The statistics show that Damon Huard and Oronde Gadsden combined on two touchdown passes, and J.J. Johnson ran 31 times for 106 yards and a third touchdown.

But it was Miami's defense that kept the Dolphins in a tie for first place in the AFC East with a 27-17 victory over New England today.

The Dolphins (8-2) remained tied with Indianapolis and opened up ground on New England (6-4) and Buffalo (7-4), which lost to the New York Jets today.

"In this division, you have no margin for error," Dolphins Coach Jimmy Johnson said. "Our defense today, playing at home, came through for us."

Miami intercepted Drew Bledsoe five times and sacked him five times. Interceptions by Sam Madison and Terrell Buckley set up 10 first-half points.

Miami was limited to 229 total yards. In addition, quarterback Huard, who threw two short touchdown passes to Gadsden, left in the third quarter with a broken nose. He was replaced by ex-Patriot Scott Zolak, formerly of the University of Maryland.

But the defense stopped two late New England threats and basically dominated.

An interception by Brock Marion ended a New England threat and stopped its momentum after Bledsoe and Shawn Jefferson combined on a 68-yard touchdown pass just 29 seconds after a one-yard run by Johnson gave Miami a 24-10 lead late in the third quarter. The first interception of defensive end Jayson Taylor's career set up the clinching score, a 23-yard field goal by Olindo Mare with 3 minutes 11 seconds left that made it 27-17.