RICKY REVISITED

Everybody knows about Ricky Williams' sensational performance in the Monday night victory over the Chicago Bears, but it's worth examining again from all different angles.

For those few Dolphins fans who somehow are not aware, Williams rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Dolphins to a 27-9 victory over the Bears at Pro Player Stadium.

Williams' performance meant several things:

• Williams took over the NFL rushing lead as he moved past both Kansas City's Priest Holmes and San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson.

• Williams reached 1,500 yards on the season, meaning the Dolphins will have to give up their 2003 first-round pick to New Orleans to complete the trade that brought Williams to Miami.

• Williams joined O.J. Simpson and Earl Campbell as the only players in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards in consecutive games. Simpson did it in 1973 and 1976, while Campbell accomplished the feat in 1980.

• Williams' 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest of his career, surpassing the 55-yard run he had against Buffalo the previous week.

There are many impressive things about Williams' performance this season, but Coach Dave Wannstedt said Tuesday the thing that stands out the most has been Williams' ability to break long runs.

Williams hadn't flashed that ability very often during his three seasons with the Saints, although he did break some long runs during his record-breaking career at the University of Texas.

In fact, Williams said after the Bears game that he feels like he's back in his Longhorns days.

"It's exactly how I feel, like I was back in college," Williams said. "It's a confidence thing. In college, I knew once a game I would have a long run. Now, I'm more proactive going after the big run. The guys are doing a great job up front helping me get upfield."

Make no mistake, though, Williams can give the offensive line all the credit he wants, but this guy is a difference-maker.

There were a couple of runs against the Bears, his first touchdown in particular, where Williams made something big happen when there didn't appear to be much available.

In a way, it's appropriate that Earl Campbell was the last player to accomplish the back-to-back 200-yard feat because there's a lot of Campbell in Ricky Williams.

Both are bruising backs, both won the Heisman Trophy and both played at the University of Texas.

The irony wasn't lost on Williams.

"I think compare us a lot because we're both from Texas," he said. "The fact is he had a great pro career, while before this year I had an average pro career. It's great to be mentioned with him."


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