MIAMI GARDENS (AP) — The Miami Dolphins began a possession at their 19-yard line early in the fourth quarter, clinging to a four-point edge and mindful that they had blown late leads in three defeats this year.
The huddle quickly reached a consensus.
“We said to ourselves, ‘Let's finish this game how we want to,’” running back Reggie Bush said.
An 81-yard touchdown drive sealed the victory Sunday and the Dolphins earned their first home victory in 364 days by beating the Washington Redskins 20-9.
The Dolphins (2-7) ended a franchise-record streak of seven consecutive losses in Miami since last Nov. 14 — and they won for the second week in a row.
“The first seven games we were kind of in disarray,” Bush said. “We were trying to find our identity. The difference now is we're playing 60 minutes and finishing at the end of games.”
Bush doubled his touchdown total this season with scoring runs of 1 and 18 yards, and the Dolphins doubled their interception total this year by twice picking off Rex Grossman.
Miami kept the opposition out of the end zone for the second successive week. Possessions by Washington reached the Miami 20, 26, 5 and 10-yard lines but those threats produced only three field goals.
Miami scored the clinching TD on Bush's 18-yard run. He crossed the goal line standing up and heaved the ball into the stands in jubilation.
Happy fans scrambled for the souvenir, a rarity lately in Miami.
“It's nice to see them still support us,” tight end Anthony Fasano said. “We haven't had good showings at home. I couldn't imagine being in their seats.”
Miami quarterback Matt Moore, the AFC offensive player of the week last week, threw an ugly interception and lost a fumble but completed 20 of 29 passes for 209 yards. The Dolphins, who came into the game last in the NFL in third-down conversions, went 8 for 14 in those situations against Washington.
Miami started the game in the wildcat — the first time they've used the tactic this season — but a pass fell incomplete. After the Dolphins took the lead, coach Tony Sparano went conservative and the Dolphins drew boos when they ran out the clock at the end of the first half rather than trying to score.
But nursing the early lead paid off because the Redskins couldn't cash in on their chances.
The Dolphins will take on the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m. Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.
Photo: AP Photo/Hans Deryk
Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 13, in Miami.