Published December 04, 2011
MIAMI – Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis blitzed from the blind side for his first career sack, then dashed upfield in jubilation. A dazed Carson Palmer rose slowly, looked back at Davis and did a double take, as if startled to discover his tackler was a 5-foot-11 cornerback.
The Dolphins are full of surprises lately.
Once-woeful Miami won for the fourth time in the past five games Sunday by beating Oakland 34-14. Reggie Bush ran for 100 yards and a touchdown, Matt Moore had a hand in two TDs and Kevin Burnett returned an interception 34 yards for Miami's final score.
The surge by the Dolphins (4-8) comes after they lost their first seven games. In the past five weeks they've outscored opponents 139-54, with the lone loss a one-point defeat at Dallas on Thanksgiving.
"We've been on a wild ride here," Moore said.
"We've had our ups and downs," Bush added, "but I couldn't be more proud."
The Raiders (7-5) fell into a tie with Denver atop the AFC West, and the rout ended their three-game winning streak. Oakland fell to 6-25 in regular-season games in the Eastern Time Zone since December 2002.
"We couldn't run. We couldn't stop the run. We didn't pass very well," coach Hue Jackson said. "Just a bad day at the office."
The rout takes some luster off Oakland's next game against unbeaten Green Bay.
Miami — a team that totaled four touchdowns during one five-game stretch — secured the victory with a 21-point third quarter, including two TDs in a 20-second span. The Dolphins led 34-0 before Palmer threw two touchdown passes in the last eight minutes.
By the final period, the Dolphins were feeling frisky. Bush took a jarring hit from linebacker Aaron Curry trying to catch a pass, then showed his resilience by rolling onto his stomach and doing five pushups.
"I just wanted to let them know their hits weren't going to affect me at all," Bush said.
"One of the biggest reasons we're playing so well is we're having a lot of fun," Burnett added.
Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour was ejected for throwing a punch as the Dolphins drove for the score that put them up 27-0.
"I apologize to the team, to our players and to Raider nation," Seymour said. "I wasn't there to finish the game with my teammates."
Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain played three days after he was arrested on misdemeanor assault, firearms and other charges in his Alabama hometown. He made eight tackles, but that wasn't nearly enough to slow Miami.
"We didn't play well. That's on me," Jackson said. "It's not about coming to the East, and it's not about anything that happened this week. It's my fault. I didn't get them ready."
The Raiders came into the game last in the league in yards allowed per run and were outgained on the ground 209 yards to 46. Bush reached the 100-yard rushing mark for the third time in his career, and Daniel Thomas added 73 yards.
Miami scored twice before Oakland had a first down. The Raiders' best starting position all day was their 28-yard line, and they had the ball for less than 22 minutes, in part because they went 2 for 11 on third down.
The Dolphins took a 13-0 lead by scoring on their first three possessions. The first two ended in field goals, and a 63-yard march culminated with Moore's 12-yard scoring pass to Davone Bess.
The halftime break didn't slow Miami's momentum. Clyde Gates returned the second-half kickoff 77 yards, and two plays later Bush scored on a 1-yard run for a 20-0 lead.
Moore capped a 91-yard drive by scoring on a 6-yard keeper. Miami struck again when Burnett intercepted a tipped pass, weaved upfield and dove across the goal line.
"Kevin looked like a running back," Moore said. "It's so much fun watching our defense play."
Palmer went 20 for 41 despite late scoring passes of 40 yards to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and 3 yards to Darrius Heyward-Bey.
"They meant nothing," Palmer said.
Notes: Jackson said Raiders injured included tight end Kevin Boss (hip pointer), defensive tackle John Henderson (knee) and receiver Chaz Schilens (foot). Jackson and the Raiders provided no further information. ... The late Jim Mandich, a Dolphins tight end and broadcaster, joined the team's honor roll during a halftime ceremony. ... The margin of victory was Miami's largest against Oakland. ... Burnett has four career interceptions and has returned three for scores.