MIAMI -- Ted Ginn Jr. took the punt, ran backward, shook off two defenders and jetted up the left sideline. He crossed the goal line and put his fist in the air, waiting for a mob of teammates as the Miami Dolphins' sideline erupted.
Forgive them for the preseason celebration. Miami doesn't get many chances to cheer.
Ginn had a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown and added three receptions to lead the Dolphins to a 24-0 romp over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night for their second straight exhibition win. Ginn's starting to look as though he was worth that high draft pick, becoming a top target this preseason in Miami's offense.
And he's starting to get used to the celebrations.
"It's great. We love to celebrate. We were 1-15 last year and we really got away from all that enjoyment of winning and things like that. So just to go out and get two preseason games under our belt, we just need to continue and push this into the regular season."
The speedy Ginn, taken No. 9 overall in the 2007 draft, is finally displaying the go-to-skills of a top NFL receiver. He finished with 29 yards receiving in his third solid performance of the preseason, getting a big boost with the arrival of quarterback Chad Pennington.
Pennington threw for 94 yards on 11 for 15 passing, including a 17-yard pass to Anthony Fasano that put the Dolphins ahead 17-0 at the half. Pennington, cut by the New York Jets barely two weeks ago to make room for Brett Favre, has had a smooth transition to Miami.
"With a guy like Ted, he's got something that you can't coach. And that's speed," Pennington said. "It's so important to have speed. It's so hard to score with 12- and 15-play drives on a consistent basis. You have to have that quick fire power to be able to score on a big play, and Ted has that."
Pennington's already learned the team's best play: giving the ball to Ricky Williams.
The Dolphins again ran their offense through the resurgent Williams, who has shown flashes this preseason of the player who won the league's rushing title in 2002. Williams had 47 yards rushing and caught two passes for 8 yards in one half of play.
"I think to put two games together back to back like this, we didn't have the best week of practice, we fought through and we didn't give up," Williams said. "To come out here and play ball like this, I think we're starting to believe in what we're doing."
Miami was counting on a powerful one-two punch of Williams and Ronnie Brown this season, but the Dolphins seem to have plenty of strength with just Williams. Brown sat out due to a strained right thumb against Kansas City and played sparingly in the first two exhibitions, watching the 31-year-old Williams become the team's workhorse.
Brodie Croyle threw an interception, and his fumble at the Chiefs 23-yard line set up a Miami touchdown. Croyle finished 12-for-21 for 110 yards and failed to lead a scoring drive.
"I think these guys are embarrassed about the way they played," Kansas City coach Herman Edwards said. "Why it happened I don't know."
Croyle didn't have much help.
Larry Johnson had 13 carries for 36 yards, including a 13-yard run. Johnson was stuffed 2 yards short of the end zone to end the opening drive of the second half, and was never able to get into the open field.
It was a struggle throughout for Kansas City, as Miami's swarming defense forced four turnovers and five sacks. The Chiefs' final chance to avoid a shutout failed when Nick Novak missed a 48-yard field goal with 2:05 left.
"Anytime you get shut out, if you're an offense, you'd better be embarrassed," Croyle said. "We're not too pleased with what we did."
Ginn's punt return put the Dolphins ahead 10-0 in the second quarter. This preseason has been all about redeeming last year's rookie struggles.
He's already off to a better start.
Fans at the team's headquarters booed his selection last year when then-coach Cam Cameron emerged to make the draft announcement.
But the slender, slightly built receiver is now looking like the player the Dolphins were expecting when he was drafted from Ohio State. Ginn, who was often criticized for his inability to create separation, has been the Dolphins' No. 1 receiver in the preseason.
And his ability to return punts has added some flash on special teams.
"I always had confidence. Last year was just a learning experience," Ginn said. "This year, it's more play football, go out and have fun."
|Sat. Aug. 23||Final|
|KC - Pass: B. Croyle (12-21, 110), Rec: K. Smith (4-38)|
MIA - Pass: C. Pennington (11-15, 94), Rush: J. Parmele (7-88)
|FG||Dan Carpenter 19 Yd, 4:57. Drive: 15 plays, 65 yards in 10:03.|
|TD||Ted Ginn Jr., 59 Yd punt return (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 11:26.|
|TD||Anthony Fasano, 17 Yd pass from Chad Pennington (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 9:36. Drive: 3 plays, 22 yards in 0:54.|
|TD||Jalen Parmele, 2 Yd run (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 7:40. Drive: 4 plays, 88 yards in 2:09.|
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|T. Ginn Jr.||3||29||0||12|
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