ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Questions regarding Lamar Smith's health and Miami's inability to win in the cold were erased in less than five minutes Sunday.
Smith, back after missing a game because of a strained right hamstring, was effective from the outset and helped power the Dolphins to a 33-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
"That first drive meant a lot to us," said Smith, who rushed for 100 yards in 28 carries and caught a pass for a touchdown. "We got together as an offensive unit and we told each other we're going to take this ball right down the field and score, no matter what."
Just as designed, Smith ran the ball six times for 45 yards on that opening drive and capped it with a six-yard touchdown reception 4:22 into the game.
"We talked about it, and we went out there and did it," Smith said. "It's really satisfying for us."
The game was decided by halftime as the Dolphins (10-3) scored 17 points in a 5:25 span to build a 24-0 lead. Miami eventually expanded the lead to 30-0 before Antowain Smith scored the Bills' lone touchdown on a one-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The loss dealt the Bills' playoff hopes a serious blow. No longer able to catch the Dolphins in the division race, Buffalo (7-6) is barely on the fringe of the wild-card race.
It didn't help that the Bills were missing four defensive starters, including linebacker Sam Cowart, the NFL's leading tackler.
"I can't remember anything worse being down, what, 27 or 24 at halftime? No, I can't remember anything worse," linebacker John Holecek said. "Offensively and defensively, it was all a miserable effort by us."
The final numbers don't lie in what became Buffalo's worst home loss since dropping a 37-10 decision to Miami on Oct. 4, 1992.
The Bills managed only 196 total yards of offense.
Quarterback Rob Johnson endured the worst outing of his career in games he has thrown three or more passes. He completed only six of 18 passes for 44 yards and had three passes intercepted.
Johnson was eventually pulled in the third quarter--a move that drew the loudest cheer from the sold-out stadium--and replaced by Doug Flutie.
"I would've liked to have stayed in with the guys," Johnson lamented. "We were all getting our butts kicked out there. It's not a fun situation to be out in."
Patrick Surtain, Sam Madison and Brian Walker each had an interception for the Dolphins. Miami's defenders also limited Eric Moulds--the Bills' star receiver--to two catches for 31 yards.
Meanwhile, the Jay Fiedler-led offense scored at will. Back after missing most of the last two games because of a bruised right shoulder, Fiedler completed 13 of 21 passes for 214 yards and threw a career-high three touchdown passes.