American Football: Dilfer dispatches Dolphins to keep Tampa Bay on top

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The Independent Online
Tampa Bay on Sunday won the local derby in Florida against Miami to remain one of three unbeaten teams in the National Football League. The Buccaneers beat the Dolphins 31-21 for their fourth victory. Denver and New England have also yet to lose.

Miami had won four of the previous five meetings against Tampa Bay but their defence had no answer to Trent Dilfer. The quarterback achieved four touchdown passes as the Buccaneers remained a game ahead of Green Bay Packers in the NFC Central Division.

Green Bay, Super Bowl champions, had to survive an intense second-half fightback by Minnesota to win 36-32. Brett Favre threw five touchdown passes for the Packers, who had led 31-7 at half-time.

One team who failed to stop a comeback was Indianapolis, who are without a win. The Colts surrendered a 26-point advantage to lose in Buffalo 37- 35 as the Bills running back Antowain Smith rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns.

Denver stayed on top of the NFC West with a 38-20 triumph over Cincinnati at Mile High Stadium as John Elway had three scoring passes, while the New York Jets blocked a field goal attempt with Ray Mickens picking up the ball and returning it 72 yards for a touchdown in a 23-22 home win over Oakland.

Baltimore won for the third time by overwhelming the Oilers in Tennessee 36-10. The Ravens quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, finished with 318 yards passing and three scoring strikes.

New England remain undefeated with a 31-3 dismissal of Chicago at Foxboro Stadium. Drew Bledsoe's two touchdown throws and five Patriot sacks of quarterback Rick Mirer condemned the Bears to their fourth defeat. The Kansas City Chiefs intercepted Kerry Collins, of Carolina Panthers. four times and forced him to fumble once in an impressive 35-14 win at Ericsson Stadium.

Mike Ditka won his first game as the coach of New Orleans when the Saints humbled Detroit 35-17 in Louisiana. The St Louis Rams won their second game with a 13-3 triumph over New York Giants, while Seattle scored in the final minute to defeat San Diego 26-22 and San Francisco saw off Atlanta 34-7.