Bills fans are still exuberant over the Bills dominating performance over the Dolphins yesterday. Not only did they allow the Dolphins only 101 total yards (Miami's second worst in franchise history), but Buffalo is the only NFL team to defeat the Fish this season. The sweep over their most hated rivals puts the Bills at 7-3 this year. Surprisingly, Buffalo is still ranked fourth in the division. While the Bills were quite talkative after the game, things got quite testy over on the Dolphins side.
Jimmy Johnson issued the gag order on himself and the rest of his players after the humiliating 23-3 loss to the Bills yesterday. The final sentence he issued before storming out of his post game press conference was:
"The only thing I will say is that this week we're talking about New England. We aren't talking about a bunch of other crap."
There were a couple of players who ignored the gag order and did speak to reporters. One was Trace Armstrong.
"They did a great job of running the football," said Armstrong. "They gave us some problems with movement, and defensively if you allow a team to dictate to you all day, you're going to have a hard time stopping them and that's what happened. They were able to run the ball; they were able to throw the ball. It was just a great day for them, a real bad day for us."
No one can give a better description of what went on the field than the players, and the few Dolphins that did crack the forced silence spoke volumes.
"We know we can play better than that," Tim Bowens said about stopping the run. "Everyone obviously is disappointed in the way we played losing the ball game. We know we can play a lot better."
Sam rodgers and Marlo Perry sack Dolphins quarterback Damon Huard|
''To me the whole (quarterback) controversy is absurd,'' Huard continued. ''My job is to be the second-string quarterback. Dan is the starter. If he's ready to play, he's the man. Until then, my assignment is to focus on the job I need to do, and I obviously didn't focus enough today.''
Defensive end Jason Taylor said, ''They just took it to us. ''They just came right at us. We didn't get off the blocks and we didn't tackle.''
''They had a lot of guys in the middle,'' wide receiver O.J. McDuffie explained about the bad day the receivers had. ''They were stacked in there on certain downs where they knew were going to throw. We put ourselves in bad situations all game.''
''We have to start playing with a sense of urgency,'' said Miami receiver Tony Martin. ''There's no way around that. We have to start playing like we want to win the game. There's a more aggressive attitude we need to take to scoring that has been lacking.''
"They're just more physical than us," said Dolphins fullback Rob Konrad. "They got after it more than we did and we weren't able to run the ball, which makes it difficult to throw. I think it rippled through the whole offense."
''They looked kind of dazed and stopped chattering at us,'' Bills tackle Robert Hicks said. ''They started talking to themselves.''
The big play of the game was when cornerback Sam Madison got suckered into to thinking the Bills were going to run on third-and-one and Flutie crossed him up by throwing to a wide open Eric Moulds that resulted in a 53-yard touchdown.
''It was my man [Moulds] but I was focusing in on the run,'' Madison said. ''They ran a couple of balls over to my way. And I'm outside and supposed to contain that. And that's what I was focusing on, and not really focusing on the pass because they were pounding us all day. That's what my mind was on.''
So many Dolphins finally talked, one had to wonder if the gag order was just a Johnson gag.
''This game was self-explanatory,'' linebacker Robert Jones said. ''We came in with a chance to win and put the division championship away. But you can see what happened. We got beat. Now we have to focus on New England. If we don't focus on what's ahead, that could be a big mistake.''
One Dolphin that did obey his boss was defensive end Rich Owens. When approached, he said, "I'm not going to talk right now. 'Catch me tomorrow.''
Steve Christie came through big in the wind yesterday. With wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour, Christie had his work cut out for him. Facing the swirling wind, Christie was still able to kick three straight field goals in the first quarter of 31, 47 and 48 yards. In the fourth quarter, the wind finally hooked a 35-yard attempt wide-left for his first miss.
"It was crazy," Christie said. "You take the makes with the misses here, especially on a day like today. You get what you get.
"The suites seem to contain the wind a bit more," he said. "Now, it's sort of like pot luck what you get. You want to line drive it, but you want to get it over the line. It's a fine line between hitting it too low and hitting it too high up there. You hope you're guessing the right way with the wind and hope it goes there."
The Bills defense had it's second straight superior effort against big teams.
"It was a great effort by everybody," said Bills safety Henry Jones. "They came in looking pretty good on film, they had a lot of weapons to use, but the combination of our defense, the offense controlling the ball once again, the crowd noise and the wind really got to them."
Said Bills linebacker Marlo Perry: ''We did a great job of taking away the middle, and that's usually the place an offense wants to go against a zone defense. The guys did a great job of picking up the coverages and making them work.''
"Collectively we played very well," said Bruce Smith. "Everyone on defense contributed, the offense did the things that were necessary for us to get rest on the sideline, they made big plays and put points on the board."
Antowain Smith, who ran for 126 yards against the Dolphins, breaks loose from Brock Marion|
"Just like any back you want the ball 20 times," said Antowain Smith. "I feel real good. I got the ball 20 times against Washington and had over 100 yards in this game. It's a momentum boost, a confidence boost. Now we know we can do it against a top-ranked team, but we can't be satisfied with ourselves, we have to keep getting better."
A big reason for Smith's success on the ground was his ability to follow in the footsteps of his lead blocker, fullback Sam Gash. Gash had a tremendous day, plowing out defensive linemen like they were snow drifts.
"He doles out punishment," said Dolphins cornerback Sam Madison. "He gets up a head of steam and he's like an offensive lineman coming out of the backfield." "We came in here today, hoping to run the ball," said Gash. "They said you couldn't run the ball against them, especially between the tackles. I think we proved that it could be done.
"My satisfaction comes from seeing Antowain and Jonathan running in the clear," Gash continued. "They have a big game, and I feel like I did my job."
Wade Phillips, not one to gloat, did a concealed barb in the direction of Jimmy Johnson when he said, "It was our chance to be a contender and I'm excited about that. I'm not laughing as much, I'm not one to rub it in. We played well against a good team. We expected to win, it was a big game for us, and it put us in a good position, but they're still walking out of here leading our division."
Copyright © 1999 Bills Thunder & Rick Anderson, all rights reserved.
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