"It's good to win these kinds of games when people have to step up," said Dolphins back Ricky Williams, whose biggest contribution might have been as a decoy.
The Giants (2-2) wanted to stop him at all costs, and that set up the right conditions for McKnight's momentum-turning second-quarter run that gave the Dolphins (3-1) the lead for good.
"When I was going to get the ball from Ricky, I saw the whole defense coming at Ricky," McKnight said. "Those guys were keying and trying to stop 34. We knew that was their gameplan, so we ran this play in practice several times this week."
The other play that destroyed the Giants was Bryant's 43-yard field goal just before the half. As the kicked sailed through, Bryant grabbed his right hamstring.
"I heard it pop," Bryant said, who is uncertain how long he will be sidelined. "It was a fluke."
The injury left New York down 13-10 heading into the second half and the lack of a placekicker hurt the Giants, a team now wondering whether it has a special teams jinx.
New York was ousted in the playoffs last year because of long snapping problem. It signed Ryan Kuehl in the offseason only to see him injure his elbow in training camp.
Not having Bryant in the second half forced New York to use punter Jeff Feagles as an emergency kicker. He had never attempted a field goal in 16 NFL seasons.
He got a chance with 4:28 left in the third quarter after a nine-minute New York drive bogged own at the Miami 11.
Feagles' line drive was just wide right.
"I thought it was good when I hit it," Feagles said. "I really wanted to make it."
The miss hurt.
"It killed us," said Giants halfback Tiki Barber, who scored on a 2-yard run.
Olindo Mare, who kicked field goals of 43 and 23 yards in the second quarter, stretched the Dolphins' lead to 16-10 on the next series with a 48-yarder.
Williams, who was held to 39 yards on 22 carries, iced the game with a 1-yard run with 4:16 to go in the post bye-week game for both teams.
It didn't seem to make a difference to Williams, especially when he recalled McKnight's run.
"It was kind of funny," Williams said after his worst rushing game as a Dolphin. (Offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) put that in and said they are going to chase me around. I think he realized they were keying on me and to call that play was huge. That was a turning point for us."
Cornerback Will Allen missed a tackle at the Miami 42 on the play.
"We're taught to force the runner back inside, which is what I did," Allen said. "There was nobody there to help."
McKnight's score came three plays after Barber swept the right side from 2 yards out to give New York a 7-3 lead.
Mare's first two field goals were set up by turnovers and drops by the Giants' secondary.
Terrell Buckley forced and recovered a fumble by Ike Hilliard at the Giants 46 late in the second quarter. Mare kicked a 23-yard field goal one play after cornerback Ralph Brown dropped an errant third-down pass by Fiedler, who was 14-for-26 for 167 yards.
Surtain also intercepted a pass by Kerry Collins, who finished 31-of-43 for 276, in the end zone after Williams' touchdown.
- Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey finished with 11 catches for 110 yards. He also got called for a taunting penalty for flipping a ball at Buckley.
- Miami safety Brock Marion also got a taunting penalty after making an interception.
- Miami linebacker Junior Seau pulled a hamstring late in the game. He finished with a team-high 13 tackles.
- Strahan led New York with nine tackles.
- Prior to this season, McKnight had 13 carries in nine seasons for 97 yards, the long a 19-yarder last season.
The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved