Playoff time: Sizzle or fizzle? [5:30 AM] Palm Beach Post reports:
'Is it a mirage, this two-game running start on the post-season, or a genuine Miami Dolphins' miracle in the making?'
No Dan, no Troy, just Jay [5:29 AM] Palm Beach Post reports:
'After the Dolphins defeated Buffalo, for example, Miami coach Dave Wannstedt called it "the type of win we enjoy." That meant watching Fiedler throw only 16 passes.'
Hendricks steps up for injured Thomas [5:26 AM] Florida Today reports:
'On Sunday, with Hendricks making his first NFL start, the Dolphins defeated the Bills 34-7. Hendricks had four tackles. He was a part, for one day at least, of one of the NFL's best defenses.'
Dolphins 34, Bills 7 [7:36 PM] AP reports:
'The Bills (3-13) finished with their worst record since going 2-14 in 1985.'
Miami 34, Buffalo 7 [7:36 PM] Sportsticker reports:
'Lamar Smith rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown and safety Brock Marion scored on a 100-yard interception return on the final play of the Miami Dolphins' 34-7 rout of the Buffalo Bills.'
Focus is squarely on Bills [3:19 PM] Miami Herald reports:
'"We are just concentrating on the Buffalo Bills, and if something else happens in the course of the day, then so be it," receiver James McKnight said.'
Bowens' play gives defense a big lift [3:18 PM] Miami Herald reports:
'He was a big reason the Dolphins were able to limit the rest of the Falcons' rushers to fewer than 89 yards on 32 carries.'
Season has been 'low point' for veteran Bills end Hansen [3:16 PM] Miami Herald reports:
'"There's certainly been high points in my career with the Bills in the last 11 years," said Hansen, the team's second-round pick in 1991. "But certainly this is a low point. We didn't spend much time thinking about the playoffs. We were thinking about winning a game. When I mean a game, I mean one game."'
Guarded optimism [9:23 AM] Buffalo News reports:
'"It's very hard to get yourself up from week to week knowing you dug yourself such a deep hole and you know there isn't any hope of getting into the postseason, which is what we are all here playing for each season," Brown said.'
A story of success [5:21 AM] D and C reports:
'In Vinklarek, the Bills have a friend and colleague whose life story is a steady dose of perspective and inspiration.'
Sacks prove golden to players [5:20 AM] D and C reports:
'"Besides, at the end of the year when it comes time to renegotiate your contract, they want to know how many sacks you have."'
Q & A with Jay Foreman [5:19 AM] D and C reports:
'''It's been a hard season. We had a lot of little things that didn't go our way and it forced us to do different things each game. But next year, I feel we're going to be a lot better."'
Scouting report [5:17 AM] D and C reports:
'The Bills have allowed just two sacks in the last three games.'
Buffalo is first order of business [5:16 AM] Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports:
'With a victory today at Carolina (1-14), New England (10-5) will clinch the AFC East title. That means the Dolphins would be playing Buffalo to secure a first-round home playoff game as a wild card.'
Dolphins trying to eliminate the negative [5:15 AM] Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports:
'The Dolphins are minus-13 in turnover margin, fourth-worst in the NFL, and their 38 turnovers are tied with Detroit for second-worst in the league.'
Offense Bonds, One Player at a Time [5:14 AM] Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports:
'So the night before each of the past 11 contests, the unit has gathered without coaches present to hear one of the first-team players discuss the upcoming opponent and whatever else is on his mind.'
Bowens hoping this is last stop [5:13 AM] Palm Beach Post reports:
'When Bowens was signed by the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 22, it marked the fourth team the defensive end had been with in the past 2 1/2 months and fifth in his three-year pro career.'
Dolphins seek home field edge [5:07 AM] Florida Today reports:
'"They stepped up last week in a game they had nothing to win for," Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler said. "They dug themselves out of the snow and went down to New York and beat a pretty good team. . . We all know Buffalo steps it up when they play against Miami. We're not expecting a walkover."'
Bills need assist from Johnson on salary cap [5:56 PM] ESPN reports:
'Essentially what the Bills need is for Johnson to reduce his 2002 salary cap charge of slightly more than $11 million. The tricky part is that, while such a reduction can be accomplished easily with a long-term contract extension, Buffalo officials aren't yet ready to make a commitment to Johnson beyond the 2002 campaign.'
Under cover man [9:07 AM] Buffalo News reports:
'...We have to find ways to move [Eric Moulds] around and get mismatches. Without question, he's too talented not to find ways to get him the ball."'
Van Pelt agrees to five-year deal [5:31 AM] D and C reports:
'Donahoe and Van Pelt's agent, Eric Metz, have reportedly agreed in principle to a five-year contract extension worth between $5 and 5.5 million. It is believed the deal will include a $1.5 million signing bonus. The final language of the contract is expected to be completed in the next couple weeks, and until then, no one is willing to reveal much.'