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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – With Matt Moore at the helm, the Miami Dolphins handed the Oakland Raiders a big loss Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium.
The Dolphins are full of surprises lately.
Once-woeful Miami won for the fourth time in the past five games Sunday by beating Oakland 34-14. Reggie Bush ran for 100 yards and a touchdown, Matt Moore had a hand in two TDs and Kevin Burnett returned an interception 34 yards for Miami’s final score.
The surge by the Dolphins (4-8) comes after they lost their first seven games. In the past five weeks they’ve outscored opponents 139-54, with the lone loss a one-point defeat at Dallas on Thanksgiving.
“We’ve been on a wild ride here,” Moore said.
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” Bush added, “but I couldn’t be more proud.”
For the Raiders (7-5), who began the day alone atop the AFC West, the drubbing ended a three-game winning streak. They fell to 6-25 in regular-season games in the Eastern Time Zone since December 2002, and dropped into a first-place tie for the division lead with Denver, which beat Minnesota 35-32 on Sunday.
“We couldn’t run. We couldn’t stop the run. We didn’t pass very well,” coach Hue Jackson said. “Just a bad day at the office.”
The Dolphins — a team that totaled four touchdowns during one five-game stretch — secured the victory with a 21-point third quarter, including two TDs in a 20-second span. They led 34-0 before Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes in the last eight minutes.
By the final period, the Dolphins were feeling frisky. Bush took a jarring hit from linebacker Aaron Curry trying to catch a pass, then showed his resilience by rolling onto his stomach and doing five push-ups.
“I just wanted to let them know their hits weren’t going to affect me at all,” Bush said.
“One of the biggest reasons we’re playing so well is we’re having a lot of fun,” Burnett added.
Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour was ejected for throwing a punch as the Dolphins drove for the score that put them up 27-0.
“I apologize to the team, to our players and to Raider nation,” Seymour said. “I wasn’t there to finish the game with my teammates.”
Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain played three days after he was arrested on misdemeanor assault, firearms and other charges in his Alabama hometown. He made eight tackles, but that wasn’t nearly enough to slow Miami.
“We didn’t play well. That’s on me,” Jackson said. “It’s not about coming to the East, and it’s not about anything that happened this week. It’s my fault. I didn’t get them ready.”
The Raiders came into the game last in the league in yards allowed per run and were outgained on the ground 209 yards to 46. Bush reached the 100-yard rushing mark for the third time in his career, and Daniel Thomas added 73 yards.
Miami scored twice before Oakland had a first down. The Raiders’ best starting position all day was their 28-yard line, and they had the ball for less than 22 minutes, in part because they went 2 for 11 on third down.
The Dolphins took a 13-0 lead by scoring on their first three possessions. The first two ended in field goals, and a 63-yard march culminated with Moore’s 12-yard scoring pass to Davone Bess.
The halftime break didn’t slow Miami’s momentum. Clyde Gates returned the second-half kickoff 77 yards, and two plays later Bush scored on a 1-yard run for a 20-0 lead.
Moore capped a 91-yard drive by scoring on a 6-yard keeper. Miami struck again when Burnett intercepted a tipped pass, weaved upfield and dove across the goal line.
“Kevin looked like a running back,” Moore said. “It’s so much fun watching our defense play.”
Palmer went 20 for 41 despite late scoring passes of 40 yards to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and 3 yards to Darrius Heyward-Bey.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)