Dan Marino, the National Football League's top-rated passer, threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns today to lead the unbeaten Miami Dolphins past the winless Houston Oilers, 28-10. The Oilers set an NFL record with their 22nd straight road loss.
Marino, increasing his season totals to 2,074 yards and 20 touchdowns, completed 25 of 32 passes. He threw scoring passes of 27 yards to Mark Clayton, 17 yards to Mark Duper and 32 yards to Nat Moore, who tied a club record for career touchdowns.
Its 7-0 start is Miami's best since Coach Don Shula's team won seven of its first eight games in 1975, three years after going 17-0. Houston, 0-7 under first-year Coach Hugh Campbell, lost its 29th in 32 games.
Marino completed 18 of 20 passes for 218 yards in the first half, but Miami could manage only a 7-0 lead on Clayton's sixth touchdown reception of the season.
Duper caught his seventh scoring pass of the season for a 14-0 lead 6:40 into the third quarter. Moore's 57th NFL touchdown -- moving him into a tie with Larry Csonka on the Dolphins' all-time list -- made it 21-3 with 11:11 left.
"I was glad to see I tied the touchdown record," said Moore. "We had talked about it during the week. It was just a matter of breaking a tackle and carrying it on in."
Rookie Joe Carter, who ran for 105 yards on 13 carries, completed the Dolphins' scoring with a 25-yard touchdown run with 5:17 to go. It was Miami's longest run from scrimmage this season.
"I was really happy to go over 100 yards, but I was most happy about getting my first touchdown," said Carter, a fourth-round pick from Alabama. "I'm going to keep the football. I've already got a place set aside for it."
The Dolphins totaled 515 yards, their third-highest figure ever. That pleased Shula, but he seemed happiest for Carter.
"He's a young guy and this is a whole new world for him. Today he helped us immensely," Shula said.
Florian Kempf kicked a 49-yard field goal and Warren Moon threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Chris Dressel for Houston.
"The difference was the Dolphins made the big plays. That's what they've been doing all year," Moon said. "Some calls and breaks went against us, but that wasn't the difference in the game."
Campbell acknowledged, "This was a very tough loss. Tougher than the others because we played very, very hard.
"We just played a team that was better than us . . . and I think that's an understatement."