In the fourth quarter, the Dolphins bench cleared for a scrum along the Bengals’ sideline following an ugly hit by wide receiver Mike Thomas on special teams as he hit the returner in the shoulder and head area before the ball arrived.
This was the second ugly hit via Thomas, although the first one you could argue was more of an accident. This fight came after two players had already been ejected, Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Boyd and Miami cornerback Xavien Howard, earlier in the game. Tensions were obviously already high, but this seemed to be the thing that pushed things over the edge.
One of the big things that started the brawl was Dolphins head coach Brian Flores going right at the Bengals’ sideline appearing to want to have, at the very least, some heated words with someone on the opposing sideline.
Brian Flores wanted a piece of that. pic.twitter.com/T78VQyunPi— Will Manso (@WillManso) December 6, 2020
That led to the Dolphins players starting to take shots at Bengals players and vice versa. When it was all said and done, Cincinnati lost safety Shawn Williams, and Miami lost wide receiver DeVante Parker and wide receiver Mack Hollins. Most notably, one of the Dolphins players punched a Cincinnati coach. Whether he was trying to punch a player instead is up for interpretation.
This game has been ugly beyond how watchable the actual football game has been. The refs need to shoulder a lot of the blame here as they failed to really keep control and even tossed the fire on the flames at points with their calls. It is impossible to say Cincinnati is blameless in this interaction though. Thomas’ hit was unnecessary, and you could argue he shouldn’t have even been on the field with Brandon Wilson and Stanley Morgan both playing an incredible game at the gunner position.
This was an ugly sequence that doesn’t help Cincinnati get out of the shadows of their 2015 perception, and it is yet another knock against Taylor and his staff.