Thomas adds spice to Bills, Dolphins rivalry [9:20 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'The Bills-Miami rivalry may be in jeopardy for another reason: The NFL is staring at realignment, an issue that's been debated for many seasons but remains unresolved. When Houston returns in 2002 as franchise No. 32, it will pave the way for eight four-team divisions across the two conferences. There is some sentiment for placing teams in geographic configurations and, based on the rivalry discussed above, the Bills have resisted that, always favoring an AFC East that keeps the Dolphins, Jets and Patriots on the schedule. The Indianapolis Colts would probably be the team left out (and now that the Colts have vastly improved that really makes sense). The Bills' voice in the realignment matter should be well heard because owner Ralph Wilson has been appointed by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as the divisional rep. Tagliabue said the seven-member panel (the AFC Central will have two reps because it currently has six teams) will interview other owners and file a report in January. The realignment issue will be resolved by June 1, 2001.'
Dolphins' dominant 'D' deflates Bills [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Dolphins dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. Miami's defense held the Bills to 76 yards rushing, and 44 of those came on runs by Johnson, who was under heavy pursuit all afternoon. He was sacked five times, and his backup, Doug Flutie, was sacked once after relieving Johnson in the fourth quarter when the starter suffered an injury to his right elbow, on his throwing arm.'
Dolphins whale on the Bills [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"This is a good defense," Johnson said of the Dolphins. "When you can't run the ball and you're not protecting very well, what are you going to do?" The two answers to that question are: 1) Get beaten up. 2) Lose.'
Offensive line has day to forget [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Any more days like this and quarterback Rob Johnson might need to upgrade his health insurance.'
Bills' shaky offense misfires on all cylinders [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'They don't have anything approaching a featured back, running by committee isn't getting it done, and their offensive line may get their quarterback annihilated.'
Dolphins hit Rob where it hurts [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills' quarterback left Sunday's 22-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins late in the fourth quarter in obvious pain after taking a direct hit on his tender right elbow from Miami defensive end Kenny Mixon in the fourth quarter. Doug Flutie had to finish the game.'
Monday billboard [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Never mind the statistics. If you put any stock in stuffing an opponent's running game and assaulting a foe's quarterback, then the Dolphins won this bout on a TKO. They had a half dozen sacks and allowed Buffalo running backs just 32 yards on 17 carries, fewer than two yards a crack.'
Defense makes point [8:15 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Their Dolphins are in first place. No Dan Marino. No Jimmy Johnson. But five wins in six games. Best record in the AFC East. Best record in the conference. Post-season thoughts danced in their heads, like the Dolphins' defense danced on the field. The Dolphins are excited, too. But they're also wary. "We did the same thing last year, starting fast," middle linebacker Zach Thomas said, "and we know it all fell apart. Coming into the season with no Marino, no Jimmy Johnson, nobody thought we'd be where we'd be. I didn't understand how people would say we'd be terrible. It's early and we know what we've done in the past, so let's not do it again. We're not going to get too happy."'
Dolphins' Armstrong a kid at heart of defense [8:13 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'To explain his success against the Bills, Armstrong points at what happened at the end of the 1995 season. The Dolphins went to Buffalo and, in what turned out to be Don Shula's final game, fell apart. They allowed 341 rushing yards. They didn't get a single sack. "We got humiliated," Armstrong said. "That's the one I always think about when we play them."'
Thomas gains his redemption [8:11 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: '"He was saying, `I don't care if we lose every game, we have to beat Buffalo,' " middle linebacker Zach Thomas said. "I knew he meant it when I met his wife and she said, `Just beat Buffalo.'"'
Offense struggles in second half [8:10 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'For two quarters, the offense clicked. Jay Fiedler played efficiently (9-of-14, 118 yards), Lamar Smith and Thurman Thomas ran hard and receivers Oronde Gadsden, Bert Emanuel and Leslie Shepherd made plays. It added up to 179 yards and a 13-3 halftime lead. Just as importantly, Miami's ball-control offense allowed Buffalo to run just 22 plays in the first half. But whether it was Buffalo making several defensive adjustments or Miami just getting too conservative, the Dolphins' offense shut down in the second half, gaining just 75 yards.'
Dolphins win mind-game battle [8:09 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Jones denied later that Thomas had succeeded in getting inside the Bills' heads, saying it was a small part of a concerted Miami effort to play more physically. "They won the game," Jones said. "They didn't really pound us. They had a lot of good plays defensively. Their defense did a heck of a job. Offense, I don't know. They had 120 yards rushing. Thirty of that was by the quarterback. That's not pounding."'
Dolphins' Thomas has a ball against former team [7:27 AM]
Dallas Morning News reports: 'You can make a case for Thomas as the greatest Buffalo Bill ever...But he's not there anymore.'
Miami sacks Bills [7:19 AM]
Dolphin Digest reports: 'For a change, the cliche fit the plot-line -- literally. The nine points the Miami defense put up in the second half proved the difference as the Dolphins ran their record to 5-1 Sunday with a 22-13 win over the Buffalo Bills...'
From the locker room [7:18 AM]
Dolphin Digest reports: 'RB Thurman Thomas on having words with Bills LB John Holecek: "I'm sure John was probably going at me with a little extra than some of the other guys. I wasn't going out there looking for John until he said something to me and that's when it really got going. From that point on, I was really looking forward to getting a shot at him and letting him know that I was out there on the football field."'
Dolphins swarm Bills 22-13 [7:11 AM]
USA Today reports: 'The Dolphins employed a six-man rotation up front to keep the pressure on Johnson. Wannstedt used a Kenny Mixon-Tim Bowens-Jermaine Haley-Jason Taylor line on run downs, bringing Armstrong and Rich Owens off the bench on passing downs. He also slid Owens and Mixon up and down the line.'
Crushing defeat [7:01 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I think we'll be all right, (but) we have to correct ourselves," said Johnson, who was sacked five times, nailed on the chin, which caused him to see stars, and crushed on his right elbow, which ultimately chased him from the game. "The season's not over yet. I think we can go on a run." These Bills may have to if they are to rise from the canvas in the NFL's nasty AFC East.'
Flutie finally gets called off the bench [6:59 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'After starter Rob Johnson was forced out with an elbow injury late in the second half of the Buffalo Bills' 22-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Flutie saw his first regular-season action since being "rested" for the final game of the 1999 season. That infamous move by coach Wade Phillips ultimately cost Flutie his first-string job, as Johnson took over as starter for the playoffs and the start of the 2000 season. "It was fun, the first live action all year," said Flutie, who completed three of six passes for 44 yards and had one interception when the ball bounced off receiver Eric Moulds' hands. "I felt comfortable."'
Thomas, defense lead Dolphins [6:58 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: 'If Hollywood ever makes, The Thurman Thomas Story, it'll be about a Houston running back who leaves the state to go to college, is livid when he's passed up in the draft by his hometown team, uses his second-round status as incentive to become one of the best in history at his position, plays in four Super Bowls, gets unceremoniously dumped after 12 years, signs with his former team's most hated rival, rips players on his former team before the big game and helps his new team pull out a victory.'
Defense the difference [5:44 AM]
D and C reports: 'While the Bills' defense played another strong game, it was the Miami defense that made the biggest plays as it recorded a safety and a fumble return touchdown, providing nine points that proved to be exactly the difference as the Dolphins defeated the slumping Bills 22-13.'
Offensive line at root of Bills' problems [5:43 AM]
D and C reports: 'Phillips refused to take his offensive line to task, even though it was plain for everyone to see that the difference in this game between evenly-matched AFC East rivals was the way the Dolphins' defensive line manhandled the Bills' offensive line.'
Thomas finds life as Dolphin is great [5:41 AM]
D and C reports: 'Thomas had gotten a game ball from coach Dave Wannstedt, not because of his seven carries for 24 yards or his three catches for 26, but because it made the statement, "You're one of us now Thurman, and we're glad for it."'
Notes on Bills/Dolphins game [5:40 AM]
D and C reports: 'Given the struggles of the running game, why Joe Pendry called that silly running play to Linton at the 1-yard-line is a mystery. The Dolphins stuffed it easily and came away with a key two-point safety. How about a simple, quick out-pattern to Moulds or Peerless Price, or even a quick dump pass to Linton or Morris.'
Former Bills contribute to success [5:39 AM]
D and C reports: 'Miami's Thurman Thomas wasn't the only departed 1999 Buffalo Bills player to have a productive afternoon yesterday...'
Dolphins' strong-armed defense batters QB Johnson and the Bills as Miami (5-1) moves into first [5:37 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Rob Johnson told the story of this game as he walked off the field. His jersey was untucked and ripped in places where Dolphins defenders spent the afternoon grabbing at him. His white pants were peppered with dried blood, and his elbow was iced inside an Ace bandage that ran the length of his right arm.'
Dolphins secondary responds [5:36 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Challenged with the most furious display of downfield passing they have seen in a month, the Dolphins' secondary took some shots but also responded with one game-clinching play and one crucial series. "They came after us," Dolphins strong safety Brian Walker said of Buffalo's passing attack. That's probably the most anybody has tried to throw downfield on us."'
Haley's emergence settles defensive line [5:35 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Events leading to the Dolphins' 22-13 victory at Pro Player Stadium more than justified Miami's growing confidence in Haley. Haley plugged the middle admirably and contributed to Buffalo's anemic 76-yard rushing total.'
Day of runs and run-ins [5:33 AM]
Miami Herald reports: '"I know I didn't make a lot of plays," Thomas said. "But I made enough plays to help us win and that's what's important."'
Galyon likely out for season [5:32 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Dolphins linebacker Scott Galyon is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.'
Big plays for the big D [5:31 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The Dolphins' defense continues to be the hallmark of the team. Besides strong, steady play, the defense has come up with big plays that have turned games around this season.'
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