MIAMI, NOV. 4 -- The recipe was the same for the Miami Dolphins, and the result again had a sweet taste.

Ball-control offense produced four long scoring drives, and the NFL's top-ranked defense turned in another strong performance as the Dolphins beat Phoenix, 23-3, today for their fifth consecutive victory.

The winning streak is the Dolphins' longest in five years, and a 7-1 record at the halfway point is their best since 1984, the last time Miami reached the Super Bowl.

"It's a fairy tale," linebacker John Offerdahl said. "It's true, though. I love it."

Offerdahl joined the Dolphins in 1986, the year after their most recent playoff appearance.

"We want to keep that momentum going," Coach Don Shula said. "In order to make this 7-1 meaningful, you have to win in the second half of the year to get where you want to go."

Phoenix, which has never beaten Miami in six games, fell to 2-6.

Dan Marino passed for 205 yards and two touchdowns while directing scoring marches of 79, 65, 69 and 84 yards. Pete Stoyanovich remained perfect in 12 attempts this season with field goals of 19, 21 and 19 yards.

"We've been trying to play control football, and it has worked for us," Marino said. "We're capable of opening it up, but the style of football we're playing has been effective."

The Dolphins' defense, which has given up the fewest points and yards in the NFL, kept the opposition out of the end zone for the second consecutive week. The defense has allowed one touchdown in the past 14 quarters.

Phoenix rookie Johnny Johnson, who entered the game as the NFC's leading rusher, was limited to a season-low 27 yards in 11 carries.