- Associated Press - Saturday, September 13, 2014

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Receiver Mike Williams doesn’t need added incentive to dislike the Bills’ AFC East rival Miami Dolphins.

He developed that as a youngster, growing up in a family of Bills fans in Buffalo.

“Oh yeah, hating the Dolphins, actually,” Williams said. “My mom wouldn’t let me forget those guys.”

Williams and his mother, Mary Rosenthal, can now share that distaste at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday. She’ll be in the stands watching her son make his Bills’ home debut against Miami.

“She’ll be front row for this one,” said the fifth-year player, who was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay in April.

Though the rivalry has cooled off as a result of their respective decade-long struggles, there’s a sense it might be starting to simmer again after both teams posted stunning season-opening victories.

The Dolphins knocked off division power New England with a 33-20 win. Buffalo showed resolve in pulling out a 23-20 overtime victory at Chicago.

Suddenly, an early season showdown is taking on even more significance for two teams that have one playoff berth between them (Miami in 2008) since 2002.

“We want to win the division,” Williams said. “And Miami’s in our way.”

For Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace, the game presents an opportunity to get an early jump on the division, something Miami failed to do last year.

The Dolphins went 2-4 against the East, including a pair of losses to Buffalo that contributed to them missing the playoffs with an 8-8 record.

“We don’t want to be playing catch up,” Wallace said. “We need to see how it feels to play as the division leaders the whole time. We have the team to do it.”

The Dolphins fell behind 17-7 against New England before responding in the second half by scoring 23 unanswered points, forcing two turnovers and limiting the Patriots to five first downs.

The Bills showed resolve at Chicago. After squandering a 17-7 lead, they stopped the Bears on their first overtime drive and capped the win on their next possession, set up by Fred Jackson’s 38-yard run.

“It’s got to be the character of this team this year: We have to be able to meet the face of adversity,” Jackson said.

Here’s other things to look out for on Sunday:

MANUEL MATURING: Several Bills veterans credited second-year quarterback EJ Manuel for providing an emotional lift before their game at Chicago. The usually reserved Manuel broke character and the locker room silence with a series of yells.

“I think it hyped everybody up,” Williams said.

Manuel acknowledged he was taking a risk with the outburst, but said he wanted to show more of the outgoing personality he had playing at Florida State.

“I was very happy to see that they responded really well to it,” he said. “It was a big step in my maturation as a quarterback and also as a leader.”

ON THE RUN: Offseason free-agent addition running back Knowshon Moreno got the Dolphins off to a running start with an NFL Week 1-leading 134 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Moreno took the pressure off Ryan Tannehill’s passing attack, and provided a boost to an offensive line that features five new starters.

“When you’re running the ball for 6 to 8 yards a carry, it’s a real luxury,” Tannehill said.

STOPPING THE RUN: The Bills’ once-porous run defense came up sturdy against the Bears by allowing 86 yards. Buffalo gave up under 90 yards rushing only three times last year, while surrendering more than 150 yards seven times under former coordinator Mike Pettine.

Former Lions coach Jim Schwartz has taken over after Pettine was hired to coach the Cleveland Browns.

WAKE-UP CALL: Dolphins DE Cameron Wake was the AFC defensive player of the week after forcing a career-best two fumbles and adding two sacks.

He’s part of a talented Miami front that faces a Bills offensive line that features two new starters.

Wake ranks fifth in the NFL with 53½ sacks since 2009, when he signed with the Dolphins after two seasons in the Canadian Football League.

Wake still wears the same flip-flops with the CFL logo on them he had in 2007. He joked he’ll have to call his former B.C. Lions general manager to see if he can get a new pair.

HONORING RALPH: The Bills will honor late Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson during a pre-game ceremony. Wilson died in March. On Tuesday, Wilson’s estate reached a “definitive agreement” to sell the team to Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula for an NFL-record $1.4 billion.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide