Monday, October 6, 2003
Williams was slowed, but Dolphins offense wasn't
DAVIE, Fla. -- As it turns out, the Miami offense isn't
solely predicated on Ricky Williams.
Through three quarters Sunday, Williams had more carries (12)
than yards (8). He didn't have a gain of longer than 3 yards until
the final quarter. He was, in essence, silenced.
And the Dolphins still won, beating the New York Giants 23-10
and giving the 11 defensive coordinators still awaiting games with
Miami this season a new problem -- figuring out how to stop Williams
while not ignoring the rest of the Miami offense.
Of Miami's 285 yards, Williams accounted for only 59, his lowest
percentage since the Dolphins acquired him before last season.
"Ricky's a very intelligent guy and player. He's a very
unselfish guy," coach Dave Wannstedt said Monday. "He just wants
to win. And I think it was a good job of (offensive coordinator
Norv Turner) and our offensive coaches talking about that all week
and kind of anticipating what was going to happen on Sunday."
What happened was this: The Giants loaded up to stop Williams,
with some Dolphins players saying they heard New York defenders
regularly shouting that intention after every stuffed run by the
reigning NFL rushing champion.
So Williams became the dreadlocked decoy, collecting plenty of
attention from the Giants -- who overpursued Williams and allowed
James McKnight to get free for a 68-yard touchdown run on a reverse
in the second quarter. That also allowed a 25-yard screen pass to
Rob Konrad late in the half to set up a field goal.
In the end, New York's defensive plan worked perfectly for
"If everyone is keying on Ricky, we have to use everyone else
on the field," quarterback Jay Fiedler said Sunday.
Added McKnight: "If that's what teams are going to do to us the
rest of the way, then so be it. We can handle it. People like to
think Ricky's our only star."
By the fourth quarter, Williams was able to carve out some
modest yardage, getting 31 of his 39 yards in the final 15 minutes.
But that also helped Miami keep the ball for nearly 11 of those
minutes, barely giving the Giants' offense any opportunity to start
And any realistic comeback hopes ended with 4:20 left, when
Williams scored from 1 yard out to cap the win.
"We anticipated the difficult day that we were going to have,"
Wannstedt said. "We weren't surprised by that. And in the fourth
quarter, it was good to see Ricky get that rushing touchdown."