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(Thursday, November 19th)
Final Score: Miami 24, Carolina 17
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Ricky Williams rushed for a pair of scores and caught a touchdown pass, and Miami held off the Carolina Panthers, 24-17, at Bank of America Stadium.
Dolphins defensive back Tyrone Culver knocked down Jake Delhomme's high-arcing prayer pass in the end zone on the game's final play.
Williams rushed 22 times for 119 yards and caught two balls for 19 yards. Chad Henne threw for 172 yards and the one touchdown.
With Ronnie Brown out the remainder of the season due to a foot injury he suffered during Sunday's win over Tampa Bay, the bulk of the rushing load fell on Williams, and the 2002 NFL rushing leader didn't disappoint. He took matters in his own hands by scoring on a 46-yard run with 3:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, giving Miami (5-5) a 10-point lead.
"I just missed him. I'm used to him leading all the drills and always being around," said Williams. "We miss his play-making ability, we miss his personality. It was tough for me all week and it was tough for me today to go on that run, but I wanted to make him proud."
Jon Kasay kicked a 48-yard field goal with 1:41 left, but the Dolphins recovered the ensuing onside kick. Facing a 4th-and-3 at the Carolina 28, Lex Hilliard was stopped short on a run up the middle, giving Delhomme one more shot.
With no timeouts remaining, the Carolina QB completed passes of 29 and 17 yards to Gary Barnidge to set up a final chance with six seconds remaining from the 26. That's when Culver deflected the last pass in the end zone.
Delhomme connected on 19-of-42 passes for 227 yards with a TD and an interception, while DeAngelo Williams had 13 carries for 122 yards. Steve Smith caught seven passes for 87 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers (4-6), who couldn't keep the momentum going from a 28-19 home victory over Atlanta on Sunday.
"Our backs are against the wall, there's no doubt," said Delhomme. "Playoff talk, that's something that's not even brought up. It's a one-game talk, that's kind of how this team has looked at it and that's how we will keep looking at it."
The Dolphins, who started 0-3, came into Thursday night two games behind New England for first place in the AFC East. Miami lost to the Patriots November 8, but has two division games remaining, November 29 at Buffalo and the following week at home against the Patriots.
The Panthers drove from their own 38 to the Miami seven on the game's first possession, but then had to settle for a Kasay 29-yard field goal.
After that though, the Panthers didn't cross midfield until the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Dolphins used a pair of touchdowns in the second period to gain a 14-3 lead at the half.
Henne threw to Ricky Williams over the middle for a 14-yard touchdown on a 3rd-and-9 play. The score, which came with just under four minutes left in the half, completed a nine-play, 81-yard march. Miami converted a 3rd-and-16 during the drive with an 18-yard run by Hilliard.
Delhomme was then sacked during a three-and-out on Carolina's next possession, and a 22-yard punt return by Davone Bess set the Dolphins up at the Panthers' 29 with under three minutes remaining. Miami converted two more third down plays and Ricky Williams capped the short drive with a one-yard run from the wildcat formation to the right pylon with 57 seconds left in the half.
Early in the third, Nate Jones picked off Delhomme at the Miami four on a ball that was thrown short. That wiped out a big drive for the Panthers, as DeAngelo Williams ran 50 yards to set up the host team in field goal territory.
Carolina moved to the Miami eight at the end of the third quarter, but Delhomme was sacked on the subsequent third down and Kasay kicked a 33-yard field goal three plays into the fourth for a 14-6 difference.
Dan Carpenter kicked a 37-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter for a 17-6 difference.
Smith's leaping reception in the end zone for a 27-yard score and DeAngelo Williams' run up the middle for the two-point conversion pulled the Panthers within 17-14 with 5:18 remaining.
Ricky Williams then busted up the middle and veered to his left before breaking a tackle near the goal line for the 46-yard TD.
"I was impressed [with] Ricky stepping up the way he did, doing a heck of a job without Ronnie out there," said Dolphins coach Tony Sparano. "I think we rushed the ball for 5 1/2 yards a carry and I think a lot of the credit has to go to the run."
Carolina's next game is on the road against the Jets...Miami is 4-0 all-time against the Panthers...Jonathan Stewart rushed for 43 yards on 12 carries for Carolina...Henne completed 17-of-29 passes and was not intercepted...Dolphins center Jake Grove and his backup, Joe Berger, both left the game injured...Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, who was inactive the last two weeks, had two sacks.
11/20 01:30:36 ET
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