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Bills pick (off) right time for defensive progress

©Associated Press
October 21, 2002

MIAMI -- The Bills had the better quarterback Sunday, which was no surprise. They also had the better defense, which was a shock.

Taking advantage of an erratic effort by Miami backup Ray Lucas, the Bills came up with four interceptions, their first this season, and recovered two fumbles to beat the Dolphins 23-10.

Nate Clements tied a team record with three interceptions for the Bills, who entered the game last in the league with four takeaways.

"I forgot what it felt like, almost," Clements said of taking the ball away. "We said that when they come, they're going to come in bunches, and they did today."

He returned his second interception 29 yards for a touchdown to put the Bills ahead to stay.

The Bills committed no turnovers and struck on a 70-yard pass from Drew Bledsoe to Eric Moulds.

Moulds put Buffalo ahead 10-7 by getting behind Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Madison and safety Brock Marion on a blitz, catching Bledsoe's long pass in stride at the 35 and sprinting to the end zone. Moulds played despite back spasms that limited his practice time.

Lucas, in his first start since 1999, was replacing Jay Fiedler, who is expected to miss at least six weeks with a broken right thumb. By the third quarter, fans were booing Lucas' errant throws.

He didn't argue.

"The way I played today was probably the worst a quarterback has ever played in the history of the NFL," Lucas said. "I don't think I've ever thrown four picks since I was born. I embarrassed myself. ... I probably won't sleep for the next three days."

Lucas capped a 57-yard drive with a touchdown pass on the Dolphins' first possession but finished 13-for-33 for 165 yards. At least three of his passes bounced off the hands of defenders. Miami lost fumbles when Lucas was hit as he handed off on a reverse, and on a bad exchange between he and Ricky Williams.

Lucas worked with an depleted receiving corps missing starters Chris Chambers (concussion) and Oronde Gadsden (wrist).

Miami's only other quarterback was Sage Rosenfels, acquired on waivers from the Redskins.

Clements made it 17-10 with his second interception. Lucas ran and threw into the flat as he was hit. Clements caught it and ran untouched for the score.

Two other Dolphins threats ended in turnovers. They reached the 21-yard line in the second quarter before Clements came up with the Bills' first interception of the season. Clements also intercepted an overthrown pass by Lucas at the 8 in the third.

Carter could sign today

Miami coach Dave Wannstedt is scheduled to meet with Cris Carter today. If the league's second all-time leading receiver passes a physical the Dolphins are expected to sign him for the rest of the season.

Carter could be in the lineup for Miami's next game, Nov. 4 at Green Bay.

Carter, 36, retired in May with 1,093 catches for 13,833 yards and 129 touchdowns. He had 73 catches for 871 yards and six touchdowns last season with Minnesota. He has been working on HBO's Inside the NFL, lives in nearby Boca Raton and runs a summer camp for NFL players.

"He better get here tomorrow," defensive end Jason Taylor said. "Put the microphone down and let's go."

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