Friday, December 15, 2017
Sports

Defense, special teams carry Bills to win

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Mario Williams and the Bills' high-priced defense finally flexed their collective muscle, stuffing the Dolphins for a 19-14 victory Thursday.

Safety Jairus Byrd forced a fumble and had an interception. Linebacker Bryan Scott sealed the victory with an interception. And Williams had one of three sacks for a defense that entered 31st of 32 teams in the league but limited Miami to 184 yards.

That made up for an offense that got Rian Lindell field goals on each of its four trips inside the red zone. Buffalo's only touchdown came on Leodis McKelvin's 79-yard punt return 90 seconds into the game.

The Bills ended a three-game overall skid and an 11-game skid on prime time dating to 2001.

Williams was supposed to be the defense's centerpiece after signing a six-year, $100 million contract March. He is finally starting to play up to the deal. The end's sack gave him a team-high 51/2. The unit forced three turnovers after failing to produce one over its previous three games.

Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill struggled again for Miami. He went 14-of-28 for 141 yards, a touchdown and the two interceptions. He threw three interceptions in Sunday's 37-3 loss to Tennessee.

The Dolphins had two first downs in the first half and didn't cross midfield until their eighth drive, which came late in the third quarter.

Miami's only points of the first half came after Lindell's 32-yard field goal made it 10-0 in the first quarter. Marcus Thigpen took the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a score. It was his second return for a score this season, the other coming on a punt in the opener. Thigpen became the first Dolphin to return a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in the same season.

McKelvin made it 7-0 by going untouched down the sideline. He has two of the three longest punt returns in the NFL this season, also scoring on an 88-yarder in Week 2.

The last time there was a punt return for a touchdown by one team and a kickoff return for a touchdown by the opposing team in the same quarter was Dec. 5, 1999, Stats LLC said. The Redskins' James Thrash returned a kickoff 95 yards, the Lions' Desmond Howard a punt 68 yards.

49ers coach hospitalized

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was sent to a hospital for a "minor procedure" after doctors discovered he had an irregular heartbeat, the team said.

The team said it anticipated Harbaugh, 48, would be back at its facility today. No details about the procedure were disclosed, and Harbaugh was unavailable for comment.

"It's one of those things that, like Coach Harbaugh always tells us, he's tougher than a $2 steak," 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said. "We know he's going to be all right."

Harbaugh visited doctors Wednesday night after feeling ill and they advised him to have the procedure done, the team said.

More 49ers: QB Alex Smith, who sustained a concussion Sunday, practiced in a noncontact jersey for the second straight day. He hoped to play Monday against the Bears. He has not been medically cleared.

Talib talks: Former Buc Aqib Talib wants to leave his troubles behind. The cornerback spoke publicly for the first time since the Patriots traded for him last month. He had to wait through New England's bye week, then a game to finish a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, which Talib said was for Adderall. "What happened in the past is the past," Talib said. "I'm just looking forward to making the best of this opportunity and win some ball games."

Ex-Texan sues: Former Texans punter Brett Hartmann sued the county agency that operates Houston's Reliant Stadium, blaming "unsafe turf" for a possible career-ending injury. Hartmann played 12 games last season before tearing his left ACL and fracturing a bone in the leg. He hasn't played since. For games, workers piece together about 1,200, 8-by-8-foot palettes of real grass with forklifts. Hartmann caught his foot in a seam between palettes.

Bears: Quarterback Jay Cutler, who sustained a concussion Sunday, missed practice. Coach Lovie Smith said Cutler continued to improve.

Broncos: Defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who hasn't practiced this week, plans to test his sprained left shoulder today in hopes he can play Sunday against the Chargers.

Browns: Ex-Gators cornerback Joe Haden missed practice a day after being limited because of an oblique injury.

Chiefs: Starting guard Jon Asamoah will sit out Sunday against the Bengals after having thumb surgery.

Eagles: Quarterback Michael Vick, who sustained a concussion Sunday, again missed practice as rookie Nick Foles took all the snaps with the first team. The team held off announcing who will start Sunday against the Redskins.

Falcons: Receiver Julio Jones missed his second straight practice with an ankle injury and will be a game-time decision Sunday against the Cardinals.

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