Dolphins, Bengals tied at 20 after 4 quarters
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP)
The Dolphins led 17-3 after Brent Grimes' 94-yard interception return in the third quarter, then lost the lead after Cincinnati reeled off 17 straight points - including a spectacular 35-yard touchdown run by Giovani Bernard in the fourth quarter.
Mike Nugent's 54-yard field goal with 1:24 left put Cincinnati on top, but the Dolphins wound up taking the ensuing kickoff and driving to the Bengals 26. Sturgis did the rest, coolly making the kick that sent things to overtime - shaking off a slump that had seen him miss five of his last seven attempts, including a 34-yarder earlier Thursday.
Miami had been rolling earlier in the second half. Grimes stepped in front of a pass that Andy Dalton intended for Marvin Jones, and turned the turnover into the longest interception return for a score by a Miami player since 2002.
It came five plays after what would have been a 50-yard touchdown pass - from Dalton to Jones - was brought back after a holding call against Jermaine Gresham.
Bernard had a 3-yard touchdown run later in the quarter for Cincinnati. The Dolphins didn't take their first offensive snap of the third quarter until 2:03 remained. And when Bernard made at least five Dolphins miss on a brilliant run early in the fourth, the Bengals had Miami on its heels.
Ryan Tannehill had a 1-yard touchdown run and Sturgis added a 36-yard field goal in the first half for the Dolphins, who led 10-3 at the break and kept the seven-point edge heading into the final 15 minutes of regulation. Cincinnati got a 31-yard field goal from Nugent to open the scoring early in the second quarter.
Miami ran for 142 yards in the first half, the franchise's most in the first 30 minutes of a game since piling up 174 before intermission against New England on Dec. 29, 2002.
The Bengals lost All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins to a knee injury with 4:35 left in the second quarter. The team originally said he was questionable to return, then downgraded him to out a few minutes later. Miami lost offensive lineman Richie Incognito (neck) and cornerback Nolan Carroll (concussion) to injuries in the first half.
Dalton was 29 of 46 passing for 306 yards in regulation, with four giveaways - a fumble and three interceptions. Tannehill was 18 of 25 passing for 192 yards.
Even with the lead, there were still plenty of Miami struggles in the first half, including one sequence where Lamar Miller got the Dolphins' second-longest ground gain of the season - and the team essentially lost 2 yards on the play.
Miller carried the ball down the right side of the line, darted through a tiny opening near the sideline and took off toward the middle for what became a 41-yard carry. But as he neared the end zone, Cincinnati's Carlos Dunlap ran Miller down, took a huge swipe with his right arm at the ball and knocked it loose.
Adam ''Pacman'' Jones recovered the bouncing ball for the Bengals in the end zone, running it out to the Cincinnati 43.
But the Miami defense forced a three-and-out, and after a punt pinned the Dolphins deep, they went on the 93-yard march capped by the third rushing touchdown of Tannehill's career.
With that, the mood at Sun Life Stadium changed dramatically.
The Dolphins were hearing boos in the early going, after wasting a scoring opportunity created by defensive end Cameron Wake, who got to Dalton and forced a turnover at the Cincinnati 25 - Wake's first sack since Week 1.
Miami eventually had a fourth-and-1 and Dolphins coach Joe Philbin sent in the field-goal unit, to the dismay of some in the crowd. Their boos only got louder moments later, when Sturgis' kick went wide left - his fifth miss in his last six attempts at that point, after a 10-for-10 start to his rookie season.
Win or lose, Cincinnati will remain atop the AFC North, with the Bengals entering the night on a four-game winning streak and 2 1/2 games ahead of reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore. The Dolphins entered on a four-game slide, a swift collapse after getting off to a 3-0 start.
Both teams were missing key linemen.
Cincinnati left tackle Andrew Whitworth was inactive after injuring his right knee Sunday in the Bengals' win over the New York Jets. Miami was without tackle Jonathan Martin, who was inactive and is receiving professional assistance for emotional issues.