ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Leodis McKelvin scored on a 79-yard punt return and the Mario Williams-led Buffalo Bills defense, often maligned, finally flexed its muscles Thursday night in a 19-14 victory against the Miami Dolphins.
Safety Jairus Byrd recovered a fumble and made a diving interception, and Bryan Scott sealed it with an interception to end the Dolphins’ final drive. Williams had one of the three sacks for a Buffalo defense that limited the Ryan Tannehill-led Dolphins to 184 yards.
That was enough to make up for an offense that settled for Rian Lindell’s four field goals on four drives into the red zone.
Buffalo (4-6) snapped a three-game skid and won for only the second time in seven games.
Marcus Thigpen scored on a 96-yard kickoff return and Davone Bess had a 2-yard touchdown catch for Miami (4-6), which has lost three straight games.
BEARS: Quarterback Jay Cutler missed practice and his playing status remained in question because of a concussion.
Coach Lovie Smith said that Cutler continues to improve but it’s not clear if he’ll be ready to play Monday night at San Francisco.
JETS: Running back Shonn Greene said he was “shocked” by a published report in which he was quoted suggesting the team might need to make a change at quarterback.
Greene said the Yahoo! story included quotes that were “completely out of context.” He added that he never said anything about replacing Mark Sanchez with Tim Tebow as the quarterback. The story quoted Greene as saying: “You feel bad for Mark but at the same time you want to win games. If you want to win games, you’ve got to try something.”
PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL can evolve into a safer game without losing the physical play — or, some would say, violence — that has made it so popular, Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a speech on player safety at the Harvard School of Public Health.
“Football has always evolved and it always will,” he told an overflow crowd of a few hundred. “Make no mistake: Change does not inhibit the game; it improves it.”
BRONCOS: Defensive end Elvis Dumervil plans to test his sprained left shoulder at practice Friday in hopes he can play Sunday against San Diego.
Dumervil was injured at Carolina last weekend but medical tests this week showed no torn muscles or ligaments.
COWBOYS: Receiver Dez Bryant said he was “excited” about an agreement with prosecutors that could lead to the dismissal of a family violence charge over a dispute with his mom. Bryant is attending anger management sessions, and the Dallas County district attorney’s office will dismiss the misdemeanor charge if he stays out of trouble for a year.
Bryant was arrested in July in suburban Dallas after he allegedly hit his mother, Angela Bryant, in the face with a ball cap. A police affidavit said he also grabbed her T-shirt. His mother formally asked prosecutors not to pursue the case.
49ERS: Coach Jim Harbaugh was sent to the hospital for a “minor procedure” after doctors discovered he had an irregular heartbeat.
The team said it anticipates Harbaugh will be back at the 49ers’ facility Friday, though it’s unclear in what capacity. No details about the procedure were given.
TEXANS: Brett Hartmann, a former Houston punter, sued the county agency that operates Reliant Stadium, blaming “unsafe turf” for a possibly career-ending knee injury.
The 6-foot-2 Hartmann signed with the Texans as an undrafted free agent in July 2011. He played in the first 12 games last season before tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament and fracturing a bone Dec. 4 in Houston’s 17-10 victory against Atlanta.
CHIEFS: Offensive lineman Jon Asamoah will miss Sunday’s game against Cincinnati after surgery on one of his thumbs.
Receiver Jon Baldwin hasn’t been cleared following a head injury sustained in last week’s game against Pittsburgh and is unlikely to be available. Tight end Jake O’Connell also is expected to miss the game with an ankle injury.
BROWNS: Starting cornerback Joe Haden wasn’t at practice because of an oblique injury.
Haden, who was suspended four games by the NFL earlier this season for failing a drug test, wasn’t on the field for the portion of practice open to the media.
He was limited Wednesday with an oblique injury but said afterward he expected to play this week at Dallas.
REDSKINS: Coach Mike Shanahan had money and a passport stolen from the locker room during a game at Pittsburgh last month.
The team said officers in Pittsburgh insisted on filing a police report and the investigation is ongoing.
DOLPHINS: Receiver Jabar Gaffney sat out the game against at Buffalo because of a knee injury.
Gaffney, signed by Miami early last month after being released by New England in the offseason, has four catches in three games.
FALCONS: Receiver Julio Jones missed practice for the second straight day with an ankle injury and will be a game-time decision against Arizona.