Chargers 3

(7-4, 3-3 away)

Dolphins 30

(7-4, 5-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, November 24, 2002


1 2 3 4 T
SD 3 0 0 03
MIA 10 10 7 330

Miami establishes its run, denies Chargers theirs

MIAMI (AP) -- Ricky Williams already had 83 yards rushing at halftime when he lobbied quarterback Ray Lucas for more carries.

Ricky Williams called himself a 'beast' with good reason, running for 143 yards and two TDs.

"I'm a beast in the second half,'' Williams told Lucas.

As Lucas later noted, Williams was actually a beast for all four quarters Sunday, rushing for 143 yards and two touchdowns against the NFL's third-ranked run defense to help the Miami Dolphins defeat the San Diego Chargers 30-3.

Williams outran NFL rushing leader LaDainian Tomlinson, who was held to a season-low 45 yards on 14 carries.

The Dolphins' workhorse passed the 1,000-yard mark early in the third quarter, then surpassed 100 yards for the game on his next carry. His rushing total was the highest this season against the Chargers.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Chargers: Will such a heavy emphasis on running the ball hurt their playoff chances?
Not necessarily. This result was a surprise to me -- the surprise of the week, really. Knowing the problems Miami QB Ray Lucas has had, I expected the Chargers to be able to focus on Ricky Williams and slow him down. Instead, he had a breakout game, which helped keep Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson off the field.

Question on the Dolphins: How important was it psychologically for Miami to pick up these wins the past two weeks?
With starting QB Jay Fiedler due back in a couple of weeks, these two wins take some of the pressure off. The sense of urgency is less for Ray Lucas. Ricky Williams has made such a difference for Miami. He's shown that he's as important to his team as anyone in the NFL.

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

"We never thought in our wildest dreams that he'd run over us like he did,'' safety Rodney Harrison said. "He had a huge game. We couldn't stop him.''

James McKnight turned a short pass into a 77-yard gain -- the Dolphins' longest play since 1993. Lucas, who lost his first three starts filling in for an injured Jay Fiedler, threw for 194 yards and won for the second week in a row to help Miami (7-4) remain atop the AFC East.

"Right now we're pretty good, but that's just today,'' said Williams, who guaranteed two weeks ago that Miami would make the playoffs. "We've got to keep it going.''

The Chargers (7-4), who gained a season-low 144 yards, lost for the fourth time in seven games after starting 4-0. They've lost five in a row in Miami since their last road victory over the Dolphins nearly 21 years ago, and coach Marty Schottenheimer fell to 1-9 in Miami.

Because of Denver's defeat against Indianapolis on Sunday night, San Diego is tied with Denver and Oakland for first place in the AFC West. The Chargers will try to rebound at home Sunday against the Broncos.

"The performance of our team was obviously very disappointing,'' Schottenheimer said. "I would not have thought they would have had that much success running the ball against our front seven. Their running game was just what we expected, but they blocked us.''

Williams carried 29 times, and he reached 100 yards for the sixth time this season, breaking the team record set by Delvin Williams in 1978. The ground game helped Miami build an advantage of nearly 12 minutes in time of possession.

"I'd say this was vintage Ricky Williams,'' coach Dave Wannstedt said.

Ricky's running was only part of the story for the Dolphins, who used their full arsenal to score on all four first-half possessions to take a 20-3 lead.

McKnight scored his first touchdown of the season on a 20-yard reception. Robert Baker, who has been released by the Dolphins four times since 1999, finally made his first NFL reception for 17 yards to set up their second touchdown.

The big margin removed Tomlinson as a factor in the second half, while the Dolphins continued to click.

"They played like a Super Bowl champion,'' Harrison said.

McKnight's long gainer came on the final play of the third quarter. He caught the ball as he fell, then got up as he was hit by Alex Molden and sprinted down the sideline to the 5, setting up Olindo Mare's third and final field goal.

Turnovers led to 10 Miami points, while the Dolphins had no turnovers for the second week in a row.

"If we don't turn the ball over, no one can beat us,'' said Lucas, who might make one more start before Fiedler returns from a thumb injury.

Lucas played well for the second week in a row after a rocky start as a fill-in.

"It could have been easy for the guys to say, 'Lucas, you stink. We can't win with this guy,' '' Lucas said. "But they never let me stew in my misery.''

Lucas went 14-for-23 and threw for one touchdown, but the best thing he did was keep handing the ball to his running back. Williams said he didn't expect to run so well against such a tough defense, but Miami tackle Mark Dixon said he wasn't surprised.

"He's a superman,'' Dixon said. "I think against the '85 Bears he could do that. If he gets the ball enough, he can hurt you.''

Game notes

Chargers leading receiver Curtis Conway aggravated a shoulder injury, saw limited action and didn't catch a pass. ... Chargers cornerback Ryan McNeil hurt his right forearm and was taken to the locker room on a cart in the first quarter. Tackle Ed Ellis also left on a cart with a high ankle sprain to his right ankle. The Chargers' last win at Miami came in the playoffs, a 41-38 overtime victory on Jan. 2, 1982 that is considered one of the NFL's greatest games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

miaTD2:25Ricky Williams, 12 yd run
Drive info: 4 plays, 27 yds, 1:55
Drive info: 4 plays, 27 yds, 1:55
miaFG10:20Olindo Mare 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 29 yds, 3:40
Drive info: 6 plays, 89 yds, 2:27
Drive info: 6 plays, 89 yds, 2:27
miaFG14:00Olindo Mare 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 43 yds, 12:10
sdFG4:40Steve Christie 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 57 yds, 4:00
miaFG0:20Olindo Mare 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 56 yds, 3:30
miaTD6:50Ricky Williams, 1 yd run
Drive info: 14 plays, 87 yds, 7:20
Drive info: 14 plays, 87 yds, 7:20