|Ricky Williams breaks through the Carolina line on his way to a 46-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. (Rick Havner/Associated Press)|
Williams powers Dolphins past Panthers
Ricky Williams rushed for 119 yards and scored three touchdowns, and the Miami Dolphins beat the host Carolina Panthers, 24-17, last night for their fourth win in six games.
A day after learning leading rusher Ronnie Brown is lost for the season, the Dolphins (5-5) continued their surge after an 0-3 start behind Williams.
The 2002 NFL rushing champion had receiving and rushing touchdowns in the same game for the first time in his career.
It was enough to beat the Panthers (4-6) when Jake Delhomme’s desperation pass into the end zone was knocked down as time expired.
“Coach always talks about finishing,’’ Williams said. “Sometimes in this league, in a physical game, it’s difficult to finish. I think in the past we’ve prided ourselves on finishing games and we did a good job tonight.’’
DeAngelo Williams rushed for 122 yards, but Delhomme had his streak of three games without an interception snapped, then couldn’t lead a late comeback bid.
Miami took a 14-3 halftime lead when Williams took the direct snap at the 1 and got to the end zone ahead of speedy linebacker Jon Beason.
The Panthers got within 17-14 on Steve Smith’s leaping 27-yard touchdown catch and Williams’s 2-point conversion run with 5:18 left. But Ricky Williams bounced to the outside and shook off Sherrod Martin at the Carolina 5 on a 46-yard touchdown run on the ensuing possession.
Smith caught seven passes for 87 yards despite getting into a minor car accident on the way to the game.
Delhomme, who had thrown 13 interceptions in his first six games, had gone turnover-free this month. But he was just 19 of 42 for 247 yards, and Carolina fell to 0-4 against the Dolphins.
“The last 24 hours have been good to me. I went from being on the practice squad to having pretty much two offers,’’ he said after his first practice with the Bills. “I just wanted a fresh start, a new start, and I think Buffalo gives me that.’’
The timing of Brohm’s signing comes during a week in which the Bills (3-6) made wholesale changes as they prepare to play at Jacksonville Sunday.
Coach Dick Jauron was fired Tuesday and replaced by defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who will finish the season as interim coach. Fewell’s first major decision was to bench Trent Edwards for backup Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Edwards will serve as the backup, with Brohm taking over the No. 3 spot, replacing Gibran Hamdan, who was cut.
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission passed a plan to offer a two-year extension on the lease, which is set to expire in 2011. It calls for the Vikings to get revenue from any postseason games, but it also threatens to reinstate a $4 million annual rent if the team does not sign the extension.
The Vikings sent a scathing letter to the commission Wednesday denouncing the plan, which the team calls a “sneak attack’’ that “sends the wrong message to those aimed at keeping the team in the state of Minnesota.’’
“They knew it was completely unacceptable, but they advanced it anyway,’’ said Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ vice president of public affairs.
The Vikings, including owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, have been working with the commission to develop a plan for a new stadium on the Metrodome site. With Brett Favre at quarterback and the Vikings off to an 8-1 start, the team thinks it has more momentum than ever before to try to get a stadium deal done and get out of the outdated Metrodome.
Meanwhile, the Vikings signed coach Brad Childress to a contract extension through 2013, according to ESPN. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Childress is in the fourth year of a five-year, $10 million deal.