The Dolphins were two different teams in this game. The team that started the game was aggressive and did everything right. They stuck with the run, they created turnovers, and they attacked, both on offense and defense. Then, things changed and the Bengals were able to gain control of the game. After a 17-0 lead, the Dolphins suddenly found themselves down 27-17 with 2:30 left in the game.
Injuries continue to decimate the Dolphins, with Laremy Tunsil becoming the third of the first Week 1 starting offensive linemen to be injured, entering the concussion protocol in the game. Sam Young struggled filling in for Tunsil at left tackle.
Miami looked so good in the first half, both on offense and on defense, but the second half was a completely different story. The offensive line began allowing pressure and suddenly Tannehill could not get comfortable and the Dolphins could not move the ball. The defense that had been playing lights out were suddenly unable to stop A.J. Green and Joe Mixon.
The Dolphins looked a lot better than the team that took the field in New England last week, but they still need to find a way to answer some of the questions still swirling - and they need to fix the offensive line quickly.
Dolphins won the toss and will receive.
Dolphins first possession. The Dolphins saw Jakeem Grant injured on the opening kickoff. Ryan Tannehill connected with Kenyan Drake on first down, picking up six yards. Tannehill then found Albert Wilson for six yards, followed by Frank Gore picking up six yards. Tannehill then picked up six yards on a pass to Wilson, then another four yards on a pass to Kenny Stills. Gore picked up five yards on a second-down run, then Drake dropped a pass that could have picked up the first down, leading to a Miami punt.
Bengals first possession. Joe Mixon started the drive for the Bengals, picking up two yards. Andy Dalton then connected with Alex Erickson for 10 yards. Dalton was then incomplete on a batted pass attempt toward A.J. Green, but an offside penalty on Davon Godchaux gave the Bengals an additional play. Dalton then found Green for 18 yards, with Mixon then picking up two. Dalton connected on a pass to Tyler Boyd for 10 yards, then Mixon picked up five yards. Dalton found C.J. Uzomah for 25 yards, then a five-yard Mixon run was negated by a holding penalty on Uzomah. Mixon picked up two yards on 1st-and-19, then Dalton scrambled for two yards. On 3rd-and-15, Dalton looked for Green, with safety Reshad Jones breaking up the pass and linebacker Kiko Alonso intercepting it.
Jones with the PBU and Alonso with the INT! pic.twitter.com/M6QNVEBlrf— Kevin Nogle (@thephinsider) October 7, 2018
Dolphins second possession. Gore picked up nine yards on the first down run, then Tannehill scrambled and connected with tight end Mike Gesicki on a last second throw, picking up four yards. Drake then picked up three yards before two incomplete passes led to a Miami punt.
Bengals second possession. Mixon picked up three yards on first down. Dalton then found Green for 23 yards, followed by a Mixon one-yard loss. Dalton then three to Mixon for six yards, setting up 4th-and-5. After Chase Allen appeared to block the kick, the referees called him for running into the kicker with no block on the kick - despite the fact that Allen was clearly blocked into the kicker - and the Bengals were given a first down.
Bengals second possession (continued). The Bengals picked up five yards on a Mixon run, followed by a Mixon four yard loss with Robert Quinn blowing up the play. A incomplete pass on third down led to a Bengals punt.
Dolphins third possession. Starting at their own five-yard line, Tannehill looked deep for Kenny Stills, a pass that fell incomplete but an illegal contact penalty gave Miami five free yards. Tannehill then connected with Danny Amendola for five yards before an incomplete pass as the team rolled Tannehill out but coverage kept anyone from being open. Tannehill found Wilson on a six-yard gain on 3rd-and-5, giving Miami the first third-down conversion by either team in the game. Gore picked up nine yards on first down, with Bengals linebacker Preston Brown injured on the play. The Dolphins played the pop-pass on the next play, with Wilson catching the short shovel and adding six yards. After Wilson was called for the offensive pass interference for appearing to have his jersey pulled on his cut, the Dolphins picked up 16 yards on 1st-and-20 with Wilson catching a short crossing pass and picking up extra yardage. On 2nd-and-4, Tannehill rolled to his left, set his shoulders, and found Stills for 13 yards. Gore picked up three yards on the next play. Gore then added four more yards on 2nd-and-7, followed by Tannehill finding Amendola for 16 yards - with a beautiful blitz pick up from Drake. Tannehill then found Drake in the endzone for the 22-yard touchdown!
TOUCHDOWN!!!!!! RT17 finds Drake for the 22 yard score to cap a 95 yard drive! pic.twitter.com/bv3pCKUcCM— Kevin Nogle (@thephinsider) October 7, 2018
Bengals third possession. Dalton found Green for 13 yards to start the drive, with Fitzpatrick making the tackle - something that seems to be fairly common right now, with Fitzpatrick and not Xavien Howard on Green. Mixon picked up four yards, then Dalton connected with Boyd for a 31-yard gain, with Jones having to make the tackle. Dalton then looked for Boyd again, but Quinn was able to hit Dalton’s arm just as he was about the throw and the ball falling incomplete. After a one-yard gain on a Dalton to Mark Walton, Dalton scrambled out of a near sack for seven yards. On the 37-yard field goal attempt, Vincent Taylor made the block and the Dolphins stopped from any points being given up.
Dolphins fourth possession. Gore picked up five yards on first down, then Drake picked up 18 yards on 2nd-and-5. Drake lost one yard on 1st down, leading to the two-minute warning. Tannehill then found Amendola for nine yards, setting up 3rd-and-2. After a timeout by the Bengals, Tannehill looked for Drake only to have the ball tipped at the line of scrimmage and fall incomplete. Miami punted.
Bengals fourth possession. Dalton connected with Erickson for eight yards, then was incomplete on 2nd down. On third down, Fitzpatrick blew up a screen pass to Boyd for a four-yard loss. The Bengals would punt on fourth down, with Jakeem Grant returning it 70 yards for a touchdown.
Bengals fifth possession. Dalton knelt to kill the clock. Halftime.
Bengals sixth possession. The Bengals receive the ball to start the second half. Dalton ran for two yards on 1st down, then Mixon lost two yards, with both tackles coming from Jones. Dalton was sacked on third down, with Jerome Baker recording the sack. The Bengals punted for the three-and-out possession.
Dolphins fifth possession. Gore picked up one yard on the first play, with an unnecessary roughness penalty adding 15 yards to the play. Gore then picked up 10 yards, followed by a Drake run for one yard. After Tannehill was sacked for an eight yard loss, the quarterback ran on a designed run for nine yards. Jason Sanders then connected on the 42-yard field goal.
Bengals seventh possession. Dalton found Erickson for six yards on first down. The T.J. McDonald and Davon Godchaux brought down Mixon in the backfield for a three-yard loss. Dalton found Green for 22 yards on a beautiful back-shoulder pass on Fitzpatrick. Dalton then found Uzomah for 18 yards, but Miami’s defense seemed to be done with that drive after that. An eight yard run from Mixon, followed by one more, was then capped with a 10-yard sack from Baker on Dalton. The Bengals connected on a 51-yard field goal.
Dolphins sixth possession. Gore picked up five on first down, then picked up four on second down. On 3rd-and-1, Tannehill looked deep for Still, but it was broken up by Dre Kirkpatrick. Miami punted, with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty coming against Martrell Spaight.
Bengals eighth possession. Mixon ran for no gain on first down, then Dalton looked toward Boyd on an incomplete deep pass. Green then picked up 21 yards as he beat Fitzpatrick to the ball on the pass. Dalton was incomplete on the next play, followed by a seven-yard Dalton to Boyd pass. Dalton looked deep on 3rd-and-3, with the ball sailing over Uzomah, but McDonald was called for unnecessary roughness and the Bengals picked up a first down. Mixon then picked up 12 yards, followed by three yards. After a false start backed up the Bengals to the Miami 18-yard line, Dalton connected with Mixon for an 18-yard touchdown.
Dolphins seventh possession. Gore picked up two yards on the first play, then Tannehill was sacked by Geno Atkins for an eight yard loss. On a screen pass to Drake, the Dolphins were able to convert the first down. Kalen Ballage picked up two yards on first down on an end-around. Then Tannehill looked to dump the ball off as he was being rushed, but the ball bounced off a lineman and was picked off by Johnson, who returned it 21 yards for the touchdown.
Dolphins eighth possession. Drake was stopped for no gain on first down, then Tannehill found Wilson for nine yards. On 3rd-and-1, Tannehill kept the ball on an option and picked up nine yards. Tannehill grounded the ball at Drake’s feet when a screen pass was not there, then Drake picked up four yards, but a hold on Ja’Wuan James backed the Dolphins up. Tannehill kept the ball on another option, but there was no space anywhere and he lost one yard. Tannehill then threw the screen pass to Drake, who picked up 13 of the 19 yards Miami needed, leading to another punt.
Bengals ninth possession. Howard was back on Green on first down, and he jumped the route to break up the pass from Dalton. Mixon picked up 11 yards on a nicely executed draw play, then bounced an inside run outside to pick up 31 yards. After a false start penalty backed the Bengals into 1st-and-15, Dalton threw to Walton on a screen pass that Miami diagnosed and stopped for two yards. Dalton then found Green for 15 yards, followed by an incomplete pass. Mixon piked up eight yards on the 2nd-and-Goal play, then Dalton tried to force a ball to Green in the endzone, but the pass was broken up by Jones. Cincinnati would kick a field goal.
Dolphins ninth possession. The screen pass was eaten up by the Bengals, losing two yards. Sam Young was then called for a false start leading to a 2nd-and-17 play. Tannehill then threw behind Drake for an incomplete pass. On 3rd-and-17, Tannehill scrambled as he was looking deep, as he reached back to throw the ball, it was stripped by Carlos Dunlap, with the fumble returned for a touchdown.
Dolphins tenth possession. Needing to score points, the Dolphins again struggled to move the ball. Tannehill found Gesicki for six yards, then again for 16 yards. After an incomplete pass toward Gesicki, Tannehill found Drake for three yards, only to have Sam Young called for holding and negate the play. Tannehill then found Drake for a two-yard loss. On 3rd-and-22, Tannehill looked deep as he was under pressure, with the pass picked off.
Bengals tenth possession. Mixon picked up four yards, then one yard, then lost two yards, with the Dolphins using their three timeouts to get the ball back.
Dolphins eleventh possession. Tannehill found Drake for a 12-yard gain on first down. Then Tannehill spiked the ball to stop the clock. Tannehill targeted Amendola on the second-down play, with it nearly picked off before it fell incomplete. Drake picked up 24 yards on the final play to kill the clock.
Final. Bengals 27-17.