Williams leads Dolphins to 21-13 victory


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Miami Dolphins didn't need Ricky Williams to win a personal battle against Edgerrin James. They just
needed him to be his big, bruising self.

Question on the Dolphins: How did they hold the Colts' high-octane offense to 13 points?
The Colts tried to exploit the matchup of WR Marvin Harrison vs. Miami CB Jamar Fletcher. But Miami made some adjustments, putting stellar CB Sam Madison on Harrison and forcing Peyton Manning to look to other receivers to make plays.

Question on the Colts: Was the Colts' second-half defense indicative of what will take place this season?
It seemed like the Colts had a fire lit under them in the second half, as they held Miami scoreless. Defense is about believing in your system and finding the right personnel. Colts coach Tony Dungy is doing the best he can right now, but he could use some more talented defensive personnel. Only time will tell if Indy's D can consistently perform as it did today in the second half.

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

Williams ran for 132 yards and caught one touchdown pass, and
the Dolphins' defense stopped a late Colts rally to preserve a
21-13 victory Sunday. It was Miami's fifth straight win in

The 2-0 Dolphins forced three turnovers and rode Williams'
running to victory, sticking to coach Dave Wannstedt's plan.

The game featured two of the NFL's premier runners, and neither
disappointed in their first regular-season meeting.

Williams, who was passed over by the Colts in favor of James in
the 1999 NFL draft, carried 24 times and averaged 5.5 yards. He
became the first Miami player with back-to-back 100-yard games
since Bernie Parmalee in 1994. He's also the first Dolphin to open
the season with two 100-yard games since Mark Higgs in 1991.

James also played well.

In his first home game since Oct. 21, 2001, James cut sharply
and ran hard -- looking just about fully recovered from surgery on
his left knee nearly 10 months ago. He finished with 30 carries for
138 yards, eight receptions for 82 yards, and broke Eric
Dickerson's club record with his 25th career 100-yard game.

"It was fun watching him,'' Williams said. "He can run, can
cut, he can stop on a dime. He can hit the seams, and he can run.''

While James barely outshone Williams, the Dolphins' offense
performed with more power and precision than the Colts (1-1) -- and
that proved the difference.

Williams gained much of his yardage by running inside, then
breaking free into the Colts' secondary.

"I took it upon myself to make sure I did whatever I could to
get back to my Texas days, where I did break a lot of runs,''
Williams said.

His performance was perfectly complemented by Jay Fiedler's
short, accurate passing game.

Fiedler was 13-of-18 for 187 yards and two touchdowns -- one to
Williams, the other to Rob Konrad. The quarterback also ran for a
1-yard TD.

It was an ugly home opener for the Colts, who spent much of the
offseason trying to fix two major problems: a defense that allowed
too many points and too many yards, and an offense that turned the
ball over too frequently.

Things didn't look much different Sunday.

Peyton Manning was 26-of-45 for 289 yards and one touchdown, but
he also threw three interceptions -- two of which were bobbled.
Several other passes were dropped.

The defense also appeared to take a step back, allowing 342
yards and again struggling to stop the run. Miami averaged 4.8
yards per carry.

With the Colts trailing 21-3 at halftime, fans booed in disgust.

Things got worse early in the third quarter after the Colts
drove to the Miami 2. James was stopped on four straight plays even
though one replay appeared to show him scoring.

"I should have challenged the one on third down,'' Colts coach
Tony Dungy said. "It looked like he was laying in the end zone.''

Indianapolis, however, didn't rally until late.

Manning completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison
with 9:11 left, and Mike Vanderjagt hit a 23-yard field goal with
2:54 to go, making it 21-13.

Harrison finished with 11 receptions for 144 yards.

The Colts got one more chance, moving quickly from their own 16
to the Miami 2, but Manning's final pass fell incomplete.

Game notes
James became the fastest player in NFL history to 25
100-yard games. James needed just 40 games to achieve the feat, one
fewer than Houston's Earl Campbell. ... The Dolphins lost
linebacker Twan Russell and cornerback Patrick Surtain with
sprained left knees. Surtain's injury came on an interception he
made in the back of the end zone at the end of the half. Russell
hurt his back in pregame warmups and injured his knee later.
Neither player returned. ... Vanderjagt became the fourth Colts
player to surpass the 500-point mark. He now has 506 career points,
80 points behind Lou Michaels.


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