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Williams runs over beleagured Bears

12/10/2002

MIAMI (AP) -- Ricky Williams topped 200 yards again, this time in
a win.

Williams ran for 216 yards, including a career-best 63-yard
touchdown run, and the Miami Dolphins moved into a tie for the AFC
East lead by beating the Chicago Bears 27-9 Monday night.

On a night that included tributes to Roone Arledge and the 1972
Dolphins, Williams stole the show. Williams' rushing total was the
highest ever against the Bears in their 83 seasons.

Williams became just the third running back to reach the
200-yard milestone in consecutive games, and the first since Earl
Campbell in 1980. He ran for a team-record 228 yards last week in a
loss at Buffalo.

Williams carried 31 times, scored twice and overtook Kansas
City's Priest Holmes for the NFL rushing lead with 1,500 yards.

"He's hard to tackle, and he made us look bad,'' Bears
linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "He's at full speed when he gets
the ball. He makes two moves while he's still in the backfield. He
hits the crease, and he's gone.''

The game was the first on "Monday Night Football'' since the
death Thursday of Arledge, who created the show in 1970.

With Jay Fiedler throwing a TD pass in his return from a broken
right thumb, Miami (8-5) tied New England atop the AFC East and
moved one game ahead of the New York Jets. The Dolphins host
Oakland (9-4) in a conference showdown Sunday.

"They have a very explosive offense,'' Williams said. "We're
going to have to score a lot of points.''

Injury-plagued Chicago (3-10) lost for the 10th time in 11 games
since a 2-0 start.

"It was a long night,'' said coach Dick Jauron, who played
three quarterbacks. "Not a whole lot good. The Dolphins were not
playing at the top of their game, but they were close, and we were
not effective at all.''

Miami's domination was worthy of the '72 Dolphins, who were
honored at halftime for achieving the NFL's only perfect season.
The '02 Dolphins outgained Chicago 436 yards to 195, helping Dave
Wannstedt win coaching for the first time against the team that
fired him following the 1998 season.

Fiedler went 15-for-29 for 196 yards in his first start since
being hurt Oct. 13. Miami improved to 6-1 with Fiedler starting.

"Certainly a lot of people are keying on Ricky, and it's going
to allow me to have a little more time in the pocket,'' Fiedler
said. "I'll take a 200-yard rushing game any day. As a quarterback
it's a great thing to work with.''

Williams had 119 yards by halftime for his fourth 100-yard game
in a row, and his eighth this season. He scored on a 15-yard run in
the second quarter, then sealed the victory in the third quarter on
a simple counter up the middle. A block by tight end Randy
McMichael sprung Williams into the secondary, and from there he
outran the Bears for a 63-yard score and a 21-3 lead.

"I was almost too happy to celebrate,'' Williams said.

Miami wore aqua jerseys with aqua pants for the first time in
team history, and the uniforms were soon soaked, thanks to the kind
of downpour more common at Florida Marlins games.

The rain may have contributed to two fumbles the Dolphins lost
inside the Chicago 15-yard line in the first half, but they still
led 14-0 at halftime thanks to advantages of 17-2 in first downs
and 293-37 in yards.

For the Bears, the game ranked with the worst in a dismal
season. Jauron started sore-armed Jim Miller at quarterback, tried
Henry Burris in spot relief and turned to Chris Chandler in the
second half, but none could get Chicago into the end zone until the
final minute.

And injuries continued to mount. Miller departed on a cart
midway through the third period with a sprained left knee, and
guard Chris Villarrial sat out the second half with back spasms.

The Dolphins overcame two early turnovers because the defense
kept getting the ball back. Miami finally put together a long drive
in the second quarter, marching 84 yards and scoring on Williams'
15-yard run.

"It's nothing that other teams haven't suffered through,''
Jauron said. "He's an awfully good running back having a great
year.''

Game notes
The previous highest rushing total against Chicago was 206
by Campbell in 1980. ... Miami receiver James McKnight and tackle
Mark Dixon hurt their left ankle. Reserve defensive end David
Bowens hurt his left knee, and reserve defensive end Jay Williams
bruised his left thigh. ... At halftime the Dolphins honored Hall
of Fame fullback Larry Csonka, who played for the '72 team, and
retired his No. 39 jersey. ... Because Williams has reached 1,500
yards rushing, the Dolphins will give their first-round draft pick
next year to New Orleans. ... O.J. Simpson rushed for 200 yards in
consecutive games in 1973 and again in 1976.

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