Bengals offense on third down
vs. Dolphins third-down defense
Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith vs. Bengals wideout A.J. Green
Dolphins run defense
vs. Bengals running game
The impact: The Bengals came in putting up points by the dozens. It’s hard to do that when your days dozen is 12 third-down failures, courtesy of the Dolphins defense. The whole unit can take credit for perhaps the most important stop, a third-and-5 from the Dolphins’ 35 in the fourth quarter with the Bengals having momentum following a score on the previous drive. Downfield coverage made Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton hold the ball until he got engulfed by Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake and linebacker Kevin Burnett. Overall, the Dolphins’ defense smothered the Bengals’s offense.
The impact: Smith didn’t cover Green exclusively throughout the game. And Green did catch nine passes, one of which was a 2-yard dying-duck fade on Smith for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. But, Smith had Green enough to feel good about Green’s other eight passes going for a measly 63 yards, with his longest reception at 18 yards. No big, sexy, scintillating gains to get the Bengals offense or the home crowd feeling in a groove. Without such fuel from Green, the Bengals’ overall passing game averaged only 9.0 yards per completion, pop gun numbers for a bazooka offense.
The impact: Yeah, all three keys concern Dolphins defense. The Bengals rush numbers — 80 yards on 19 carries, a 4.2 average — looks respectable until you break it down. Quarterback Andy Dalton gained 21 yards on four scrambles. Almost half the remaining 59 yards came on one 29-yard carry by Bernard Scott. That leaves 30 yards on the other 14 carries by Scott and BenJarvis Green-Ellis, which left the Bengals too one-dimensional most of the day for Dalton to overcome this early in his career. Another solid outing this season for the Dolphins’ rush defense.