yard touchdown run, it looked as though it might be a rout for the Dolphins, even more so after Andre' Goodman picked off Tyler Thigpen on Kansas City's first possession.

But the Dolphins began having problems with Kansas City's offense, whether it was keeping from getting moved off the line of scrimmage, misplaying floating passes or simply tackling poorly.

The first half, when the Dolphins gave up 347 yards to the Chiefs, might have bee the worst we've since this defense play all season.

Again, maybe it was the weather conditions. Or maybe it was the absence of linebacker Channing Crowder, who sat out because of a minor knee injury.

Whatever it was, it was troubling.

But somehow things changed on defense in the second half, and the Dolphins stiffened. That allowed the Dolphins to leave Kansas City with a victory.

That makes it eight victories in nine games for the Dolphins, who are now one victory away from winning the AFC East. That victory will have to be against the New York Jets, who have slumped in recent weeks since a victory at Tennessee had some suggesting they were headed to the Super Bowl.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, have just kept rolling. It hasn't always been pretty, but they don't give style points.

And, really, who in Miami is going to complain about how the Dolphins are winning? They keep winning, and that's just beautiful.

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