Let it snow.
I’m saying that because absolutely anything can happen when a football game is played in wintry conditions, and because the Miami Dolphins are at the stage of the season where absolutely everything must happen in order for them to make the playoffs.
So when the Dolphins play at Buffalo on Sunday, a real mid-December treat from the NFL schedule-makers, might as well root for the kind of accumulation that turned last week’s game there between the Bills and the Colts into a snow-globe classic.
Light snow and sleet and eventually a full-on barrage of near whiteout conditions didn’t stop Ricky Williams from rushing for a career-best 228 yards at Buffalo on Dec. 1, 2002. That remains a Miami franchise record, and it came on a day when the temperature was 25 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 13.
The Dolphins’ first snap was a handoff from Ray Lucas to Ricky, who rumbled 45 yards around left end for a touchdown. The field was slippery, but so what?
In the third quarter Ricky cut loose right up the middle for a 55-yard score. The snow was building from a fine powder to a regular winter wonderland by then, but so what?
Truth is, Ricky would have had a chance at 250 total rushing yards if not for a leg injury that removed him from the game early in the fourth quarter.
“I was a little nervous about it,” Ricky said, admitting postgame that he had been checking the weather forecast on his cellphone all week. “It wasn’t bad, you know. It was just cold. Once you get past the mental part of it being cold and you being miserable, then it’s just football.”
Drew Bledsoe, the Bills’ quarterback at the time, clearly agreed. While Lucas was laboring on a 6-for-11 passing day with two fumbles, Bledsoe threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Included in there was a 73-yard touchdown pass from Bledsoe to Peerless Price, the play that put Buffalo ahead to stay in a 38-21 victory.
How would Kenyan Drake fare on an icy field if it comes to that on Sunday? That would be a new experience for the Dolphins’ new feature running back, who grew up in Georgia and played college ball at Alabama. All I know is that Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy rushed for 156 yards and the winning touchdown in overtime last week in snow up to his ankles, and it was his best game of the season.
In the end, there need be no particular advantage for either team, not when the Bills have an indoor practice facility to use on snowy weekdays.
So bring on the blizzard. The Dolphins and Bills are each trying to slip and slide their way into a wild-card playoff spot anyway. Might as well make it truly epic.