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(Sunday, September 12th)
Final Score: Miami 15, Buffalo 10
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Ronnie Brown ran for Miami's only touchdown, as the Dolphins opened the season with a 15-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Brown finished with 65 yards on 13 carries and Ricky Williams added 62 yards on 18 attempts for Miami (1-0), which followed up a surprising AFC East title in 2008 with a 7-9 mark last season. Chad Henne completed 21-of-34 passes for 182 yards in the victory, the first for the Dolphins in a season-opener since 2005.
"I think one of the things you want to see is bringing a young group into this kind of environment, get into one of these physical deals and see if you hit back, and I thought we did," Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano said.
Trent Edwards threw for 139 yards on 18-of-34 passing with a fourth-quarter touchdown for Buffalo (0-1), which suffered its fifth straight losing season in 2009 with a 6-10 mark and hired Chan Gailey as its new head coach this offseason.
The Dolphins opened a 13-3 lead with just over 9 1/2 minutes left in the contest after a 43-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter, but Buffalo responded with an 80-yard drive for a touchdown. Edwards finished the 10-play series against a Miami prevent defense with a 31-yard scoring strike to Roscoe Parrish on 4th-and-11.
With just over five minutes left, the Miami offense picked up a pair of first downs before punting the ball back to Buffalo and Brandon Fields' kick was downed at the one-yard line.
The Bills were unable to escape the shadow of their own goal line and snapped the ball out of the end zone on fourth down to give Miami a safety.
"It gave us a better chance to win the game," Gailey said of taking the safety. "If we give it to them there, in my opinion, there's no chance to win."
The Dolphins recovered the ensuing free kick, but were unable to pick up a first down and punted the ball back to the Bills with less than 30 seconds to play.
Edwards misfired on three straight passes before time ran out following a completed pass.
Miami's defense limited Buffalo to 166 total yards and just nine first downs.
Bills' first-round pick C.J. Spiller started in the backfield, but was a non- factor with just six yards on seven carries. He also caught four passes for eight yards.
Miami's new offensive acquisition, receiver Brandon Marshall, hauled in eight passes for 53 yards.
The Bills went three-and-out to start the game, with the help of a third-down sack by new Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby, and the Miami offense marched 37 yards on nine plays for a 32-yard Carpenter field goal.
After a series of punts, the Dolphins drove 65 yards on 11 plays for the game's first touchdown. An 11-yard run by Brown on a draw play converted 3rd- and-10 to keep the series alive and Henne threw a perfect pass to tight end Anthony Fasano for 21 yards to set up Brown's dive over the top of the pile from a yard away to make it 10-0 just under four minutes into the second quarter.
Carpenter followed with a kickoff out of bounds, giving the Bills possession at their own 40, and Buffalo drove far enough for a 51-yard Rian Lindell field goal to get on the board. Miami came back with a six-minute drive, but it stalled and Carpenter misfired on a 46-yard field goal just 16 seconds before the break.
Time appeared to run out in the half after the Bills completed a pass to the Miami 45, but Buffalo was granted a timeout and Lindell came up short on a 63- yard field goal try.
Neither team threatened in a scoreless third quarter, but the Bills had a potential drive thwarted by a huge penalty. After a 31-yard pass appeared to give Buffalo a first down at the Miami 29, a holding penalty negated the gain and the Bills were eventually forced to punt.
The Bills managed just 50 yards on the ground, while the Dolphins piled up 132 rushing yards...Miami converted 8-of-18 third downs, while Buffalo was just 3- of-14 on third down...The Dolphins had lost five straight at Ralph Wilson Stadium, last winning at the building in 2003. Miami did win a road game against Buffalo in 2008 with the contest played at the Rogers Centre in Toronto...The Dolphins improved to 5-3 in season-openers against Buffalo. The teams last played to start a season in 1991 -- a 35-31 Bills win in Orchard Park...Miami played without linebacker Channing Crowder, who did not travel with the team because of a groin injury.
09/12 19:11:21 ET