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Williams Keeps Offense Running in Victory

September 22, 2003|From Associated Press

MIAMI — The Buffalo Bills had a hard time moving the ball, and they had a hard time getting it away from Ricky Williams.

With dominating defense and a workhorse running back, the Miami Dolphins beat Buffalo, 17-7, Sunday night to forge a tie atop the AFC East.

Williams carried a franchise-record 42 times for 153 yards and one touchdown, helping the Dolphins control the ball for nearly 41 minutes.

"I just kept hitting it up in there," Williams said. "You want an opportunity to control the game."

Buffalo, which scored 69 points in its first two games, totaled only 118 yards. Miami made interceptions to end two early scoring threats by the Bills, whose only points came on Nate Clements' 54-yard interception return.

The Dolphins stymied Eric Moulds, harried Drew Bledsoe and sidelined Travis Henry.

"We've got to play this way every week," Dolphin Coach Dave Wannstedt said. "It was as outstanding a defensive effort as I've been around for a long time against an outstanding offensive unit."

Bledsoe completed 10 of 25 passes for 98 yards with two interceptions and four sacks. The Dolphins held halfback Henry to seven yards rushing before he left in the second quarter because of a rib injury.

The Dolphins could also claim a victory in their feud with Moulds, who had only two receptions for 30 yards. He angered the Dolphins last season by spitting in cornerback Patrick Surtain's face -- unintentionally, Moulds said -- and traded barbs with them last week.

"They double-teamed me the whole game and basically said, 'You're not going to be the guy to beat us tonight,' " Moulds said.

Williams fumbled for the third consecutive game but more than compensated by helping the Dolphins control the ball. They ran 73 plays to 44 for Buffalo.

His jersey soaked with sweat and caked with dirt, Williams clinched the victory on a one-yard touchdown dive with 1:52 left.

The officials originally spotted the ball at the 18-inch line but awarded Miami the score after reviewing the play.

Williams broke the team record of 40 carries set by Lamar Smith in a playoff victory over Indianapolis three years ago.

"He's the best back in the league," Buffalo Coach Gregg Williams said.

"They controlled the line of scrimmage. They were more physical in the trenches."

Surtain, Brock Marion and Sammy Knight had interceptions for the Dolphins. Adewale Ogunleye had two sacks, and Junior Seau and Tim Bowens added one apiece.

The Bills' first four possessions produced two turnovers and no first downs, and they wasted two scoring chances inside the Miami 20 in the second quarter.

One threat ended when a trick play backfired, with Henry's underthrown pass being intercepted by Surtain at the one.

"We had been setting it up for the past few weeks," Gregg Williams said. "We thought it was there. Travis got hit when he let it go.

"He probably should have tucked it and ran."

Buffalo quickly forced a punt and drove to the eight, but Marion intercepted Bledsoe in the end zone.

"We got pressure on Bledsoe, and that's what we needed to do," cornerback Sam Madison said. "We kept him out of rhythm."

The showing by the Dolphin pass defense was impressive and surprising, considering they were riddled for 639 yards passing in the first two games.

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