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Archive for Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Williams puts on show

Running back gains 216 yards in Miami win

December 10, 2002

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— Ricky Williams put on a show Monday night that Roone Arledge would have loved.

Williams ran for 216 yards, including a career-best 63-yard touchdown run, and the Miami Dolphins moved into a tie for the AFC East lead by beating the Chicago Bears 27-9.

It was the first "Monday Night Football" game since the death Thursday of Arledge, who created the show in 1970.

Williams became just the third running back to reach the 200-yard milestone in consecutive games, and the first since Earl Campbell in 1980. He carried 31 times, scored twice and overtook Kansas City's Priest Holmes for the NFL rushing lead with 1,500 yards.

With Jay Fiedler throwing a TD pass in his return from a broken right thumb, Miami (8-5) tied New England atop the AFC East and moved one game ahead of the New York Jets. The Dolphins host Oakland (9-4) in a conference showdown Sunday.

Injury-plagued Chicago (3-10) lost for the 10th time in 11 games since a 2-0 start.

Miami's domination was worthy of the '72 Dolphins, who were honored at halftime for achieving the NFL's only perfect season. The '02 Dolphins outgained Chicago 436 yards to 195 and forced four turnovers.

Fiedler went 15-for-29 for 196 yards in his first start since being hurt Oct. 13. Miami improved to 6-1 with Fiedler starting.

Dave Wannstedt was victorious coaching for the first time against the team that fired him following the 1998 season.

Williams, who ran for a team-record 228 yards last week in a loss at Buffalo, managed an impressive encore. He had 119 yards by halftime for his fourth 100-yard game in a row, and his eighth this season.

Williams scored on a 15-yard run in the second quarter, then sealed the victory in the third quarter on a simple counter up the middle. A block by tight end Randy McMichael sprung Williams into the secondary, and from there he outran the Bears for a 63-yard score and a 21-3 lead.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jim Miller (15) hands the football to
running back Leon Johnson behind the blocking of Kevin Dogins (73)
and Olin Kreutz (57) during a heavy rainstorm. The Dolphins
defeated the Bears, 27-9, on Monday at Pro Player Stadium in Miami.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jim Miller (15) hands the football to running back Leon Johnson behind the blocking of Kevin Dogins (73) and Olin Kreutz (57) during a heavy rainstorm. The Dolphins defeated the Bears, 27-9, on Monday at Pro Player Stadium in Miami.

Miami wore aqua jerseys with aqua pants for the first time in team history, and the uniforms were soon soaked, thanks to the kind of downpour more common at Florida Marlins games.

The rain may have contributed to two fumbles the Dolphins lost inside the Chicago 15-yard line in the first half, but they still led 14-0 at halftime because of advantages of 17-2 in first downs and 293-37 in yards.

For the Bears, the game ranked with the worst in a dismal season. Coach Dick Jauron started sore-armed Jim Miller at quarterback, tried Henry Burris in spot relief and turned to Chris Chandler in the second half, but none could get Chicago into the end zone until the final minute.

And injuries continued to mount. Miller departed on a cart midway through the third period because of a sprained left knee, and guard Chris Villarrial sat out the second half with back spasms.

Paul Edinger kicked a 52-yard field goal for the Bears in the third quarter and Burris threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Marty Booker.

The Dolphins overcame two early turnovers. James McKnight lost a fumble at the 8 after making a catch, but Miller was intercepted by Brock Marion on the next play to set up Miami's first score. It came on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Fiedler to backup tight end Jay Weaver.

Williams fumbled at the end of an 18-yard run when hit by Brian Urlacher, and the Bears' R.W. McQuarters recovered in the end zone.

But the Miami defense kept getting the ball back, and the offense finally put together a long drive in the second quarter, marching 84 yards and scoring on Williams' 15-yard run.

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