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Titans tower over Dolphins

Surging Tennessee demolishes Miami

First, Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans rolled over the Miami Dolphins. Then they watched and cheered as the Jacksonville Jaguars gave them a helping hand in the AFC South.

McNair threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, and Tennessee beat Miami, 31-7, yesterday for its fourth straight victory and sixth in the past seven games. Minutes later, the Titans watched in the locker room as the Jaguars beat Indianapolis and moved the Titans into a tie with the Colts.

"I guess the race is on as far as the players are concerned," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

Miami (5-4) came in allowing just 13.8 points per game, best in the NFL, and the Dolphins had been unbeaten on the road this season. None of that mattered against the Titans, who snapped a five-game skid against Miami.

Tennessee improved to 7-2 by setting a franchise record of scoring 30 or more points for the sixth straight game. The defense sacked Brian Griese four times and forced him into two fumbles and three interceptions that the Titans turned into 17 points.

Coach Dave Wannstedt said the Dolphins knew what to expect. Now a team that targeted the Super Bowl finds itself in trouble. Miami trails the Patriots by two games in the AFC East.

"There's no turning back now. If we're going to do anything, if we're going to make a run, it starts this week," Wannstedt said.

Tennessee so controlled the game that McNair, who was 17 of 23 for 201 yards and two TD passes, went to the bench early in the fourth quarter.

Jaguars 28, Colts 23 -- Fred Taylor scored on a 32-yard run with 1:08 left to lift host Jacksonville to a surprising victory over Indianapolis. Taylor, who promised payback to Colts safety Mike Doss for his rough play in the first meeting between the teams this season, finished with a season-high 152 yards to help the Jaguars (2-7) defeat the Colts for the first time in franchise history.

The Colts (7-2) fell into a first-place tie with Tennessee in the AFC South and failed in their quest to become the first team in NFL history to win three games in Florida -- at Miami, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville -- in the same season. Indianapolis played the final three quarters without receiver Marvin Harrison, who strained his hamstring.

Panthers 27, Bucs 24 -- Jake Delhomme's 5-yard TD pass to Steve Smith with 1:06 remaining overcame a late Tampa Bay rally and lifted Carolina at home to provide some separation in the NFC South. The defending champion Bucs (4-5) trail the Panthers (7-2) by three games and Carolina holds the tiebreaker after a season sweep.

Brad Johnson threw two fourth-quarter TDs to rally Tampa Bay. His 23-yard pass to Keyshawn Johnson made it 20-14 with 10:19 to play, and Keenan McCardell made a one-armed circus catch at the edge of the end zone for a 36-yard score and a 21-20 Tampa Bay lead with 4:44 to play.

Chargers 42, Vikings 28 -- Doug Flutie juked his way to two touchdowns and threw for two more in his first start in nearly two years, leading host San Diego to an upset of Minnesota. The big performance from Flutie and two touchdown runs by LaDainian Tomlinson -- including a 73-yarder, his longest career TD -- injected some excitement into an otherwise dismal season for the Chargers (2-7). Minnesota (6-3) lost its third straight game.

Rams 33, Ravens 22 -- Host St. Louis forced seven turnovers and knocked rookie quarterback Kyle Boller out of the game in a win over Baltimore (5-4). St. Louis (6-3) also had the drops with four turnovers, two by punt returner DeJuan Groce, and went almost two quarters without a first down at one point. Marc Bulger passed for 110 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns, easily his worst game in 15 career starts.

Chiefs 41, Browns 20 -- Trent Green threw three TD passes and Priest Holmes scored twice to pace unbeaten Kansas City over visiting Cleveland. Dante Hall, who had TD returns in four straight games earlier this year, took a Cleveland kickoff in the second quarter in search of a record fifth return score, but was tripped up by Browns rookie safety Chris Crocker from behind. The 77-yard return set up Morten Andersen's 29-yard field goal for a 24-17 lead for the Chiefs (9-0), who increased their lead in the AFC West to four games over Denver.

Falcons 27, Giants 7 -- At East Rutherford, N.J., Warrick Dunn ran for 178 yards, including a 45-yard TD, and Atlanta snapped a seven-game losing streak to give coach Dan Reeves his 200th career victory. Reeves, who coached the Giants before taking over in Atlanta in 1997, became the sixth NFL coach to reach the plateau (200-171-2). The Giants (4-5) turned the ball over four times, ending their two-game winning streak and giving Atlanta (2-7) its first win since the season opener.

Redskins 27, Seahawks 20 -- Rod Gardner took a lateral and threw a 10-yard pass to a wide-open Trung Canidate with 1:57 to play, lifting host Washington over Seattle (6-3) to temporarily quell the turmoil surrounding coach Steve Spurrier.Coles caught five passes for 125 yards and a TD for the Redskins (4-5), who broke a four-game losing streak.

Jets 27, Raiders 24 -- Chad Pennington threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jerald Sowell with 1:09 left and completed the 2-point conversion pass to Anthony Becht to force overtime, then Doug Brien kicked a 38-yard field goal in the extra period as visiting New York beat Oakland. The Jets (3-6) sent the Raiders (2-7) to their fifth straight loss by overcoming a 21-10 deficit.

Bengals 34, Texans 27 -- Rudi Johnson set a Bengals record by running 43 times, picking up 182 yards and a pair of second-half TDs to carry Cincinnati past visiting Houston (3-6). The Bengals (4-5) kept in contention in the AFC North by exploiting big holes in one of the league's worst defenses. Johnson's 1-yard TD run put the Bengals ahead to stay, 31-27, early in the fourth quarter.

Lions 12, Bears 10 -- Jason Hanson's 48-yard field goal -- his fourth of the game -- with 39 seconds left gave host Detroit (3-6) its first winning streak in three years. The Bears (3-6) had a chance to win three straight for the first time in two years.

Steelers 28, Cardinals 15 -- Tommy Maddox threw three TD passes, two to Hines Ward barely a minute apart in a 21-point third quarter, and host Pittsburgh (3-6) ended a five-game losing streak by routing Arizona (3-6).

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