By Byler Henry
With Sundays win the Dolphins are currently at 8-4, sitting in the 6th spot in the playoffs. With four games left this season, the remaining games are all critical. Sunday’s win came against the Cincinnati Bengals who is currently out of the playoff race.
The first half started off slow for the Phins on defense, although Xavien Howard got his 8th interception on the season (leads the NFL), they did give up a 72-yard pass for a touchdown. They finished the second half with only two field goals, going down 7 to 6. Under center for the Bengals was backup quarterback Brandon Allen. Their starter Joe Burrow is out with a season ending injury. After that touchdown pass, Bengals were unable to put any more points on the board. Brandon Allen completed 11 of 19 passes for 153 yards for 1 touch-down and 1 interception. The Dolphins defense were able to pick up the intensity in the second half, sacking Allen 5 times before he was injured and replaced midway in the fourth quarter. Head Coach Brian Flores offers his thoughts on Miami’s halftime adjustments, “We just needed to play better. We had too many penalties in the first half. We didn’t execute offensively. We gave up the big play defensively, which just had to do a better job really across the board, playing,
coaching, and execution. And we talked about it at halftime. I think (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey), (Defensive Coordinator) Josh (Boyer), (Special Teams Coordinator) Danny (Crossman), those guys made some adjustments, really in all three phases, and we were able to come out and play a lot better in the second half. Even then, there were still some mistakes there and some things we’ve got to do better. We’ve got to punch it in in the red zone, and a couple plays there defensively we could have tackled better, get our yardage down. But overall, much better in the second half. But we have to play a 60-minute ball game. We’re going to have to do that really moving forward.” Miami’s defense was also able to hold the Bengals to only 40 yards rushing.
Miami once again started Tua at quarterback. This game he did much better than his game at Broncos; Denver did a good job of getting pressure on him and sacked him 6 times. This game the offensive line did a better job protecting him as he was not sacked once. He was able to complete 26 of 39 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown. The Offensive coordinator added more to his plate and this is so far the most passes he’s attempted, completed, and yards thrown in a game. Tua offers his thoughts on how he played in the second half and his growth in the NFL. “Yeah, I think in all these games, they’re all great learning experiences for me seeing the defense, how they’re pressuring, when they’re going to their 4-1 look, their 3-2 look. You know, knowing what to expect as well. I think (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) really put us in a good situation, really the first
half and the second half. The biggest thing was I just didn’t go out there and execute. Everyone was clicking on the offense except me, and it took the second half for me to re-group with our guys and for us to go down and march the ball down the field.
Next Sunday Dolphins have a tough game against the reigning Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs. This game will be no walk in the park, and they want a chance to win they’ve got to bring their A game from opening kickoff until 0:00 is left on the clock. Dolphins can come away with a win, anything can happen on any given Sunday.