It was a tale of two halves on Sunday when the Dolphins took on the Bengals. It started out looking like the Dolphins were going to leave Cincinnati with a win, being up 14 to nothing at halftime; however, it was a different story in the second half. All hell broke loose when the Bengals flipped a switch and outscored the Dolphins 27 to 3.
Coming in to this game, this was a must win for the Dolphins, especially with the Patriots winning their Thursday game. Currently at 3-2 both the Dolphins and Patriots are tied for first place in the AFC East. Now that they are tied, their next three games are must win games. The Dolphins have two home games against the Bears and Lions, and they go back on the road against the Texans for a Thursday night game. The Patriots next three games are at home Sunday Night Primetime game against the Chiefs at home, and two road games against the Bears and Bills. The
Bears have an improved defense this year after trading for Khalil Mack and they are currently leading the NFC North at 3-1. Khalil Mack so far has 5 sacks in four games, and it will be hard for the Dolphins Offensive line to keep him out of the backfield. They have given up three sacks to the Bengals yesterday, and the offense stalled out in the second half and could only put three points on the board. If the Dolphins stand a chance against the Bears’ defense, they have to find a way to score, especially in the second half.
Overall, Ryan Tannehill played below average, completing 20 passes on 35 attempts, with 185 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. Throwing 57% completions is slightly above average, not great but not terrible either. The two interceptions were the killer, and the offense has got to find a way to close out games. Andy Dalton’s stats were similar except he was able to pass for 248 yards with a touchdown and an interception, completing 20 passes on 30 attempts. The Dolphins were a lot better rushing the ball Sunday. Last week against the Patriots the Dolphins had a total of 56 yards rushing with 6 different rushers and no touchdowns, against the Ben-gals the Dolphins had a total of 128 rushing yards with four different rushers, however they still didn’t get a rushing touch-down. Frank Gore led the charge with 63 yards, and Kenyan Drake contributed with 46 and Tannehill rushed for 17. With just two rushers the Bengals were able to gain 103 rushing yards. Joe Mixon was able to rush for 93 yards and score with an 18-yard touchdown pass. In the second half it was the Bengals defense that was able hold the Dolphins to only three points and score on an interception and a fumble return.
After Sunday’s collapse, the Dolphins must go back to the drawing board and focus on the Bears who should not be taken lightly. It’s not time to hit the panic button just yet, how-ever the Patriots are gaining on them and they are tied for first place right now. It’s getting closer to the midpoint in the season and after starting on a high note, the Dolphins are starting to look a little shaky, and most of the vulnerability is coming in the second half. If the Dolphins wants a chance to win next Sunday they have to work on closing out the games, especially when they have a double-digit lead at halftime. Sunday October 14 the Bears are coming and bringing their defense with them.