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Miami defense forces four turnovers

10/6/2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- All the Miami Dolphins needed to
win their third straight game was four turnovers, a little trickery
and more special teams woes for the New York Giants.

Olindo Mare kicked three field goals and receiver James McKnight
scored on a 68-yard reverse as the Dolphins took advantage of New
York errors and a freak injury to Giants kicker Matt Bryant in a 23-10 win Sunday.

Question on the Dolphins: How important is it to get their other offensive weapons involved?
The Dolphins need to stick with their running game and a short-to-intermediate passing game. Jay Fiedler is a brilliant quarterback with a great mind for the game, but he doesn't have the physical gifts to do much more than that.

Question on the Giants: Do you anticipate the rushing attack being an issue all season?
Yes, while Tiki Barber is an effective back, this season he's been having fumbling problems. When the coaching staff knows a player's a little loose with the rock, they'll be hesitant to give him the ball.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

"It's good to win these kinds of games when people have to step
up," said Dolphins back Ricky Williams, whose biggest contribution
might have been as a decoy.

The Giants (2-2) wanted to stop him at all costs, and that set
up the right conditions for McKnight's momentum-turning
second-quarter run that gave the Dolphins (3-1) the lead for good.

"When I was going to get the ball from Ricky, I saw the whole
defense coming at Ricky," McKnight said. "Those guys were keying
and trying to stop 34. We knew that was their gameplan, so we ran
this play in practice several times this week."

The other play that destroyed the Giants was Bryant's 43-yard
field goal just before the half. As the kick sailed through,
Bryant grabbed his right hamstring.

"I heard it pop," Bryant said, who is uncertain how long he
will be sidelined. "It was a fluke."

The injury left New York down 13-10 heading into the second half
and the lack of a placekicker hurt the Giants, a team now wondering
whether it has a special teams jinx.

New York was ousted in the playoffs last year because of long
snapping problems. It signed Ryan Kuehl in the offseason only to see
him injure his elbow in training camp.

Not having Bryant in the second half forced New York to use
punter Jeff Feagles as an emergency kicker. He had never attempted
a field goal in 16 NFL seasons.

He got a chance with 4:28 left in the third quarter after a
nine-minute New York drive bogged own at the Miami 11.

Feagles' line drive was just wide right.

"I thought it was good when I hit it," Feagles said. "I
really wanted to make it."

The miss hurt.

"It killed us," said Giants halfback Tiki Barber, who scored
on a 2-yard run.

Mare, who kicked field goals of 43 and 23 yards in the
second quarter, stretched the Dolphins' lead to 16-10 on the next
series with a 48-yarder.

Williams, who was held to 39 yards on 22 carries, iced the game
with a 1-yard run with 4:16 to go in the post-bye-week game for
both teams.

It didn't seem to make a difference to Williams, especially when
he recalled McKnight's run.

"It was kind of funny," Williams said after his worst rushing
game as a Dolphin. "[Offensive coordinator] Norv [Turner] put that
in and said they are going to chase me around. I think he realized
they were keying on me and to call that play was huge. That was a
turning point for us."

Cornerback Will Allen missed a tackle at the Miami 42 on the
play.

"We're taught to force the runner back inside, which is what I
did," Allen said. "There was nobody there to help."

McKnight's score came three plays after Barber swept the right
side from 2 yards out to give New York a 7-3 lead.

Michael Strahan set up Barber's touchdown with a sack and forced
fumble that tackle Cornelius Griffin recovered at the Dolphins 16.

Mare's first two field goals were set up by turnovers and drops
by the Giants' secondary.

Patrick Surtain's third interception in as many games set up
Mare's 43-yard field goal. The kick came one play after safety Omar Stoutmire dropped a pass Jay Fiedler threw right to his hands.

Terrell Buckley forced and recovered a fumble by Ike Hilliard at the Giants 46 late in the second quarter. Mare kicked a 23-yard
field goal one play after cornerback Ralph Brown dropped an errant
third-down pass by Fiedler, who was 14-for-26 for 167 yards.

Surtain also intercepted a pass by Kerry Collins, who finished
31-of-43 for 276, in the end zone after Williams' touchdown.

Game notes
Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey finished with 11 catches
for 110 yards. He also got called for a taunting penalty for
flipping a ball at Buckley. ... Miami safety Brock Marion also got
a taunting penalty after making an interception. ... Miami
linebacker Junior Seau pulled a hamstring late in the game. He
finished with a team-high 13 tackles. ... Strahan led New York with
nine tackles. ... Before this season, McKnight had 13 carries in
nine seasons for 97 yards, the longest a 19-yarder last season.

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