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On hot starts, Mario Williams does Bruce Smith one better

By Tim Graham

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Mario Williams' reputation as a game-changer is recovering.

"This guy is an athlete and a force," Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy said Sunday night on NBC.

The Bills' pass rush seemed to have a decisive advantage over the Miami Dolphins' beleaguered offensive line Sunday. The Bills ranked third in sacks. The Dolphins had been giving up sacks at a franchise-record pace.

But the Bills were shut out for most of the game before Williams picked up a pair of crucial sacks in the final seven minutes of the game. He pancaked Ryan Tannehill on the first sack and then stripped him on the second sack to help set up Dan Carpenter's winning field goal.

Williams has a team-leading 10 sacks, most by a Bill since sacks became official NFL stats in 1982. Bruce Smith had nine sacks through seven games in 1997.

The Bills have registered 23 sacks this year, the fifth time in club history with at least that many through the first seven games.

Some Bills fans were down on Williams last year. He signed the richest contract for a defensive player in NFL history but didn't do much in the first half of the season other than exasperate the organization with his wrist injury. I fielded questions in my chats from fans who wondered what the Bills could get for Williams at the trade deadline.

But since last year's bye week, he has 17 sacks in 19 games.


Bruce Smith | Mario Williams
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |