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Dolphins find running game against Patriots

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The Miami Dolphins beat the New England Patriots 33-20 yesterday, behind an impressive running performance from Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller.

 Miami Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno (28) extends the ball across the goal line for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 33-20.
Miami Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno (28) extends the ball across the goal line for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 33-20.
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins shook off their straight drive killing turnovers against their AFC East rival New England Patriots on Sunday to come away with a 33-20 victory. Much of Miami's success, especially in the second half, came on the ground where free agent acquisition Knowshon Moreno ignited a 23-0 second half.

Running the ball hard and waiting for his blockers, Moreno was able to gash the Patriots defense nearly at will. He finished the game with 134 yards on 24 carries, giving him a 5.6 yards per carry average. His longest run of the day went for 15 yards, and he was able to find the endzone on a four-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Moreno, who had success against the Patriots last year as a member of the Denver Broncos, was asked why he seems to be able to take it to New England. "Last year is last year," Moreno said before deflecting some of the credit for a great performance. "I'm focused on this year, focused on what we have to do to move forward. Like I said earlier, it starts up front. I can't do this by myself. No one can do it by themselves. Everyone is working together. It was just a real good team win."

Head coach Joe Philbin did, however, point to Moreno's individual efforts as to a portion of his success: "He broke some tackles. We've talked about that a lot, on how his job as a running back is not only get your shoulders square and get what's there, but get a little extra. Make a little move, be elusive, run a good pad level and get some extra yards after contact, and it appears he did a good job of that."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked after the game about why Moreno was able to find success against them. In typical Belichick fashion, he was straight forward in his answer, without a lot of wasted words, "We didn't do a good enough job defending him. We just weren't good enough."

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill described Moreno's day almost exactly how any Dolphins fan would after the game, "It's exciting, fun to watch him run. I don't see all the moves he makes but to see him finishing with the ball 7-8 yards, 10 yards, 12-15 yards down the field has been really fun just one game in. It's been a while since we've been able to run the ball like that and to be able to do it against a good defense speaks a lot to our offensive line and to Knowshon ."

Miami's other running back, Lamar Miller, started the game and, after fumbling early in the contest, seemed to catch some of Moreno's momentum and started running with power as well. He finished the game with 11 carries for 59 yards, a 5.4 yards per carry average.

"You know I think the offensive line did a great job opening up the holes," Miller said after the game.

Miami's 191 yards rushing on Sunday, their highest total since racking up 263 yards in a Week 2 win over the Oakland Raiders in 2012. Last year, Miami was able to break 100 yards rushing eight times, but also had four games with fewer than 25-yards rushing, including an all-time franchise low of two-yards rushing in Week 10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After re-building the offensive line this year, with a complete set of five new starters, Miami appears to have found a rushing attack. They will face a tough test next week in a second straight AFC East matchup, this time against the Buffalo Bills. The western New York franchise allowed just 86-yards rushing from the Chicago Bears yesterday, though Miami was able to put up 203 yards on the ground in the second meeting with the Bills last year.