Miami at Carolina

Williams fills in nicely, leads Dolphins past Panthers wire reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With Ronnie Brown lost for the season, the Miami Dolphins turned to their aging running back.

Ricky Williams showed he's still got it.

The 32-year-old Williams rushed for 119 yards and scored three touchdowns, and the Dolphins beat the Carolina Panthers 24-17 on Thursday night for their fourth win in six games to get into the AFC playoff picture.

A day after learning Brown is lost for the season to a foot injury, the Dolphins (5-5) continued their surge after an 0-3 start behind Williams. The 2002 NFL rushing champion had a receiving and rushing touchdown in the same game for the first time in his career that included a couple of lost seasons.

"Coach always talks about finishing," Williams said. "Sometimes in this league, in a physical game, it's difficult to finish. I think in the past we've prided ourselves on finishing games and we did a good job tonight."

DeAngelo Williams rushed for 122 yards for the Panthers (4-6), but Jake Delhomme had his streak of three games without an interception snapped. His desperation pass into the end zone was knocked down as time expired.

"We just didn't tackle well," Carolina defensive tackle Damione Lewis said. "Ricky is a hard running, big tailback, He broke some tackles, and that's him."

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano hinted his team might abandon the wildcat without Brown, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Miami didn't use the formation until the second quarter. It coincided with the Dolphins' first touchdown drive -- Chad Henne's 14-yard touchdown pass to Williams, who wrestled away from linebacker Na'il Diggs.

Miami took a 14-3 halftime lead when Williams took the direct snap at the 1 and got to the end zone ahead of linebacker Jon Beason.

The Panthers got within 17-14 on Steve Smith's leaping 27-yard touchdown catch and DeAngelo Williams' 2-point conversion run with 5:18 left. But Ricky Williams bounced to the outside and shook off Sherrod Martin at the Carolina 5 on a 46-yard touchdown run.

Williams also caught two passes for 19 yards and a touchdown. Chad Henne overcame losing his center and the backup and committed no turnovers.

"We struggled at bit during the game, but the defense kept it close to give us an opportunity and give us time to get it together," Williams said.

Still, the Dolphins had to hold off the Panthers. After Williams' long run, the Panthers got a field goal. Then the Dolphins turned the ball over on downs, and Delhomme found Gary Barnidge on passes of 29 and 17 yards. But from the Miami 26, Delhomme's lob into the end zone was knocked down by Tyrone Culver.

"Guys are fighting their tail off," Delhomme said. "We are just not getting it done. ... We are not winning the close ones."

Early on, Carolina's offense stalled because of its makeshift offensive line and the return from exile of Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter.

Benched Sunday during a victory against Tampa Bay, Porter served as a captain for the coin toss, then sacked Delhomme on third down on Carolina's opening drive, leading to John Kasay's 29-yard field goal.

The Panthers mixed in some of the no-huddle offense on the drive after its effective debut Sunday against Atlanta. They used it sparingly after that, and the offense got bogged down without Pro Bowl left tackle Jordan Gross.

Porter had two of Miami's three first-half sacks, beating Gross' replacement Travelle Wharton.

The Dolphins had their own offensive line troubles. Center Jake Grove left in the third quarter with an ankle injury and was replaced by Joe Berger. Nate Garner moved to center when Berger went down early in the fourth. Henne bobbled Garner's second snap, but recovered.

Berger returned on the next series and was injured again. Henne completed 17 of 29 passes for 172 yards.

DeAngelo Williams' 50-yard run early in the third seemed to give Carolina life. But the drive ended when Nathan Jones picked off Delhomme's pass intended for Smith at the Miami 4.

Smith caught seven passes for 87 yards despite getting into a minor car accident on the way to the game.

Delhomme, who had thrown 13 interceptions in his first six games, had gone turnover-free this month. But he was 19 of 42 for 247 yards, and Carolina fell to 0-4 against the Dolphins. It was a crushing loss for the Panthers, who also began eyeing the playoffs after starting 0-3.

"There's still a lot of football left and we're still no way in any stretch out of it," Panthers coach John Fox said.

The loss to Fox's old offensive coordinator leaves them in tough shape. Dan Henning, fired by Carolina after the 2006 season, found a way to score just enough without Brown.

Williams, the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner, continued his resurgence after a career that included a brief retirement and a drug-related suspension. The time off might be helping him now when many running backs decline after they turn 30.


  • Panthers LB Landon Johnson, filling in for the injured Thomas Davis, left with a knee injury.
  • Panthers DE Julius Peppers again played mostly on passing downs because of a right hand injury.
  • Dolphins backup RB Lex Hilliard, who came in without an NFL carry, ran four times for 24 yards.
  • The Dolphins and Texans (0-2) are the only teams the Panthers have never beaten.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Ricky Williams breaks away for a game-clinching 46-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.  (AP)
Ricky Williams breaks away for a game-clinching 46-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. (AP)


Related Video

May 26, 2016
New NFL head coaches to watch (2:43)
May 20, 2016
AFC East predictions
May 17, 2016
The AFC East is a mess right now
May 11, 2016
Jenny Vrentas talks Browns and Dolphins
Thurs. Nov. 19Final
Pass: C. Henne (17-29, 172) J. Delhomme (19-42, 227)
Rush: R. Williams (22-119) D. Williams (13-122)
Rec: D. Bess (6-63) S. Smith (7-87)
Scoring Summary
FGJohn Kasay 29 Yd, 9:31. Drive: 12 plays, 51 yards in 5:29.
TDRicky Williams, 14 Yd pass from Chad Henne (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 3:57. Drive: 9 plays, 81 yards in 5:28.
TDRicky Williams, 1 Yd run (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 0:57. Drive: 8 plays, 29 yards in 1:58.
FGJohn Kasay 33 Yd, 14:21. Drive: 8 plays, 46 yards in 3:25.
FGDan Carpenter 37 Yd, 7:39. Drive: 11 plays, 61 yards in 6:42.
TDSteve Smith, 27 Yd pass from Jake Delhomme (DeAngelo Williams Run for 2 Pt. Conversion), 5:18. Drive: 8 plays, 68 yards in 2:21.
TDRicky Williams, 46 Yd run (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 3:55. Drive: 4 plays, 59 yards in 1:23.
FGJohn Kasay 48 Yd, 1:41. Drive: 11 plays, 50 yards in 2:14.
Players of the Game

S. Smith
Rec 7
Yds 87
Avg 12.4
TD 1

R. Williams
Rush 22
Yds 119
Avg 5.4
TD 2
C. Henne17/2917210
R. Williams22119246
L. Hilliard424018
L. Polite41104
C. Henne1000
D. Bess663018
B. Hartline247036
T. Ginn Jr.432016
R. Williams219114
L. Hilliard2706
G. Camarillo1404
J. Delhomme19/4222711
D. Williams13122050
J. Stewart1243010
J. Delhomme217011
S. Smith787127
G. Barnidge246029
D. Rosario440021
M. Muhammad327013
T. Sutton218011
D. Williams1909
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
TEN 20 Final
HOU 17
PHI 24 Final
CHI 20
CIN 17 Final
OAK 20
NYJ 14 Final
NE 31
SD 32 Final
ARI 21 Final
STL 13
NO 38 Final
TB 7
ATL 31 Final
NYG 34
SEA 9 Final
MIN 35
PIT 24 Final
KC 27
BUF 15 Final
JAC 18
SF 24 Final
GB 30
CLE 37 Final
DET 38
WAS 6 Final
IND 17 Final
BAL 15