An unopened box of Flutie Flakes sits prominently displayed on a shelf in the middle of the Dolphins locker room. As anyone familiar with the Miami-Buffalo rivalry knows, this is more than just a simple box of cereal.
It was after that game, a 24-17 Miami victory, that Jimmy Johnson smashed open the Flutie Flakes, scattering cereal around the locker room and touching off a controversial, flake-stomping celebration.
In the leadup to this week's game, the Dolphins (2-0) seemed to be showing more respect for Flutie.
It's well deserved.
The 5-foot-10 former CFL quarterback threw for a combined 566 yards and four touchdowns in two games against the Dolphins last season. He also ran for 38 yards.
"He makes things happen for them," Dolphins safety Calvin Jackson said. "He's their offense. For a defensive back, whenever you play a guy who scrambles, it's tough. That's when the damage can be done."
Flutie has inflicted plenty of damage in 27 NFL starts, most of them coming last season when Flutiemania swept through Buffalo and the NFL. He is 18-9 as a starter, including wins against the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles this year.
He rushed for a career-high 67 yards against the Jets, including a 24-yard scramble for a touchdown. He also leveled Jets linebacker Mo Lewis to spring running back Antowain Smith for a 12-yard run that set up the game's first score.
Flutie has completed 59 percent of his passes this season and has rushed for 123 yards.
"From my standpoint, I'm seeing teams for the second and third time around, and in the case of Miami, this will be the fourth time I've seen their defense, and I'm just getting more confident in running our offense," Flutie said. "Hopefully, the more time I spend on the field, the more comfortable I'll get."
Flutie won't surprise Miami. The Dolphins are well aware of his abilities. They've seen it all up close.
"He's very effective at running their offense," defensive end Trace Armstrong said. "He forces you to be disciplined as a line. If you get sloppy in your rush lanes, he can hurt you. You don't want to allow a guy a scramble opportunity by doing something stupid. You want to try to hem him in there."
Flutie has some big-play weapons surrounding him.
Receiver Andre Reed, a 16-year veteran, has 120 regular-season catches for 1,711 yards vs. Miami, the most by any receiver against the Dolphins. In the three meetings last season, Reed caught 12 passes for 147 yards
Eric Moulds was even better.
He hauled in 17 passes for 380 yards and scored three touchdowns, one in each game. Moulds, who led the AFC last season with 1,368 yards receiving, torched the Dolphins secondary for an NFL postseason record 240 yards in the playoff game.
Smith can be dangerous, too.
|Doug Flutie will try to keep the Dolphins frustrated. (AP)|
"They've shown a real commitment to running the football," Armstrong said. "They may not have success early in the game, but they're going to stay with it and keep pounding away and that patience has paid off for them."
Patience is what paid off for Flutie, who spent eight seasons in Canada before returning to the NFL and leading the Bills to the playoffs.
"It's a great story," Dolphins safety Shawn Wooden said. "He's a great quarterback and he makes their offense right now."
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