Lucas has his chance to make amends

Published: Sunday, December 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 30, 2002 at 11:16 p.m.
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Miami Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt, left, talks to his starting quarterback Ray Lucas (6) during the second half of the game in Miami on Nov. 24 as the Dolphins beat the Chargers 30-3.

(AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Miami quarterback Ray Lucas can't change the past or shake the dreadful memories of the last time he faced the Buffalo Bills.
It's not easy to forget an outing in which Lucas threw four interceptions, lost two fumbles and missed 20 of 33 pass attempts in a 23-10 loss.
Seven weeks later, as the Dolphins travel to Buffalo, Lucas still considers that last outing not only the worst of his career, but refers to it as "the worst game in history."
This could be his last start before relinquishing the Dolphins' starting job back to Jay Fiedler, who's resumed practicing after missing five games with a broken thumb. Is Lucas seeking atonement?
"There is no payback. I want to win. If that is considered payback, so be it," Lucas said. "If we win the game, I'm going to feel good regardless. Period. Then talk to me after the game."
Lucas speaks not out of frustration, but from confidence, having proven himself during what has been a wild ride.
The game against the Bills was Lucas' first start in three years, coming a week after Fiedler was hurt. The Dolphins then lost the next two before Lucas found his confidence and rhythm.
Coming off two straight victories, Lucas has performed efficiently, having gone three games without an interception, a stretch in which he's racked up a 100.7 passing rating.
"Adversity always builds character," said Lucas. "I could have gone either way. I could have gone down the tubes. But I'm not going to let that happen. I love this game too much."
With Lucas on track, the resurgent Dolphins (7-4) enter this weekend with golden opportunities to both maintain their AFC East lead and bury the division-rival Bills (5-6) further in the standings.
Lucas' poise has been a rallying point for a thoroughly balanced Dolphins team that believes in itself again.
"I think we are playing with more confidence," said Ricky Williams, whose 1,056 yards rushing are 202 shy of a franchise single-season record. "We know how good we are. We don't think we should lose to anyone."

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