Williams’ big 2nd quarter puts Miami Dolphins up 14-3 on Carolina Panthers after 3rd quarterBy Aaron Beard, AP
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Dolphins lead Panthers 14-3 after 3rd quarter
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ricky Williams had a 14-yard touchdown catch and ran for a short score in the final 4 minutes of the second quarter to give the Miami Dolphins a 14-3 lead against the Carolina Panthers after the third quarter on Thursday night.
Williams put the Dolphins ahead on the pass from Chad Henne with 3:57 left in the first half, then ran for a 1-yard touchdown out of the wildcat formation in the final minute. Williams had 45 yards rushing and 19 yards receiving through the first three quarters after a slow start, showing plenty of burst and power as he replaced injured starter Ronnie Brown in the Dolphins’ backfield.
It marked the first time in the 2002 NFL rushing champion’s career that he had a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game.
John Kasay kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead after the first quarter. Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams was having a big rushing night, but the Dolphins took control in the second quarter as Miami played its first game without Brown, the team’s top rusher.
Brown, placed on injured reserve with a right foot injury sustained last week, had run for 648 yards and eight touchdowns, but more importantly, he served as the team’s triggerman on the wildcat — a formation the Brown-less Dolphins didn’t use in the first quarter Thursday.
The Dolphins unveiled the wildcat midway through the second with Williams carrying for 1 yard, but that modest gain started an 81-yard, 5½-minute march.
Along the way, backup running back Lex Hilliard — whose first NFL carry went for a first down but was negated by a holding penalty — had an 18-yard run up the middle on a third-and-16 to move the chains. Three plays later, Henne threw a short pass to Williams, who broke free of a diving tackle attempt from Na’il Diggs and bounced off a goal line hit from Jon Beason for the 14-yard score.
Then, after forcing a three-and-out, the Dolphins drove inside the 5 before Williams took the direct snap and sprinted to his right, beating Beason to the corner as he dove for the right pylon to make it 14-3 with 57 seconds left in the half.
The Panthers started strong, mixing in some of the no-huddle offense they rolled out in last week’s win against Atlanta to march downfield on the opening drive. Carolina put together a 5½-minute drive and pushed all the way to the Miami 7 before Joey Porter — who was inactive for what was cryptically described as a “coach’s decision” last week — sacked Jake Delhomme on third-and-goal to force Carolina to settle for Kasay’s kick with 9:31 left in the first.
Porter added a second sack on Carolina’s three-and-out between Williams’ touchdowns.
DeAngelo Williams, playing despite a nagging knee injury, ran for 119 yards on just 12 carries through the first three quarters, including a 50-yarder on Carolina’s first drive of the second half. But Delhomme threw a costly interception at the Miami 4 to end the drive, his first pick in four games after throwing 13 in the first six contests.
Two possessions later, Williams added a nifty 18-yard gain when he ran to his left, then cut back to his right toward the middle of the field for the big run that put Carolina inside the Miami 10 to close the third quarter.
Carolina was playing without left tackle Jordan Gross, who broke his right ankle last week. The Panthers moved veteran Travelle Wharton from guard to tackle to replace Gross, while Mackenzy Bernadeau moved to Wharton’s spot at guard.
The night got off to a bumpy start for Panthers receiver Steve Smith, who was involved in a minor car accident on the way to the game. A team official said somebody “bumped into” Smith’s car, but he was able to drive to the stadium afterward and had a 10-yard catch for a first down on Carolina’s second offensive play.
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