MIAMI (AP) — Ricky Williams knows his stats. He's well aware how long it has been since he ran for 100 yards in a game.
“It was at the end of the ‘05 season,” Williams said. “It was against the Patriots. I had 100-yard games in the last two games.”
Then came a long layoff. Then an injury. Then a new role as a backup back.
Ricky the reserve finally rejoined the 100-yard club Sunday, making the most of his 12 carries to help the Miami Dolphins beat Seattle 21-19.
He scored on a 51-yard run – his longest in six years – and finished with 105 yards. The 8.8-yard per-carry average was a career high.
“People make a big deal over 100 yards,” Williams said. “But it's only 1 more yard than 99 yards. …
“I've run for tons in my career. I just want to win.”
At 5-4, the surprising Dolphins are above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2005 season, in large part because of their one-two punch at running back with Williams and Ronnie Brown.
“It helps to have two guys who are experienced,” Brown. “Today was a great example of that. We were able to switch around and stay fresh and try to wear the defense down”
Brown ran for 39 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, and he added 27 on four receptions. The Dolphins improved to 3-0 when they run for more than 100 yards.
Both rushing touchdowns came from the Wildcat formation, where Brown takes a direct snap. The Dolphins sprung a new play on the Seahawks, with Williams flanked immediately to the left of Brown.
Using that alignment in the second quarter, Brown handed to Williams, who ran straight ahead and found a gaping hole.
“It was huge,” Williams said. “I got the ball, and I didn't see anyone. … They hadn't seen us run that play. They just all ran the wrong direction, and there was a big crease.”
The resulting run was the longest by Williams since 2002, the year he led the NFL with 1,853 yards rushing.
His travails since are well-documented – an abrupt retirement, repeated violations of the league's drug program and an 18-month suspension. He returned last November but lasted only six carries before a chest injury ended his season.
Once a workhorse, Williams carried 77 times in the season's first eight games, and coach Tony Sparano wanted to use him more against Seattle.
“We really just felt like it was important to get him involved early,” Sparano said. “Ricky was outstanding today. He was running hard. He looked pretty fast and explosive.”
He looked like a 100-yard rusher again.
Photo: Ricky Williams