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Defense strikes twice, Miami wins again

MIAMI (Nov. 19, 2006) -- Jason Taylor zigzagged through the open field, waved the ball in his left hand and leaped across the goal line to finish with a flourish.

Looking more like breakaway runners than defensive players, Taylor and cornerback Renaldo Hill were the best ball carriers the Miami Dolphins had Sunday.

Taylor and Hill returned turnovers for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and Miami overcame another sputtering offensive performance to beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-20.

The Vikings, ranked first in the NFL in run defense, lost despite setting a team record by limiting the Dolphins to minus-3 yards rushing in 14 carries. Running back Ronnie Brown netted 2 yards in 12 attempts.

The last time a team won with such a poor rushing total was on Oct. 29, 1961, when Philadelphia beat Washington 27-24 with minus 12 yards.

"They shut down one half of our offense," quarterback Joey Harrington said. "We threw well enough to win. And yeah, we got some help from J.T. and Renaldo."

Hill returned a fumble 48 yards for Miami's go-ahead score, and Taylor scored on a 51-yard interception return with 3:25 left to tie George Martin's NFL record for linemen with his seventh career touchdown.

The Dolphins (4-6), who had the league's worst record less than a month ago, won their third consecutive game.

"When we were sitting there at 1-6, nobody gave us a chance to win another game," Harrington said.

The Vikings (4-6) lost their fourth game in a row, committing three turnovers in the final period.

"We had the game in hand until we self-destructed in the fourth quarter," quarterback Brad Johnson said.

Minnesota was nursing a 13-10 lead with 10 minutes left when Chester Taylor lost a fumble for the second consecutive series. Hill picked the ball up, found himself in the clear and sprinted to the end zone.

"I'm just glad I was able to scoop and score," Hill said.

The Vikings were again at midfield when Jason Taylor sealed the victory, peeling off a blocker to step in front of a screen pass by Johnson and sprinting untouched for the score.

"He's unbelievable," Johnson said. "I asked him, and he said he read the scheme. I felt we had him blocked. I never saw him until after he made the play."

Taylor has had a hand in seven turnovers this season and has scored twice.

"He might replace Barry Sanders as my all-time favorite player," teammate Andre Goodman said. "It's amazing the type of year he's having."

Taylor said he sensed a big play coming.

"I hadn't been feeling good all game," he said. "I didn't feel like I was in a groove. Before that play I told the official, `I'm about to do something outrageous."'

Chester Taylor scored on a 1-yard run as time expired.

The Dolphins won even though they lost a fumble after reaching the 1, had a 58-yard touchdown pass negated by a penalty and trailed in time of possession by 12 minutes. Their rushing yardage was a franchise low, and a team record for the Vikings defense.

Harrington went 26-for-42 for 254 yards with one score. He improved to 1-6 starting against the Vikings, with the losses coming when he played for Detroit.

"There has been a bit of a something against those guys," Harrington said. "It's nice to beat them."

His lone interception almost cost Miami the game. Antoine Winfield returned the interception 26 yards to the 3, setting up Ryan Longwell's 19-yard field goal three plays later to put Minnesota ahead 13-10.

Harrington went 7-for-8 on the Dolphins' first possession to help them drive 72 yards to the 1, but Brown lost a fumble and Minnesota's Dwight Smith recovered.

After dodging that threat, the Vikings mounted their longest scoring drive of the season -- 96 yards in 12 plays -- with Chester Taylor vaulting into the end zone from the 1.

But the Vikings struggled to move the ball the rest of the day, and Winfield acknowledged frustration with his offense.

"The guys need to be more accountable and go out there to do what we need to do," he said.

Notes: The Dolphins came away with their longest injury list of the season: LB Channing Crowder (hip), CB Will Allen (groin), S Travares Tillman (hand), DE David Bowens (knee), WR Wes Welker (ankle) and CB Michael Lehan (nose). Bowens, Welker and Lehan returned to the game after being hurt. ... Sidelined for Minnesota were CB Cedric Griffin (neck stinger), G Artis Hicks (ankle sprain) and T Marcus Johnson. ... Former Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper (knee) was inactive for the sixth game in a row. "It was nice to get the win for him," Jason Taylor said.

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