Joe Philbin earned a sideline dousing as time expired and a game ball in the Miami Dolphins' jubilant locker room, thanks to an achievement neither of his immediate predecessors managed: He won a home opener.
Thanks to Reggie Bush and a stout defense, the Dolphins dominated on the ground Sunday and beat the Oakland Raiders 35-13.
The victory was Philbin's first as a head coach, and Miami's first in a home opener since 2005. Tony Sparano's teams lost their first home game each of the past four seasons, and Cam Cameron started 0-13 in his lone year as coach in 2007.
"It's great for the entire organization," Philbin said. "I feel happy for our players that all their hard work and effort paid off."
The Dolphins improved to 1-1. The Raiders, under new coach Dennis Allen, are 0-2 for the first time since 2007.
Bush ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns to help Miami outgain Oakland on the ground 259-23.
"Our identity right now is we've got to run the ball effectively and stop the run," Philbin said.
Mistake-free play at quarterback helped, too. Ryan Tannehill threw his first NFL touchdown pass, ran for another and avoided any turnovers after deflections and three interceptions tarnished his pro debut a week earlier.
What did the Dolphins do in practice to curtail Tannehill's tendency to have passes batted at the line of scrimmage?
"We actually brought in 12 guys with huge tennis rackets," Tannehill said. "Nah, I'm joking. ... It was not something we freaked out about."
Bush broke four tackles on a 23-yard touchdown run that put the Dolphins ahead to stay in the third quarter. After they forced a punt, Bush struck again, this time on a 65-yard scoring run.
"Thats how you run the damn football!!!" rookie tackle Jonathan Martin tweeted shortly after the game.
Far from home on a sweltering afternoon, the Raiders wilted down the stretch. Miami employed a no-huddle approach most of the game and pulled away in the final 20 minutes by mounting touchdown drives of 80, 80 and 75 yards.
"We felt our tempo would be a key," Bush said. "We pressed that tempo and felt like we wore them down and just continued to pound the ball."
Carson Palmer threw for 373 yards, but the Raiders were plagued by poor field position and managed only one touchdown — when backup running back Mike Goodson took a swing pass and turned it into a 64-yard score.
"You'd like to get better field position," Palmer said. "Days like that, you've got to find ways to score points, and we didn't do that."
The Dolphins trailed 10-7 in the third quarter before finally taking advantage of superior field position, when they had the Raiders pinned at their 1 and forced a punt that gave them the ball at the Oakland 44.
Four plays later, Bush scored the go-ahead touchdown either because of terrific balance or terrible tackling, depending on a spectator's point of view. He cut inside and ran through the arms of four defenders en route to the goal line.
His second TD came on a sweep behind Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long. Bush broke into the open, dashed up the sideline and leaped over the goal line as three defenders closed in, then raised his arms in jubilation.
The happy crowd chanted "Reg-gie! Reg-gie!"
"The last few years we haven't done a good enough job at home, so it feels good to get one for the fans," Long said.
The festive mood was a welcome change for the Dolphins, rebuilding after a third consecutive losing season and coming off their most lopsided season-opening loss since 1988.
"We talked all week about bouncing back and just winning one game," Bush said. "This game is huge for our confidence."
Allen declined to blame the heat or long trip, or his team's short week after a loss Monday.
"I'm not going to use those factors as a crutch," he said. "We've got to coach better and play better and they were the better team today. They outexecuted us, and we've got to do a better job."
NOTES: Raiders CB Shawntae Spencer sprained his foot in the second half, and RB Taiwan Jones hurt his ribs. ... Dolphins CB Richard Marshall left the game with a back injury. ... Oakland long snapper Jon Condo returned after missing practice during the week with a concussion. ... The Dolphins lined up for a 55-yard field goal try, and Dan Carpenter instead took a direct snap and kicked a pooch punt to the 8.
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