Lost amid the Dolphins’ fourth quarter meltdown Sunday was the final play of Quarter No. 1 that might have had a huge impact if the game had gone differently.
The official record shows that Dolphins linebacker Chase Allen ran into Bengals punter Kevin Huber on fourth-and-5, costing the Dolphins five yards and giving the Bengals a first down.
But Allen believes he hit the ball coming off Huber’s foot — yet even if he didn’t, there should have been no penalty anyway because he was blocked into the kicker.
“I mean I thought I hit the ball,” Allen said Monday. “It was a bang-bang play. I either hit the ball or his shoe.”
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Allen told the same to his coaches, who decided to challenge the play. While the punt went left and short off Huber’s foot — suggesting it had been deflected — there was no conclusive evidence, so the call stood.
Credit the Dolphins defense, which responded and quickly forced another punt instead of allowing the Bengals to score.
But it was part of a broader pattern Sunday of borderline or simply bad calls that went against the Dolphins. T.J. McDonald got flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver on third-and-long, even though it’s hard to see what more caution he could have used without simply conceding the reception.
That was the second costly flag of the possession. A few plays earlier, linebacker Martrell Spaight was penalized for taunting after a special teams stop. CBS cameras caught Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi screaming in Spaight’s face for a good 10 seconds after the penalty.
“I’m not over there to hear,” Gase said, when asked about the exchange. “It’s hard to really know what exactly was said. I just know right when I saw the play and I saw kind of some heads start bobbing, we’re all screaming the same thing: ‘Get away!’ We just can’t get caught up in that part of the game.”