MIAMI -- Marv Levy made the Buffalo Bills an unusual promise at the team meeting the night before their crucial AFC East, first-place showdown against the Dolphins: Beat Miami and he'll sing in the locker room.
For some reason, that motivated the Bills, especially the defense, which, in a span of 7:18, scored two touchdowns and set up two more in Buffalo's wild, 47-34 victory over the slumping Dolphins yesterday at Joe Robbie Stadium.
"At the end of our meeting [Saturday] night, I was telling them that it's not the 3-4 or the 4-3 or the no-huddle. That how you do something is more important than the way you do it," the Bills' coach said.
Levy didn't break into song then, but he mentioned an old tune by Bob Crosby and the Bobcats called "It Ain't What You Do; It's The Way That You Do It." Not too many of the Bills knew the song by Bing's brother, but they called for Levy to sing it, anyway.
"I can't recall that I've ever done that before," Levy said. "I set back the entertainment business a number of decades."
Now whether Levy can sing the Bills to their fourth straight Super Bowl is another question. But in the NFL's highest-scoring game of the season, two teams that were having trouble putting points on the board -- the Bills had scored 62 points in their first six road games -- had no trouble finding the end zone in an intense 3:32 interrupted several times by skirmishes.
The Bills (10-4) have a one-game lead on the skidding Dolphins (9-5) with the Jets next in Buffalo. Miami just finished a stretch of three straight home games and lost all three -- to the New York Giants, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Bills.
The Bills had taken a 19-17 lead with 1:31 left in the half when the game began to resemble last year's Super Bowl, the one Buffalo lost, 52-17, turning the ball over nine times. But this time it was the Super Bowl in reverse. Four turnovers equaled four Buffalo touchdowns.
"All of a sudden, we started to play like Santa Claus," said Miami coach Don Shula.
On the first play after Steve Christie's 32-yard field goal, Miami quarterback Scott Mitchell, in his first action since separating his left throwing shoulder on Nov. 14, tried to hit Irving Fryar along the right sideline. Mitchell never saw Mickey Washington. He threw it right to Washington, who took it back 27 yards for the touchdown.
The Dolphins did come right back down the field, and although they reached the Buffalo 1 with three seconds left, Shula chose to let Pete Stoyanovich kick the field goal. It was Buffalo 26-20 at the half.
On the first play of the second half, Darryl Talley stripped the ball from Keith Jackson, and it bounced right to Nate Odomes, who scooted 25 yards for a touchdown.
On the second play of Miami's next possession, Mitchell's pass for Fryar was picked off by Matt Darby, who returned it 32 yards to the Miami 19. Four plays later, Kenneth Davis went in from the 1 -- his third touchdown of the day -- to make it 40-20.