Williams was slowed, but Dolphins offense wasn't

Updated: October 6, 2003, 3:01 PM ET

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 Miami.

"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 a comeback.

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."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index