KANSAS CITY, Mo. The Miami Dolphins had been searching for a way to avoid fourth-quarter meltdowns.
After all, they've been building leads all season and watching them disappear in the final period or overtime during a nightmare 0-7 start.
They tried a unique new approach Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, piling up a huge lead over the Chiefs and at last smiling their way through the final few minutes of a 31-3 blowout.
"All we can do is believe," said Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore, who threw a pair of first-half TD passes to tight end Anthony Fasano to get the rout started.
"As athletes, as people, the belief in yourself starts there. So that's what we've got to just focus on. Continue to believe in ourselves and feel, Hey, we're going to get one of these.'
"And then we're going to worry about the next one."
Moore might be thinking of putting some wins together now, but coach Tony Sparano admitted that putting one giant victory on the scoreboard lifted a huge weight off his shoulders.
"I'm just happy for the guys in our locker room," Sparano said. "All I've wanted to do for seven weeks is see these guys smile.
"This is all about the players. These guys did a super job all week long of putting all the garbage behind them."
There was plenty of reason to smile, as the Chiefs (4-4) ran into a perfect storm of trouble after four straight victories: They were coming off an emotional and startling win over San Diego on Monday night and they faced a short work week and an opponent that's been playing far better than its record might indicate.
"We knew they were a talented team," Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. "They had a chance to win each of the last two games against Denver and the Giants and just couldn't quite finish it."
On Sunday, though, the Dolphins dominated from start to finish.
Once they'd spotted the Chiefs a 3-0 lead on Kansas City's opening drive, Miami simply took over.
Moore hustled the Dolphins into the red zone and used a great play-action fake to freeze safety Donald Washington and hit Fasano with a 3-yard touchdown pass.
Who knew it would be the start of an onslaught?
After all, the Dolphins haven't had a quarterback throw for three touchdowns in a game since Chad Pennington in 2008.
But Moore was just getting started with that first toss to Fasano. With just less than 10 minutes left in the first half, Moore rolled right and lofted a gorgeous pass to Fasano down the left sideline with the tight end diving the last couple of yards to make it 14-3.
Maybe the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium felt the Chiefs would come roaring back into the game, but it never happened.
The Dolphins rushed KC quarterback Matt Cassel into hurrying throws and running out of the pocket sacking him five times and forcing him to heave the ball toward the cheerleaders several times.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs' feeble pass rush now with only nine sacks in eight games put no pressure on Moore, who enjoyed a 17-of-23 day worth 244 yards and those three TDs.
The third touchdown, which truly put the Chiefs into a deep hole at 21-3, was a 14-yard throw to Brandon Marshall in the third quarter.
Then it became the Reggie Bush show, as the onetime Super Bowl hero rushed 13 times for 92 yards, including a 28-yarder for the touchdown that turned the game into a 28-3 laugher.
Bush also caught three passes for 50 yards.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, seemed to be playing uphill all afternoon.
"They executed and we didn't," Cassel said. "We were able to put together some drives, but we weren't able to sustain those drives offensively.
"We have to do a better job of executing. It starts with me and all the way down the line."
Cassel was 20 of 39 for 253 yards, but he couldn't find anyone when it mattered particularly on two trips inside the Miami 10-yard line.
On one series, the Chiefs tried a quick pass on fourth-and-1 at the 3-yard line, and Cassel threw too high for an open Dwayne Bowe near the sideline.
Kansas City, which is facing a brutal schedule down the road, had hoped to ease past the Dolphins and then Denver next week to stay atop the competitive AFC West.
The Chiefs never came close.
"We got beat," Kansas City cornerback Brandon Flowers said. "We got beat pretty bad by the Miami Dolphins. At home."