The Bengals are back at .500 as they rest up for 10 days before traveling to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 5. Cincinnati’s win over the Miami Dolphins wasn’t always pretty and there were some troubling moments on offense, but, at least for tonight, let’s embrace the good things that happened.
The first play
The Bengals have been the recipients of many penalties, but wasn’t it nice to see the Dolphins get a penalty on the very first play?
Distributing the ball
The first drive started with three passes to three different receivers and then a nice combination of passing and running the ball. Brandon LaFell, A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard all saw passes come their way on the first drive. Unfortunately, the Bengals were unable to convert in the redzone and settled for a field goal, which would turn into a trend for the duration of the night.
Getting beat deep
Early on, the Bengals got beat on the deep ball, something we saw frequently last week. On the Dolphins’ second offensive play, Ryan Tannehill dared the Bengals and threw a pass to an open Kenny Stills who took it 74-yards for a touchdown. In 47 seconds, the Bengals lost their lead. But, that wouldn’t last long and was the only points the Dolphins scored all night.
There’s this familiar “everything goes wrong” feeling that often emerges during primetime games. Like, when the Dolphins score a 74-yard touchdown and then word comes out that Rex Burkhead is hurt, and then Jeremy Hill leaves the game hurt. And then the Bengals go three and out. Is the curse real? Let’s go with no as that mostly ended the negativity. Though, Clint Boling left the game with a shoulder injury and Josh Shaw left with a stinger (more on that below).
Give the ball to Green
How many times have you read that Dalton throws to Green too often? Well, there’s a reason why Dalton throws to Green and anyone who asks that question probably needs to watch a little more football. He is the best receiver on the team and the best receiver who was on the field on Thursday. That’s why you give him the ball. On the Bengals’ third offensive drive it was all Green as he had 77 yards and a touchdown. So, thanks, A.J.. And, to all those who question Dalton giving him the ball “too often”, I’m not sure what to tell you. Try this...
C.J. Uzomah is making plays and looking good
The Bengals probably won’t have to heavily rely on tight ends not named Tyler Eifert for long, but C.J. Uzomah has been a much needed asset to this Bengals team. On the drive that ended with Mike Nugent’s 22-yard field goal, Uzomah was targeted three times and caught all three passes for 35 total yards. Having Uzomah and Eifert on the field together will be exciting. On the next offensive drive, after Carlos Dunlap strip sacked Ryan Tannehill and Domata Peko recovered the fumble, Uzomah was targeted twice more, though he was only able to haul in one of the two passes before the Bengals settled for another field goal.
Also... about that Carlos Dunlap strip sack...
What a great effort from the Bengals defense.
Bengals defense got it together after one bad play
In the first half, the Dolphins had three first downs. Three. And, the team combined for 83 receiving yards and 22 rushing yards. That’s an impressive performance from the Bengals defense. Especially considering 74 of those receiving yards came all at once. It took one bad play for the Bengals defense to get their act together.
Field goal party!
Thankfully, Mike Nugent has been exponentially better during the regular-season than he was during the preseason. Nugent was responsible for 16 of the Bengals’ 22 points. The Bengals need to start converting in the redzone because you don’t beat good teams by settling for field goals every change you get. But, it was a field goal party on Thursday night, and since the Bengals won... I’m OK with it.
George Iloka pulled a Taylor Mays and took out his own teammate
Alright, Iloka... let’s focus on tackling players on the other team, not coming into a play late and hitting your own teammate, causing him to leave the game. That’s what happened in the fourth quarter on a Tannehill pass to Damien Williams. Iloka made contact with Josh Shaw, who left the game with a neck stinger. That’s probably not what he was going for.
Chris Lewis-Harris didn’t want you to remember his only play last week for long
The only interception on Thursday night was grabbed by Bengals cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris. Lewis-Harris was responsible for Demaryius Thomas’ 55-yard touchdown last week, and he did not want you to remember that for long. Lewis-Harris got his first career interception on primetime and contributed to an all-around A-graded game for the Bengals defense.
Next up: the Dallas Cowboys.