Even without Dan Marino, the Miami Dolphins had the better quarterback. They also had the better kicker.
Damon Huard led Miami to a quick 10-point lead in his first NFL start, and the Dolphins beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 16-13, today when Norm Johnson was wide right on a 42-yard field goal attempt with 52 seconds left.
Olindo Mare made field goals of 37, 37 and 53 yards, extending his streak of kicks without a miss to 17, a Miami record.
For both teams, the close finish was familiar. The AFC East-leading Dolphins (5-1) have won four games by a total of 10 points. The Eagles (2-5) have lost three games by a total of five points.
Huard outplayed counterpart Doug Pederson, who was 13 for 25 for 108 yards with four sacks. The Eagles' offense totaled just 175 yards, but Coach Andy Reid chose not to use rookie quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Stingy defense allowed Miami to overcome one glaring mistake by Huard, an interception returned 67 yards for a touchdown by Brian Dawkins. Huard finished 15 for 21 for 142 yards.
Cecil Collins rushed for 97 yards and Miami controlled the ball for 36 minutes despite throwing a season-low 21 passes.
"I want to run it enough to where we're boring," Coach Jimmy Johnson said. "I love these 16-13 boring games."
The Dolphins notched their second victory in the past 11 games when Marino doesn't play. Bothered by a bone spur in his lower neck, Marino suited up but didn't throw before the game and missed a start for the first time since 1996, a span of 50 games.