AP Sports Writer
MIAMI GARDENS — The stands were mostly deserted in the final minutes, the outcome a foregone conclusion, as has often been the case at Miami Dolphins home games the past couple of years.
Lately, however, the fans are heading home happy.
Matt Moore threw three touchdown passes, a ball-hawking defense set up two TDs and the Dolphins' improbable midseason turnaround gained momentum Sunday when they routed the reeling Buffalo Bills 35-8.
After losing their first seven games, the Dolphins (3-7) have three consecutive victories for the first time since 2008. Success is suddenly routine.
“We're not sitting here saying, ‘Holy cow, we played pretty good,’” linebacker Jason Taylor said. “It's a great win. They all are. I've never seen a bad one. But we're not really bouncing off the walls about it.”
An improving defense has led the surge by keeping the opposition out of the end zone for three consecutive games, which Miami has won by a combined score of 86-20.
“You can see how good we can be,” said safety Yeremiah Bell, who made an interception. “This is where we expected to be at the beginning of the season. It just took us awhile.”
The fiercest hits by Dolphins defenders sent Bills helmets flying. Miami, who came into the game tied for last in the league with four interceptions, twice picked off passes that deflected off receivers. Both turnovers led to touchdowns.
“I wouldn't want to play against our defense,” Miami receiver Brandon Marshall said. “It seems like every time the ball was in the air, there was a big hit.”
The fifth and final TD came on a blocked punt by Chris Clemons which Lex Hilliard recovered on the goal line for a 35-6 lead. The score on a blocked punt was Miami's first since 1990.
Photo: AP Photo/Hans Deryk
Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) is lifted by his teammates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 20 in Miami.
Miami mounted a goal-line stand midway through the second half, stopping the Bills four times after they had a first down at the 2.
The Dolphins scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and led 21-3 after 18 minutes. Moore threw little after that and finished 14 for 20 for 160 yards, with a passer rating of 133.3.
“Guys around me are making big plays and making it easy for the quarterback,” Moore said. “It's such a good feeling.”
With this victory, the Dolphins became the third NFL team to win three consecutive games at any point after starting a season 0-7.