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Dolphins' defense holds off Chiefs 13-10

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (Nov. 12, 2006) -- Confronted one-on-one with bruising Larry Johnson in the open field near the goal line, Channing Crowder buried his helmet into the running back's chest for a touchdown-saving tackle.

Then, Crowder rose and broke into a celebratory dance.

"It was a good tackle, so I did a little shimmy for him," Crowder said.

There were many such jubilant moments for the Miami Dolphins defense, which stymied Johnson and harried Damon Huard to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 13-10.

The defense even overcame the Miami offense. The Dolphins took an early 13-point lead but missed chances to build an even bigger cushion because of a sputtering attack, and a turnover on a reverse helped keep the outcome in doubt until the final moments. An earlier trick play set up the lone touchdown by the Dolphins (3-6), who have won back-to-back games following a dismal start. They snapped the Chiefs' three-game winning streak.

"It's exciting to play the kind of defense we know we're capable of playing," said linebacker Zach Thomas, who had a sack and broke up two passes. "It's fun."

The Chiefs (5-4), who averaged 32 points in the past three games, went three-and-out on their first five possessions. The game was 26 minutes old before they registered a first down, and by then, the Dolphins were ahead 13-0.

"We got nothing going, and they played with a lead most of the day," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "We kept going three-and-out. We let it get away from us."

Huard went 15-for-38 for 201 yards with three sacks, and four times was hit as he threw. The Dolphins secondary delivered several jarring hits on intended receivers.

"We had a good bead on the way they were going to attack us," cornerback Will Allen said. "Good running teams use a lot of play-action pass, so we knew what to look for."

They also knew to look for Johnson, the NFL's third-leading rusher, who managed only 75 yards on 18 carries. Tony Gonzalez had six catches for 84 yards but left the game during the Chiefs' final possession with a sprained left shoulder.

Because of injuries, five other Chiefs starters missed the game, and the shuffled lineup likely contributed to their offensive struggles. Kansas City was 3-for-14 on third-down conversions and had the ball for only 24 minutes.

"Give credit to the Dolphins defense for getting pressure and getting on me and playing solid man coverage in the secondary," Huard said. "I missed some throws and didn't get it done."

Questionable play-calling by the Dolphins kept them from sealing the victory sooner. Nursing a 13-3 lead midway through the fourth quarter, they tried a reverse, but the result was the lone turnover of the game, with receiver Chris Chambers failing to come up with the handoff from running back Ronnie Brown.

The ball bounced to defensive end Jared Allen, who ran 20 yards to the 20. Kansas City scored four plays later on a 2-yard run by Johnson.

Kansas City got the ball back at its 14 with 3:10 left, but Miami made one final defensive stand, and Huard's incompletion on fourth-and-12 at the Chiefs 36 sealed the outcome.

Miami took control when Chambers got behind Ty Law on a flea-flicker, with Brown taking a handoff and then pitching back to Harrington, who threw long for a 46-yard completion to the 1.

"We knew that guys would bite on a good fake," Brown said.

He scored on a next play for a 13-0 lead. At that point, the Dolphins had outgained the Chiefs 167 yards to 28.

Three other Dolphins possessions stalled inside the Chiefs 35 and produced only two field goals by Olindo Mare.

With Kansas City pinned deep, the Dolphins' Jason Taylor dropped a potential interception 1 yard from a touchdown that would have put them up 20-0 late in the third period. The Chiefs took advantage of the break and mounted an 85-yard drive, but Crowder's third-down tackle of Johnson forced them to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes.

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