Have the Dolphins finally found their offensive identity?
In their 22-20 victory over the Bengals, the previously pass-happy Dolphins unveiled a new blueprint: Run early, often and with lots of girth.
In nearly a fifth of their offensive snaps Thursday, the Dolphins had a third offensive tackle — Will Yeatman — on the field. Although technically lined up as a tight end, Yeatman had one job: block.
The results: Miami churned out 157 rushing yards and allowed only three sacks — half of what the team surrendered the week before.
“I thought he made a nice contribution,’’ coach Joe Philbin said of Yeatman.
“Part of it would be based on how productive we were, but we had some success in the beginning of the game, so he got a fair amount of snaps.’’
Philbin said part of the change in philosophy was to prevent Bengals from rushing the passer with their excellent front four.
The Dolphins’ sideline was a MASH unit by the time Thursday night’s game ended, with three key contributors sidelined by injury: Richie Incognito (neck), Dimitri Patterson (undisclosed) and Nolan Carroll (concussion).
None returned to the game after leaving.
However, Incognito and Patterson are expected to be fine. Incognito merely sustained a neck stinger.
Patterson, who has dealt with groin issues all season, is expected to play in the Dolphins’ next game (Nov. 11 at the Buccaneers). Before his injury, Patterson got his team-leading fourth interception.
Pegging Carroll’s return date might be a little trickier. League rules dictate that he cannot play again until he passes a battery of tests and is asymptomatic.
Wake’s big night
Thursday night was a vintage performance by Cameron Wake — three sacks, including the game-winning safety.
Afterward, Wake acknowledged that he’s only now feeling like himself after a knee injury in September slowed his effectiveness.
Philbin, meanwhile, said Friday that Wake was healthy and ready to go in the previous three games, but the team wanted to ease him back slowly.
“You certainly feel his presence a little more,’’ Philbin added. “You can’t deny that.’’
Cornerback Brent Grimes slipped no fewer than three times Thursday night, prompting his wife to say on Twitter that he needs a new pair of cleats.
Grimes wasn’t the only one struggling to stay ambulatory Thursday, as Bengals players lost their footing a few times, too.
“I walked the field before the game, and it seemed really good,’’ Philbin said. “A couple of their players slipped a couple of times. And a couple of our guys slipped.
“I’m not exactly sure why. Looked like [the field] was in pretty good shape."