There was the one-point loss at Cleveland in Week 2 when the season still held so much promise. The 15-point lead that evaporated in an 18-15 overtime loss to Denver two weeks ago. The seven-point lead that went away last week in a 20-17 defeat to the New York Giants.
It all made what transpired Sunday that much more satisfying.
Matt Moore threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns, two to tight end Anthony Fasano and another to Brandon Marshall. Reggie Bush ran for 92 yards and another score. The Dolphins' defense shut down the Kansas City Chiefs' offense and the result was a 31-3 victory.
Finally, for the first time in 10 regular-season games.
“Instead of hanging around and waiting for the guys on the other side to screw it up, our team just put it in their own hands. That's what I've been waiting to see,” beleaguered Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. “That's the daring part.”
The Dolphins looked nothing like one of two winless teams left in the NFL on a sun-splashed day at Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs looked nothing like a team that had won four straight.
Matt Cassel was 20 of 39 for 253 yards, despite facing a Miami secondary missing cornerback Vontae Davis and that had backup Nolan Carroll leave several times with a hamstring injury.
The Dolphins' relentless front spent most of the afternoon in Cassel's face, sacking him five times and forcing the slow-footed quarterback to scramble nine more times. The Chiefs came into the game having allowed 13 sacks all season, tied for sixth-best in the league.
“We got beat in all three phases,” Cassel said.
The result may have surprised everyone but the Dolphins.
After all, they've been in just about every game this season, leading seven of the eight. And with Moore gaining confidence, an athletic wide receiver corps and the re-emergence of Bush — the former No. 2 overall draft pick — Miami could pose a threat to everyone left on its schedule.
“They're a good team and they played really well,” Chiefs linebacker Andy Studebaker said. “You look at what they did as a team, and you can see it was a team win for them. They executed better than we did and that cost us the game.”
A WIN AT LAST: Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) gets past Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Jovan Belcher (59) during the first half of their NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday, Nov. 6.