Dolphins 24, Vikings 20
Sunday, November 19th 2006, 4:02 pm
News On 6
MIAMI (AP) The only time the Miami Dolphins were able to run with the ball was when their defense snatched it away.
Renaldo Hill and Jason Taylor returned turnovers for touchdowns in the 4th quarter, and Miami overcame another sputtering offensive performance to beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-20 Sunday.
Minnesota, ranked first in the NFL in run defense, lost despite setting a team record by limiting the Dolphins to minus 3 yards rushing in 14 carries. Running back Ronnie Brown netted 2 yards in 12 attempts.
Hill returned a fumble 48 yards for Miami's go-ahead score, and Taylor scored on a 51-yard interception return with 3:25 left to tie George Martin's NFL record for linemen with his seventh career touchdown.
The Dolphins (4-6), who had the NFL's worst record less than a month ago, won their third consecutive game. The Vikings (4-6) lost their fourth in a row.
Minnesota was nursing a 13-10 lead with 10 minutes left when Matt Roth jarred the ball loose from Chester Taylor. Hill picked it up, found himself in the clear and sprinted to the end zone.
The Vikings were again at midfield when Jason Taylor sealed the victory, peeling off a blocker to step in front of a screen pass by Brad Johnson and zigzagging untouched for the score.
Chester Taylor scored on a 1-yard run as time expired.
The Dolphins won even though they lost a fumble after reaching the 1, had a 58-yard touchdown pass negated by a penalty and trailed in time of possession by 12 minutes. Their rushing yardage was a franchise low, and a team record for the Minnesota defense.
Quarterback Joey Harrington improved to 1-6 starting against Minnesota, with the losses coming when he played for Detroit. Harrington went 26-42 for 254 yards, but his lone interception almost cost Miami the game.
Antoine Winfield returned the interception 26 yards to the 3, setting up Ryan Longwell's 19-yard field goal three plays later to put Minnesota ahead 13-10.
Harrington went 7-8 on the Dolphins' first possession to help them drive 72 yards to the 1, but Brown lost a fumble and Minnesota's Dwight Smith recovered.
After dodging that threat, the Vikings mounted their longest scoring drive of the season, 96 yards in 12 plays, with Chester Taylor vaulting into the end zone from the 1. It was a surprising series from an offense that has totaled 11 touchdowns in 10 games.
Harrington hit Wes Welker on 3rd down for a 36-yard gain to set up the Dolphins' first touchdown, an 11-yard pass to Justin Peelle that put them ahead 10-7.
Poor field position hurt the Vikings, whose first 6 series began at the 4, 5, 20, 20, 27 and 31.
Vikings coach Brad Childress gambled by going for a 1st down on 4th & 1 at his own 29 late in the 1st half. Johnson made the 1st down on a sneak, but Minnesota punted 3 plays later.