Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins blow fourth-quarter lead, embarrassed for second consecutive week

Miami Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake on their loss to the Bengals, ‘they get paid to stop us’.

Miami Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake on their loss to the Bengals, "they get paid to stop us".
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Miami Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake on their loss to the Bengals, "they get paid to stop us".

Hey, the Dolphins looked different with their new game plans and strategies and stuff for three quarters on Sunday.

The defense was blitzing, which is not typical. And rookie Jerome Baker had two sacks -- the first and second of his career.

And the defense was holding the Cincinnati Bengals to only a field goal through three quarters on Sunday.

The offense, meanwhile, was using this new approach with Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore.

Gore was running the ball mostly between the tackles. Drake was being used for outside runs and as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield and even split out wide.

And the reward for this was a touchdown reception for Drake. And Gore averaging 5.5 yards per rush.

The Dolphins led 17-3. Cool!

And then reality hit.

The Bengals, falling steadily behind, decided they had to throw the football. That’s typically good for the defense. You know, turning the offense one-dimensional and all.

But it was bad for the Miami in the fourth quarter.

Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton engineered an eight-play drive, with the payoff an 18-yard throw to Joe Mixon for the Bengals first touchdown of the game.

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill heard the roar of the crowd and realized his 4th quarter fumble resulted in a Bengals TD.

No problem, right.

The Dolphins would get the ball back and, having played good complementary football all day, could score and keep the game under control.

Nope.

The offense set off on one of the most bizarre moments in recent history.

Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones says we didn't do enough to win the game in their defeat to the Bengals.

Tannehill, pressured out of the pocket, threw an inexplicable pass to who knows who. And the ball hit a Cincy defender. And then it bounded off tight end Durham Smythe. And then it ricocheted into the hands of defensive end Michael Johnson.

Johnson, as shocked as you and me that he had the football, turned and ran 22 yards for a tying score.

That, folks, is the anatomy of a lead lost.

So how was the game lost?

Well, the Bengals got the ball back. And, of course, they got the go-ahead points on a field goal.

And then with 3:30 to play, the Miami offense had a chance for heroics. And had none to offer.

It only offered clown car plays.

Sam Young, playing for Laremy Tunsil because the starting left tackle had a concussion, was called for a false start.

And a couple of desperate plays later, Tannehill was moving out of the pocket and as he was preparing to throw, defensive end Carlos Dunlap hit the Miami quarterback. And the ball fluttered out.

And Sam Hubbard was thrilled with the ball falling into his grasp. He then ran 19 yards for the score. It was ruled as a fumble recovery.

Bengals 27.

Dolphins 17.

Miami Dolphins WR Jakeem Grant says, "this one hurts", in their melt-down in the fourth quarter defeat to Bengals.

So in this game the Miami offense gave up twice as many touchdowns as it scored.

In the fourth quarter, the Dolphins allowed two opposing defensive linemen to score touchdowns.

In this game, we saw three quarters of solid play. And one meltdown quarter that reminded us of the 1966 Dolphins -- the expansion Dolphins who couldn’t get out of their own way.

This was a face palm performance, folks.

Shocking in its circus nature.

Disappointing is not the right word.

Blow a game by giving up 14 points when the defense isn’t even on the field?

Embarrassing.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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