Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Bengals get a gotta have it win, 27-15 over Dolphins

Photo: Getty Images

Bengals 27 Dolphins 15

It certainly wasn't a thing of beauty. At times, it was weird, frustrating, confusing and scary. But in the end it was a win on a night the Bengals had to have it.
They handed the Dolphins (3-1) their first loss of the season and moved even on the season at 2-2 with their second win in five days. The Bengals trailed 15-14 entering the 4th quarter, but outscored Miami 13-0 to close the game. They had been 1-27 when trailing heading to the 4th quarter under Zac Taylor.

Tough to watch: Tua Tagovailoa was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital after hitting his head on the turf after being sacked by Josh Tupou in the 2nd quarter. His fingers contorted and locked up in as scary as scene as you will see on the field. He did have feeling in his arms and legs, afterwards. He was released from the hospital and flew home with the team. It's still impossible to fathom that he re-entered this past Sunday's game AND played just four days after the scary scene when he was rocked by a hit in the New England game. Medical negligence, times two. Back-up QB Teddy Bridgewater took over.


Give 'em credit. They are as tough as nails. 1 TD, 3 FG, 2 takeaways, 2 3rd down conversions. They bent at times, and got gashed at times, and they surrendered a TD to end a string of 24 consecutive drives without allowing one, but they never really broke. They allowed just 2 of 10 on 3rd down. Zero 2nd half TDs allowed this season. One TD allowed last 11 quarters. Yes, Hill went for 10 catches/160 yards, but Jaylen Waddle was held to just two catches.

Ding, ding! Vonn Bell picked off two passes, taking one from each Miami QB. With the Bengals clinging to a 20-15 lead, he intercepted Bridgewater at the Bengals nine-yard line with about 3:00 left in the game and flipped the field with a 46-yard return to midfield that set up the final score. His two picks equaled his career total in six previous seasons.

Big stops, hits and holds: Akeem Davis-Gaither dislodged the ball from Waddle and the Dolphins had to settle for a field goal in the 2nd quarter. Mike Hilton had a sweet open field tackle of TE Mike Gesicki on 3rd and 4 in the 3rd quarter. Chido Awuzie was beaten on a tipped/circus 64-yard catch by Hill, but the D rose up hold the Dolphins to a FG that gave Miami a 15-14 lead with 2:40 left in the 3rd quarter. Logan Wilson came up with a huuuuuge stick to stop a 3rd and inches run and force a punt with 9:54 left in the game and the Bengals up 17-15.
Gaps: Miami did a great job of scheming and picking apart the middle of the field. Their speed made me antsy all night.


Opening act: The Bengal scored a TD on the opening drive for the second consecutive week and made it look easy and encouraging in the proces.
(Dolphins won toss and deferred) The Bengals marched 9 plays/75 yards, using Joe Mixon and Hayden Hurst to convert big third downs. The OL capped the drive with a huge surge to push Mixon into the endzone from five yards out. But the offense then went into a funk that lasted into the 4th quarter.

Burrow: He was strangely off, early, but rebounded. 20 of 31, 287 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. QB rating 115.9. He started 7 of 14, missing multiple mid-range throws, but went 13 of 17 the rest of the way. They converted 8 of 15 3rd downs. The offense had six plays of 20+ yards, including three of 36+ yards.

Clean, but: The OL allowed just one sack on Burrow's 31 passing attempts. It didn't come until 10:40 of the 3rd quarter. But the run game continues to be a hot mess: 30 carries/67 yards (2.2).

Feature act: The Bengals clearly put the early focus on getting Mixon going. He touched the ball 7 of the first 13 plays and 9 of 17 plays in the 1st quarter.
But the early encouraging results quickly faded. 24 carries/61 yards (2.5) with a long of 7 yards and 4 catches on 4 targets for 13 yards. Mixon for the season: 82-224 (2.7).

Blast off: Each WR was part of big plays. Tee Higgins had a monster night, 7-124 and a 59-yard TD to give the Bengals a 14-6 2nd quarter lead. Tyler Boyd had a 43-yard grab in the 4th quarter to set up the go-ahead FG. Ja'Marr Chase, quiet much of the night, cashed in with a 36-yard catch on the Bengals final drive that led to a TD and the 27-15 lead.

Creativity: Zac Taylor dug into his bag for another double-pass. Burrow to Boyd and 23-yards to Chase on 3rd and 11 in the 3rd quarter.

Short yardage woes: A 4th and 1 toss blown up, again? Please, for the love of all that's holy, tear that page out of the playbook! Later, following a five yard 1st down run by Mixon, the Bengals threw down the field and incomplete on back-to-back plays to Chase and Evans? Then, trailing 15-14 in the 4th quarter,
Mixon was stopped on 2nd and 3rd and goal from the 1-yard line. Taylor elected to kick a 19-yard FG to give the Bengals a 17-15 lead.

Big play TE's: TE Hayden Hurst had a big 3rd down catch on the opening drive and a TD catch on the final drive. Mitchell Wilcox contributed a big 18-yard catch on 3rd and 1 in the 1st quarter.

Combo pack: A one point, the Bengals had Perine and Evans in the backfield together.

Special Teams:

Evan McPherson nailed a 57-yard FG to extend the Bengals lead to 20-15 in the the quarter. That's 15 of 17 in his career from 50+ yards.

Kevin Huber had a beauty of a 47-yard punt that pinned Tyreek Hill to the sideline for a fair catch in the 1st quarter. But he also added a 28-yard effort that bounced backwards about 10 yards.

Big dash: Trent Taylor returned a 66-yard punt for 21 yards.

No return for you! Chris Evans does not have a kick return this season. All touchbacks.


Breaks: The Dolphins dropped a TD on their opening drive and had to settle for a FG. They missed a PAT and had a FG blocked.

Noise: The Dolphins were forced to call two timeouts on offense in the opening quarter as the record setting Paycor crowd (67,260) was in full throat.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content

700WLW Podcasts

See All