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Flutie, Bills Drown Dolphins


Doug Flutie hasn't run out of magic yet, although he shared the spotlight with Steve Christie on Sunday.

Christie kicked three field goals, two in the last two minutes, to give the Buffalo Bills a 30-24 win over the Miami Dolphins, capping a Flutie-led comeback from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.

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  • Flutie, who was 15-of-26 for 206 yards and three touchdowns, threw a 48-yard touchdown to Eric Moulds and Christie kicked the tiebreaking and an insurance field goal.

    "He's 36 and out there playing like he's a kid," tight end Jay Riemersma, who caught two touchdown passes, said of Flutie. "For us young guys, it's nice to see that enthusiasm."

    The tying field goal came after Ted Washington jarred the ball loose from Dan Marino and Phil Hansen recovered at the Miami 27-yard line.

    But Marino nearly won the game after Christie's 25-yarder made it 30-24. John Avery returned the kickoff to the Buffalo 45 and Marino's desperation pass to O.J. McDuffie was completed 4 yards short of the end zone.

    "I need a drink," said Buffalo coach Wade Phillips, whose team won its fifth straight after losing its first three. "Dr. Pepper."

    Credit Flutie, who replaced injured Rob Johnson, with for of the wins. The Bills climbed into a tie at 5-3 atop the AFC East.

    But Phillips wasn't ready to name Flutie the starter just yet.

    "I'm going to dance around that," said the coach, facing a whopper of a quarterback controversy.

    "We didn't lose our poise," said Andre Reed, who made five catches for 72 yards. "Down 21-14, it was up to our offense to get it back, and we did. Years ago, if we were down a touchdown, we went in the tank."

    Miami seemed headed for victory after Zach Thomas stripped the ball from Antowain Smith and Terrell Buckley recovered late in the third quarter. A 38-yard field goal by Olindo Mare gave Miami a 24-14 lead early in the fourth period.

    Flutie stormed back with the 48-yard touchdown pass to Moulds.

    "We needed a big play and something to spark us and Eric Moulds came up with it," Flutie said.

    Bruce Smith
    Bruce Smith can't hold back the smile after sacking Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino in the second half. (AP)

    Washington then sacked Marino, knocking the ball loose for Hansen to recover, and Christie's 36-yard field goal made it 24-24.

    Marino gave the Dolphins a 7-0 lead, throwing 12 yards to Oronde Gadsden, who lunged backward to make the catch.

    Coach Jimmy Johnson's gamble and a big defensive play then set up the Bills on the Miami 34. Gabe Northern stuffed Karim Abdul-Jabbar for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-inches.

    "We had an inch to go," Miami coach Jimmy Johnson said. "We were trying to make something happen to take their crowd out of the game."

    Moments later, from the Miami 14, Flutie scrambled and threw to Reed at the 1. On the next play, Flutie faked a handoff and found wide-open Riemersma in the end zone, tying the game early in the second quarter.

    Marino threw 29 yards to Gadsden under pressure from Bruce Smith, and lofted a 27-yarder to Gadsden, whose fingertip catch set up Miami at the Bills 1. Abdul-Jabbar plunged in from there for a 14-7 lead.

    The Bills drove late in the half to tie it again. Buffalo began the drive at its 44 after Marino was sacked by Hansen and Smith. Flutie lofted a 16-yarder over the middle to Riemersma, who made a one-handed catch deep in the end zone.

    The Dolphins kept the ball on the ground and ate up nearly five minutes on the first drive of the second half, driving 71 yards to the end zone, all but 12 of them rushing.

    Abdul-Jabbar broke loose to the Bills 8 behind a block by Gadsden, Avery carried to the 1, then dived in for a 21-14 lead.

    Notes

  • Bills offensive lineman John Fina left the game in the second quarter with an abdominal strain and did not return.
  • The Dolphins defense, which had allowed eight TD this season, gave up three against the Bills.
  • Marino's first-quarter touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden was the initial first-quarter TD for Miami this year.
  • It was the first time Jimmy Johnson and Flutie were in the same game since Flutie was at Boston College in 1984, when his last second "Hail Mary" pass beat Johnson's Hurricanes.

    © 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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