Dolphins Hammer The Bills

Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler throws during the first half of the game against the Bills.
All questions regarding Lamar Smith's health and Miami's inability to win in the cold were erased in less than five minutes.

Smith, back after missing a game with a strained right hamstring, was strong from the opening drive and carried the Dolphins along with him to a 33-6 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

"That first drive meant a lot to us," said Smith, who ran for 100 yards on 28 carries and also 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."

In maintaining sole possession of the AFC East lead, the Dolphins (10-3) need to win only one of their final three games to clinch a playoff berth. Along with completing the season-series sweep by winning at Buffalo for the first time since 1996, Miami also won a rare game in cold-weather conditions.

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Game Summary

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  • The game-time temperature was 27 degrees, with a wind chill of 16. The Dolphins are now 4-7 when the mercury dips below 29.

    The game was decided by halftime as the Dolphins 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 1-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 fringes of the wild-card race.

    It didn't help that the Bills were missing four defensive starters, including linebacker Sam Cowart, the NFL's leding tackler.

    "I can't remember anything worse being down, what, 27 or 24 at halftime? No, I can't remember anything worse," Bills 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 just 196 total yards of offense.

    Starter Rob Johnson endured the worst outing of his career (in games he's thrown three or more passes), going 6-for-18 for 44 yards and threw two interceptions, the most he's thrown in a game.

    Johnson was eventually pulled in the third quarter, a move that drew the loudest cheer from the sold-out house, 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 against a rag-tag Bills defense.

    Back after missing most of the last two games with a bruised right shoulder, Fiedler finished 13-for-21 for 214 yards and threw a career-high three touchdowns.

    Oronde Gadsden, with a 6-yard catch, and Leslie Shepherd, left wide-open in the end zone for a 14-yarder, also scored for the Dolphins.

    Olindo Mare kicked four field goals, the longest from 32 yards.

    "Our game plan was to come out and run the ball effectively and really test the young linebackers that were in there," Fiedler said, adding that his shoulder felt fine. "We put ourselves in a great position right now."

    "Ten wins," coach Dave Wannstedt said. "I told the players now the stakes rise a little bit."


  • Miami endured a series of injuries to Shepherd (right knee), defensive end Jason Tayor (right hand contusion), tackle Todd Wade (left calf), cornerback Jerry Wilson (right ankle) and linebacker Twan Russell (left ankle sprain). A Dolphins spokesman said the status of each player is unknown, and that Shepherd and Wade will have MRIs on Monday.
  • When Marcellus Wiley, who attended Columbia, sacked Fiedler (Dartmouth) in the first quarter, it marked the first time two Ivy Leaguers were involved in a sack since 1984 when Buffalo's Joe Dufek (Yale) was sacked by Cincinnati's Reggie Williams (Dartmouth).
  • Jason Taylor's three sacks and Trace Armstrong's two gave them a combined 28.5, tying a 27-year-old franchise record as the team's most productive sack tandem.

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