MIAMI, SEPT. 16 -- Ball control and defense, Miami's weaknesses during a four-year playoff drought, became weapons as Dan Marino guided the Dolphins over Buffalo, 30-7, for sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
The Dolphins (2-0), who gave up 280 yards rushing the last time they faced Buffalo, this time limited the Bills to six first downs through three quarters. By the time Buffalo scored on Larry Kinnebrew's one-yard run with 12 minutes left, Miami led, 30-0.
"The first three quarters were as good as you want to be around," said Miami Coach Don Shula, "from the standpoint of balance, not making errors and getting the ball for our offense in good field position."
In breaking a six-game losing streak against Buffalo (1-1), the Dolphins repeatedly capitalized on good field position. They scored 13 points following the Bills' three turnovers, and scored 10 points after punt returns twice put the ball at Buffalo's 45-yard line.
The Dolphins set the tone by stopping Buffalo's first possession on downs at their 29-yard line, then generating a nine-minute, 15-play touchdown drive. Sammie Smith dove over the goal line on fourth-and-one at the 2.
Miami's next two scores were set up by Alfred Oglesby's fumble recovery at the Bills 36 and Louis Oliver's interception of a deflected pass at the Bills 24. Pete Stoyanovich took advantage of the turnovers by kicking field goals of 23 and 29 yards.
Stoyanovich extended the lead to 16-0 on a 48-yard field goal with two seconds left in the first half. The score came after Tony Martin's 15-yard punt return with 15 seconds to go and a 13-yard pass from Marino to Mark Duper.
Thurman Thomas lost a fumble on Buffalo's first possession of the second half, and the Dolphins capitalized with a 51-yard drive capped by Smith's one-yard run. Miami scored again on a 17-yard pass from Marino to Tony Paige early in the fourth quarter.
"Our line did a great job," said Marino, who wasn't sacked. "The key was that we could run the ball and mix it up. You have to do that against them because they have such a great pass rush."
The win was Shula's 200th at Miami. "That tells you I'm old," he said.