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Dolphins at Bengals: Cincinnati flips the script in the second half to win big

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What a game. Cincinnati won big thanks to a dominant second half performance, including two defensive scores.

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Miami Dolphins v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Bengals hosted the Dolphins in a clash of two divisional leaders looking to keep their hold on first place on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. That only happened for the Bengals as Cincinnati won 27-17 against the Dolphins after Miami had a 17-0 lead in the third quarter.

Yes, these Bengals are not your 2017 Bengals. They’re new and improved.

Here are our live updates from the game.

Fourth quarter updates:

Cincinnati’s offense finally came alive in the first play of the third quarter. Dalton evaded pressure, yet again, a lobbed up a ball to Mixon, who stole it from Alonso and bolted into the end zone on a 2nd-and-12.

Miami felt the momentum shift on their ensuing drive, but still converted a 3rd-and-16 after a Geno Atkins sack. A couple of plays later, veteran Michael Johnson was Johnny-on-the-spot, as he corralled a ricocheted Tannehill pass and took it into the end zone for a pick-six, tying the game, 17-17.

Cincinnati held the Dolphins to a punt once again after the interception return and marched down the field on offense. Mixon had a 31-yard scamper and got the team two yards away from the end zone, but Cincinnati had to settle for another Bullock field goal, to give them their first lead of the day, 20-17.

The Dolphins were looking to move down to tie the game with just over three minutes left, but the defense came up huge once again. Carlos Dunlap had a strip-sack of Tannehill and the ball landed right into Sam Hubbard’s arms, and he returned it for yet another defensive touchdown. Cincinnati had a 10-point lead with 2:37 left in the game.

Facing a 2nd-and-20, the Dolphins had their backs against the wall, as the Bengals scored 27 unanswered points. Tannehill was under pressure yet again and sailed a pass that was intercepted by Jessie Bates III to ice the game for Cincinnati.

Third quarter updates:

The Bengals’ offense came out with just about the worst possible start a unit could have and punted the ball back to Miami. The Dolphins were gifted a personal foul penalty and moved the ball a little on their own with a Frank Gore run, but the defense held the Dolphins to a field goal, making their lead 17-0.

On their ensuing drive, Cincinnati answered with a field goal of their own. Dalton could find little space, nor could Joe Mixon, who has struggled churning out yards upon his return to the lineup this week. Regardless, Bullock his his second attempt of the afternoon—this one a 51-yard boot.

When the Bengals took the ball back after another Dolphins punt, they were aided in a big way by Miami penalties. Their special teams unit had a bad personal foul after Alex Erickson was rocked by a tackle and T.J. McDonald was called for a hit-to-the-helmet on C.J. Uzomah on a third down.

Unfortunately, as the Bengals were on the move, the third quarter ended with Alex Redmond getting called for a false start.

Second quarter updates:

As was the theme in the first quarter, Dalton and the Bengals’ offense squandered a decent drive, but pinned the Dolphins at their own five-yard line. Miami moved the ball methodically, continuing to move the sticks on third downs.

Ryan Tannehill was very precise on the drive, hitting a number of different receivers. The final pass of the drive was a touchdown lob to Kenyan Drake for a touchdown, giving Miami a 7-0 lead.

On the drive, Bengals linebacker Preston Brown looked to have re-aggravated his right ankle injury from earlier this season and exited the game. Also Tyler Kroft injured his foot on the previous drive on offense, which isn’t good news for the Bengals, who only have C.J. Uzomah and Mason Schreck active at tight end behind him.

In Cincinnati’s ensuing possession, the Bengals’ offense came out firing. A 15-yard reception by A.J. Green and a 31-yard grab by Tyler Boyd got the Bengals in field goal position. Unfortunately, Randy Bullock’s attempt was blocked and the Bengals came up empty once again.

Dalton and Co. went three-and-out after the defense finally got off of the field on third down and Cincinnati punted back to Miami. Disaster ensued, as Jakeem Grant took a Kevin Huber punt 70 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with just 23 seconds before halftime, in which they held until the gun.

First quarter updates:

The Dolphins won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball first. The Bengals defense took a stand though and the Dolphins ended up punting the ball away on their first drive.

Cincinnati took over at their own 10-yard line and marched down the field. However, when sniffing the end zone, Andy Dalton attempted to hit his receiver, but a tipped ball landed into Kiko Alonso’s arms for an interception to kill the drive.

The Bengals’ defense held strong and got the ball back for the offense. After it looked as if another Cincinnati punt was forthcoming, the Bengals caught a break with a running-into-the-kicker penalty to extend the drive into the second quarter.

The first quarter closed with a dubious statistic for Marvin Lewis’ squad:

The Dolphins started the season 3-0, but their most impressive win came against the also now 3-1 Titans. They also defeated the Jets and Raiders, but neither of those teams have looked great this season. Their one loss occurred last week against the Patriots, who crushed them by the score of 38-7.

The Bengals, meanwhile, are fresh off a come-from-behind win against the Falcons, in which they scored the game-winning touchdown with less than 10 seconds remaining. It was only the second time in Bengals history that a touchdown was scored with 10 seconds or less remaining to win a game. The Bengals failed to escape Atlanta without a handful of injuries to the offense, but they’ll at least be welcoming back Joe Mixon this week after he missed the last two weeks recovering from a minor knee surgery.

Arguably more importantly though, Cincinnati will get linebacker Vontaze Burfict back after serving his four-game suspension. The Bengals defense hasn’t been good this year. They have been clutch with timely stops and turnovers, but the offense is playing well enough that most of these games shouldn’t even be close. Hopefully Burfict can light a fire on that side of the ball in his return.

How to watch the Bengals host the Dolphins:

Game: Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) vs Dolphins (3-1)

Date/Time: Oct. 7th, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. EST

Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

Streaming: Fubo TV

Series Leader: Dolphins lead the series 15-6

Streak: The Dolphins have won three of the past four

Coaches vs. Opponent: Marvin Lewis: (3-3) vs. Adam Gase (0-1)

TV Broadcast: The game will air on CBS-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Rich Gannon (analyst) and Steve Tasker (sideline reporter).

Radio Broadcast: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

SB Nation Dolphins site: The Phinsider

Weather: Mid 80’s, mostly cloudy [NFL weather]

Odds: Bengals, -6.5 [Odds Shark]