Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For the first time in both of their careers, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and head coach Joe Philbin picked up an NFL victory Sunday. The victory marked a return to the running game the Fins had avoided and a solid defensive effort against the Oakland Raiders.
Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush was the star of the show as he ran over, around, and through a completely overmatched Oakland defense. Bush finished the game with 26 carries for 172 yards and two touchdowns plus three catches for 25 yards.
So far this season, Bush is averaging just more than 120 yards per game and roughly 6 yards per carry. He’s also contributed 9 catches and 71 yards receiving to the Dolphins offense.
“It’s great for the entire organization,” Philbin said. “I feel happy for our players that all their hard work and effort paid off. Our identity right now is we’ve got to run the ball effectively and stop the run.”
While Bush ran well in the opener, the Fins moved away from the run game against the Texans. With a rookie quarterback making his first start, in hindsight that may have been a mistake. But it was fixed in a big way on Sunday.
Even Tannehill, who struggled with three interceptions against Houston came back strong with no turnovers against Oakland and he threw his first touchdown pass of his career to tight end Anthony Fasano.
Tannehill also avoided, for the most part, the tendency to get balls knocked down by the defense at the line of scrimmage.
“We actually brought in 12 guys with huge tennis rackets,” Tannehill said. “Nah, I’m joking. It was not something we freaked out about.”
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 373 yards, but the Raiders could never overcome poor field position and the Dolphins’ defense would bend at times, but never completely break.
For Bush, his two touchdowns on the day were something to behold. In the third quarter, Bush ran to the right side of the line and broke between 3-4 tackles including one that knocked him off-balance to get into the end zone.
His second touchdown came later on a sweep with Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long leading the way. Bush broke through the line and flew up the sideline before leaping into the end zone. After the play, he raised his arms in celebration while sitting on the field.
“We talked all week about bouncing back and just winning one game,” Bush said. “This game is huge for our confidence.”
The news wasn’t all good for Miami as starting cornerback Richard Marshall left the game with a back injury. His status hasn’t been updated yet by the team.
Still, the Dolphins home opening victory was something to behold. It was the first time the Fins had opened the season with a victory since 2005 when Nick Saban was walking the sidelines. Former coach Tony Sparano lost all four of his home opener, as did Cam Cameron in 2007.
The Dolphins now move on to play the New York Jets at Sun Life Stadium next Sunday afternoon. Unlike the Raiders game, tickets will likely be a little tougher to acquire with the hated Jets coming to town. New York is coming off a drubbing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday afternoon.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 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.)