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
With a third straight game on the line Sunday at Paul Brown
Stadium, the Dolphins answered their own question with an
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
”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
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
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
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
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
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
”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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