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Miami 30, San Diego 3

Nov. 24, 2002 at 10:20 PM   |   Comments

MIAMI, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Ricky Williams rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns Sunday and Miami held league-leading rusher LaDainian Tomlinson to 45 yards while rolling to a 30-3 whipping of the San Diego Chargers.

Miami (7-4) won for the second straight week following a three-game losing streak with Ray Lucas at quarterback. Lucas committed nine turnovers, including six interceptions, in the three losses. But he has been mistake-free in the last two games.

Complemented by a strong running game on Sunday, Lucas threw for 194 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown to James McKnight.

"My game was so easy today," said Lucas, who completed 14 of 23 passes. "It wasn't me. I can easily say that. The offensive line played fantastic today. Ricky was running the ball. It was total team effort."

Williams ran roughshod against a San Diego defense that ranked third in the league against the rush. However, the Chargers provided little resistance, yielding 222 yards on the ground.

"There were a lot of holes," said Williams, who set a club record with his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season and surpassed the 1,000 yard mark (1,056). "We had a lot of cutback plays in there to get them to overpursue and then we hit it up in there."

Afterwards, the Chargers were more than impressed with Williams, who carried the ball 29 times.

"We never thought Ricky would do to us what he did," Chargers safety Rodney Harrison said. "We couldn't stop them today. They played like Super Bowl champions."

"Ricky was tough. He ran around us and he ran over us," said Chargers defensive end Marcellus Wiley.

The Dolphins rank second in the league against the run and succeeded in containing Tomlinson, who carried the ball 14 times.

"I think a lot of their success comes from Zach Thomas," Tomlinson said of Miami's star middle linebacker. "He reads the play so well and he is always there before anyone else. It's all Zach if you ask me."

Tomlinson has rushed for 1,098 yards this season, falling behind Kansas City's Priest Holmes (1,209).

Thomas finished with six tackles and returned an interception seven yards to set up the first of Olindo Mare's three field goals.

Overall, the Dolphins nearly tripled San Diego in total yards, 413-144, and doubled the Chargers in first downs, 24-12.

"Both of our lines (won) the battle up front" Dolphins Coach Dave Wannstedt. "Ray ran the offense very well, very efficient and it was vintage Ricky Williams."

"Our performance today was very disappointing," said Chargers Coach Marty Schottenheimer, who fell to 1-9 at Miami. "Typically, in most games when you play like this, you've lost the battle upfront. We didn't make any plays to stay on the field and we didn't make any plays to get them off the field."

The Chargers (7-4), who began the day tied for the lead in the AFC West, lost for the third time in four games.

San Diego's Drew Brees threw for just 107 yards and was intercepted once.

"You feel the pressure and you want to try and get rid of the ball," said Brees, who was sacked three times. "I could have made some better throws today. They were able to get pressure on me which caused me throw some balls way where if I had just a couple of more seconds, I could have maybe made something happen."

The Dolphins scored on all four of their first half possessions to take a 20-3 lead.

After Mare kicked a 20-yard field goal for Miami, Steve Christie booted a 38-yarder with 4:27 left in the first quarter to tie the game.

Miami then drove 60 yards in six plays, capped by Lucas' pass to McKnight. Williams broke off runs of 12 and 19 yards to highlight the drive before McKnight beat rookie cornerback Quentin Jammer down the right side for his touchdown with 1:43 left in the quarter.

McKnight turned a short pass into a 77-yard gain -- the Dolphins' longest play since 1993 -- in the third quarter. He caught the ball as he fell, then got up as he was hit by cornerback Alex Molden and sprinted down the sideline to the San Diego five, setting up Mare's third field goal of the game.

"That was the worst pass for 77 yards in the history of the game and I will take it twice on Sunday," Lucas said.

The Dolphins put together a 14-play, 86-yard drive that consumed nearly 7 1/2 minutes in the second quarter and Williams capped it with a one-yard touchdown. McKnight had a 14-yard catch in that drive and finished with three receptions for 111 yards.

Williams scored his second touchdown on a 12-yard run with 2:14 left in the third quarterr after Scott Galyon recovered a muffed punt by rookie Reche Caldwell at the San Diego 28.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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