tampabay.com

Dolphins defense shows spirit, skill

Associated Press
Published November 28, 2005


OAKLAND, Calif. - Jason Taylor razzed Vonnie Holliday for receiving a freebie sack Taylor is certain should have gone to someone else.

"I think Vonnie's trying to steal it," Taylor kidded.

Not that it mattered much. Miami's two menacing defensive linemen just smiled and settled for three sacks apiece, appreciative of each other's fine work.

The Dolphins' smothering defense put relentless pressure on Kerry Collins to give this frustrated franchise a much-needed morale boost.

Taylor had three of the seven sacks, including a safety, and Gus Frerotte threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns as the Dolphins snapped a three-game losing streak.

"All in all, when you pressure a quarterback and when you get hits on him and take him out of a rhythm, it's tough for him to get going and their offense to get going," Taylor said.

Ricky Williams broke open for a 34-yard touchdown run with 3:50 to play to help Miami to its sixth straight regular-season victory over the Raiders.

One week after losing 22-0 to Cleveland, Taylor and company answered first-year coach Nick Saban's call for more spirited play from a team that had lost six of seven.

Collins again tried to rally his team late but failed to hit an open Jerry Porter on third and 1 with Oakland down two and turned the ball over on the Raiders' next two possessions.

After Collins missed Porter, Miami drove 80 yards, getting 56 on the ground from Williams on the way to his second touchdown of the season and a nine-point lead.

"Victories have been hard to come by this year," Williams said. "I think when we can, late in the game, stick together and pull one out it's going to help our confidence."

The Raiders revealed their frustration publicly in the waning moments. Defensive tackle Ted Washington, of Tampa Bay Tech, was yelling and gesturing toward defensive end Tommy Kelly before Randy Moss stepped in and tried to break up the disagreement.

"Everything's cool," Washington said afterward.

Taylor and Holliday handled the bulk of the load for the Dolphins' injury-depleted defense, which missed linebackers Junior Seau (out for the season with a calf injury) and Zach Thomas (shoulder).

Taylor sacked Collins in the end zone on Oakland's first drive of the second half, and Frerotte threw a 26-yard touchdown to Randy McMichael late in the third.

NOTABLE: Oakland safety Reggie Tongue tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.