The Dolphins were hoping Thursday night for a prime time effort from running back Ricky Williams, taking the place of the injured Ronnie Brown. They got more than they probably thought they would from their back, as Williams scored three times and rushed for 119 yards as the Dolphins moved to 5-5 with a 24-17 win.
Williams caught a 14-yard TD from Chad Henne in the second quarter to put Miami up 7-3, then ran in a one-yard run to make it 14-3 with :57 seconds left in the first half. Then with Miami holding to a 17-14 lead with less than four minutes left, Williams broke through a hole and went 46 yards for a clinching score to make it 24-14.
He ran hard all night, and overall the Dolphins run game put up 154 yards on 31 carries, a 5.0 yards per carry average. Henne was 17-for-29 for 172 yards with a score and a QB rating of 87.1. Panthers QB Jake Delhomme, who threw a TD to Steve Smith to make it 17-14 with 5:18 left, was 19-for-42 for 227 yards with a TD and a pick.
Delhomme was also under pressure a great deal from the Dolphins front four and their linebackers. He was sacked four times for minus 26 yards, and even on the last hail mary of the game was under pressure and just heaved the ball towards the end zone which was knocked down.
Carolina was led by a big night on the ground by DeAngelo Williams, who though being dinged was able to rush for 122 yards on just 13 carries, a 9.4 yards per carry average, which included a 50-yard run. Carolina ran for 182 yards, but were unable to get those sustained drives as they did vs Atlanta a week ago.
The Panthers fall to 4-6 on the season, and it was considered to be a must win for the club if they wanted to be a force for a wild card in the NFC. They still have games left against the 6-3 Pats, 8-1 Vikings and 9-0 Saints.
For the Dolphins, they are back to .500 after they started the season 0-3 and then 3-5. They get set to play at Buffalo a week from Sunday at 1pm.