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Dolphins lose Marino, then game to Bills

The Buffalo Bills had six fumbles, one muffed punt, several bad plays and no touchdowns, and still beat the Miami Dolphins.

Steve Christie kicked three field goals and the Bills won for the second time in three weeks without reaching the end zone as they beat the Dolphins 9-6 Sunday in a game Dan Marino left in the third quarter.

"We got a win," Bills quarterback Alex Van Pelt said. "It wasn't pretty. The conditions weren't great, but we got out of there with a division win, a big win against a rival."

The Bills recovered five of their own fumbles and held the Dolphins without a touchdown despite playing a defense that was restructured on Friday.

With linebackers Chris Spielman and Damien Covington nursing serious injuries, Buffalo switched from its 3-4 alignment to a 4-3. It held Miami to 230 total yards and the two field goals in a steady rain.

"There were so many heroes, I don't even know where to begin," Bills coach Marv Levy said. "Our defense, under extremely trying circumstances, did a spectacular job."

Marino sprained his left ankle in the first half before leaving the game for good with 11:25 left in the third quarter after he was intercepted by defensive end Sean Moran. He completed 5-of-15 passes for 76 yards and one interception before being replaced by Craig Erickson.

"I didn't think I could do what I needed to be effective," Marino said. "I felt like I could have played, but I couldn't move around enough to do what was needed to get this offense moving."

His ankle will be evaluated by Miami doctors this week.

"He wasn't able to move around out there," Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson said. "We didn't take advantage of our opportunities."

Christie kicked field goals of 41, 40 and 39 yards. The Dolphins moved into Buffalo territory in the final two minutes before Erickson was intercepted by Jeff Burris at the Buffalo 19 with 1:01 remaining.

Buffalo is tied for second place with Miami and New England in the AFC East, one game behind the New York Jets. The Bills play the Patriots Sunday at Rich Stadium. The Dolphins host the Jets.

"A lot of what happens the rest of the season depends on us," Bills offensive tackle Jerry Ostroski said. "Today was a prime, bad-weather Buffalo win."

The Bills fumbled six times and muffed a punt on the slick turf, but had only turnover.

Van Pelt was solid in his first NFL start in place of Todd Collins, completing 13-of-22 passes for 89 yards. Levy would not say who would start against the Patriots.

"I felt good," Van Pelt said. "I felt like I was getting the ball to the right guys. A few slipped. I may not have thrown the perfect passes, but I tried getting them to the right person."

Erickson was 8-of-18 for 121 yards for the Dolphins, who had no fewer than five dropped passes.