Dolphins make decisive play, beat Bengals 17-13

Back-to-back losses in overtime were starting to play on the

Miami Dolphins’ minds.

Sure, they could point out that they’d played well, only to give

those games away. And they could try to look at them as flukes, two

weeks of last-minute disappointments that couldn’t possibly be

repeated.

Could they?

With a third straight game on the line Sunday at Paul Brown

Stadium, the Dolphins answered their own question with an

interception.

Reshad Jones picked off Andy Dalton’s overthrown pass at

midfield with 1:22 left, preserving a 17-13 victory over the

Cincinnati Bengals that ended those two weeks of Miami misery.

”In the back of your mind, you hope that it doesn’t show up

again,” receiver Brian Hartline said. ”With that being said, we

got over that hump.”

Miami (2-3) had led at halftime before losing to the New York

Jets and Arizona in overtime. The last one really stung – rookie

quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a fumble that helped the Cardinals

tie it, then an interception in overtime that set up a 24-21

defeat.

”We had two tough weeks leading up to this one,” Tannehill

said. ”Guys really talked all week about how we’ve got to finish.

We were two plays away from having a winning record.”

The Bengals (3-2) had a chance to make them sweat another one

out, but blew it.

Mike Nugent missed a 42-yard field goal try with 3 minutes left,

his first miss of the season. After the Dolphins ran down the clock

and forced the Bengals to spend their timeouts, Cincinnati took

over at its 20-yard line following a punt.

Dalton was under pressure when he sailed a pass intended for

Andrew Hawkins, giving Jones an easy interception.

”I have to give it to the front line,” Jones said. ”They got

the pressure on the quarterback. I just needed to make a

play.”

The Bengals never got anything going consistently on offense.

Dalton was only 26 of 43 for 234 yards with two interceptions and

three sacks against a defense that came in ranked No. 1 in the

league against the run.

Miami had one advantage: Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle was a

Bengals assistant for the past 11 seasons and knew a few things

about how their offense operates.

”He’s never had a problem motivating guys,” Bengals safety

Chris Crocker said. ”You’ll definitely play hard if you’re in one

of his defenses. Their front seven really played a heck of a

ballgame.”

So did their rookie quarterback.

The Bengals are in the midst of a stretch of five consecutive

games against teams starting rookie or second-year quarterbacks.

They’d won the first three by turning up the pressure – Cincinnati

led the NFL in sacks coming into Sunday’s game.

They couldn’t rattle Tannehill, who was coming off his best game

– 431 yards in the overtime loss at Arizona, the most by a rookie

NFL quarterback on the road. He followed it with a mistake-free

showing.

Michael Johnson sacked Tannehill the first time he tried to

throw, but the Bengals got to him only once more. Tannehill

finished 17 of 26 for 223 yards without an interception. His passer

rating of 92.3 was his best yet.

”It’s fun,” Tannehill said. ”When the pressure mounts, I

think that’s what brings the best out of a quarterback.

”The last couple of weeks, we had a good game, but we just

weren’t able to make that play at the end.”

The Dolphins wasted a chance when fullback Jorvorskie Lane

fumbled on a carry from the Cincinnati 11-yard line in the first

half.

The 17 points was enough for a defense that contained the

Dalton-to-Green passing combo. Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green

finished with nine catches for only 65 yards, including a 2-yard

touchdown.

Cincinnati had to settle for a pair of field goals in the first

half, when Miami’s defense held on a first-and-goal from the 4-yard

line.

”The offense didn’t play well across the board,” Dalton said.

”It’s tough sitting here where we are. We had our chances, but we

couldn’t get it done.”

Tackle Randy Starks reached up and picked off Dalton’s pass

early in the second half, a two-handed grab as the ball reached the

line. The interception set up the drive that ended in Reggie Bush’s

13-yard touchdown run.

Notes: The Dolphins won without CB Richard Marshall, inactive

after missing practice all week with a bad back. Nolan Carroll

started in his place and left early in the third quarter to get

evaluated for a concussion. … Bengals LB Rey Maualuga left for a

concussion evaluation in the second half, but returned. … RB

Bernard Scott had a 29-yard run in the first quarter, the longest

allowed by the Dolphins this season. He hurt his left knee in the

first half and didn’t return. … Cincinnati rushed for only 80

yards. The Dolphins haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher for 19

consecutive games, their longest streak since 2002-03, when they

went 20 games without allowing one.

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