Sept. 30, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Miami Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter (5) kicks off during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Dolphins – Cincinnati Bengals Thoughts And Observations

The Miami Dolphins successfully handed the Cincinnati Bengals their second loss of the season yesterday, winning the contest 17-13. Miami now stands at 2-3 on the season – tied for third in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills.

The Dolphins were down 6-0 before going on a scoring spree of 17 consecutive points. Cincinnati was then able to close in on Miami’s lead with a Andy Dalton to AJ Green fade pass over Miami corner, Sean Smith. Miami’s defense was then able to shut down Cincinnati’s offense for the remainder of the game – Safety Reshad Jones sealed the game by intercepting a Dalton pass.


Although Miami was able to muster a victory, it was ultimately a very sloppy defensive struggle.


Offense -


-Rookie Ryan Tannehill followed up an excellent performance against Arizona, by having another excellent game against Cincinnati – 17-26 for 223 yards zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Tannehill is maturing slowly in front of our eyes by correcting previous mistakes week to week. Miami’s coaching staff did not make a mistake by naming Tannehill the starter.


-Running back Reggie Bush looked good in spurts, but looks too hesitant running the football now. Earlier in the season, Bush always looked to gain 4+ yards per carry – now it seems Bush would rather break a 30+ yard run than gain a solid 4-5 yards. Bush did find success though, carrying the rock 19 times for 49 yards and one touchdown (2 receptions for 24 yards). Let’s get him more involved in the passing game, coaches.



Oct 7, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (33) reaches the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE



-Running back Daniel Thomas looked good early on, 10 carries for 29 yards and 1 touchdown (also had a crucial third down reception that picked up 8 yards and should have been a first down but was ruled a yard short), but was knocked out of the game on a head to head hit by a Cincinnati defenders. Thomas has a had problems with concussions numerous times in his young career, hopefully he is okay.


-No Receiver really stood out during this contest for Miami. Brian Hartline – 4 receptions 59 yards – was still Tannehill’s number one option in the passing attack. Hartline and Tannehill seem to be on page despite having limited time together. Davone Bess is Mr. Third Down. Although Bess only was able to reel in 2 receptions for 49 yards, he was able to convert a third down on a wonderfully designed play.


-Tight End Charles Clay – 3 receptions for 35 yards – was finally used in the passing game. Although Clay had issues with hanging on to the football again today – a reoccurring theme – Clay was able to find space in Cincinnati’s defense all day long.


-The offensive line looked great in pass protection – only surrendering two sacks against a fierce pass rush. Jake Long looked like his good old self in pass protection, completely shutting down Defensive End Carlos Dunlap. Mike Pouncey was also able to hold his own against the NFL’s best defensive tackle, Geno Atkins.


-I would like to see this offensive line of Miami’s to be more aggressive while run blocking. Too many Cincinnati defenders were running free into Miami’s back field. Coach Jim Turner, fix this!


Defense -


-The smothering front seven surrendered 80 yards on the ground during the contest. Miami was able to keep Benjarvis Green-Ellis in check for most of the game, but seemed to have issues containing Bernard Scott’s speed. All in all, another great game by the league’s top run defense (61.4 yards per game).


-Defensive Tackle Randy Starks easily gets the game ball for his performance Sunday – 3 total tackles .5 sack and 1 interception. Starks was constantly getting penetration against Cincinnati’s offensive line. Let’s not forget about Starks’ partner in crime, though. Mr. Paul Soliai played one heck of a game. Soliai finished the day with .5 sack and 3 total tackles. These two may give Miami the best defensive tackle duo in the league.


-Defensive End Cameron Wake followed up his career high performance last Sunday (4.5 sacks) with another great game against Cincinnati – 5 total tackles 1 sack. Wake was constantly applying pressure to Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton – meaning he threw around right tackle Andre Smith like a rag doll….Sound familiar, Bobbie Massie? Wake is quietly having an all-pro season.



Oct 7, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins free safety Reshad Jones (20) intercepts a pass n the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE



-Miami may have the best linebacker’s against the run. Middle Linebacker Karlos Dansby played awesome! Although Dansby only finished with 5 tackles on the day, he was constantly taking on the lead blocker allowing his teammates to make the tackle – my only concern is why did we have Dansby on Hawkins late in the game? Outside Linebacker Kevin Burnett also played his butt off, posting a stat-line of 7 total tackles and a half sack. Burnett was able to shut down short dump off passes and wreck oncoming ball carriers. The linebacker of the day was easily, Koa Misi. Misi has impressed me numerous times this season. Misi finished the day with 5 total tackles and forced a fumble. He is easily Miami’s best linebacker against the run, and Miami’s most improved player.


-Miami’s corners played on heck of a game. Sean Smith – 8 total tackles and one forced fumble – was able to lock down AJ Green – his second consecutive week of shutting down one of the NFL’s elite receivers. Smith is slowly proving his worth to this organization and should be given a new deal within the coming weeks. Nolan Carroll played his best game as a Dolphin. Although Carroll was only awarded 4 tackles on the day, he was constantly around the ball – Cincinnati may have been picking on him. Carroll was able to stick with receivers in coverage and lock them down.


-Safety Reshad Jones is making his case to be recognized as one of the league’s best safeties. Jones played like the ball-hawk Miami has been needing since the days of Brock Marion. Jones finished the day with seven tackles, but it was his fourth quarter interception that helped seal the game for the ‘phins. Keep it up, Reshad.


-Safety Chris Clemons played one of his best games Sunday. Clemons did not take any bad angles or miss any tackles – yes, I was surprised too. Clemons needs to continue this play if Miami hopes to turn around this secondary.


-All in all, it was a great day for Miami’s defense. Of course, forcing AJ Green to fumble twice is a great accomplishment – but helping your team win by putting your offense in position to score is an even better achievement.


Special Teams -


-Kicker Dan Carpenter missed another field goal. Seems like I am repeating myself here. Give him a break. 50+ yards is no cake walk.


-Punter Brandon Fields continues to impress me week in and week out. Fields easily has one of the most deadly legs in the NFL. If all else fails on offense, let Fields boot it and pin the opposing team deep!





-Kick – Punt Returner Marcus Thigpen was not given many chances on kick – punt returns for his second consecutive week. It’s too bad, I always get excited whenever he fields the ball.


Over-view -


Should the Miami Dolphins have walked away with a victory based upon the way they played Sunday? Probably not. Realistically, neither team should have. Although there were not many penalties, both team struggled holding onto the football and taking advantage of turnovers. It is what it is I suppose, quite a defensive struggle.


Miami will face the St. Louis Rams this Sunday as the team looks to get back to .500 on the season, before entering their bye week.


As always, Keep your FINS UP!!!



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Tags: Cincinnati Bengals Koa Misi Miami Dolphins Randy Starks Reshad Jones

  • Chris

    Reshad Jones being one of the NFLs best safeties is a stretch to say the very least. He did have a solid game against the Bengals yesterday but let’s hold off on crowning him elite just yet. Lol

    • TylerMcMullen

      True, True. But I didn’t call him “the best”, I simply stated that he’s making a strong case. Not to mention Pro Football Focus does have him rated as the number 2 overall safety in the league. Not elite. But one of the best early on so far. Hopefully he keeps it up! LOL. Thanks for the read and the comment man!

  • lolGuest

    So what are we gonna nickname Koa Misi now? Seeing as he got a bad rep as Koa Missing in the 3-4 alignment and how this 4-3 defense really caters to his strengths I think he’s deserving of a new one. Let’s see… How about… Koa Missile? Food for thought. Keep winning fins.

    • TylerMcMullen

      LOL yes! That’s so awesome! It really is quite crazy to think that Misi was atrocious in the 3-4 alignment, but he is one of the best rated linebackers on Pro Football Focus among 4-3 linebackers. Crazy talk. Thanks for the read and the comment man!!

  • jcartwright67

    Hey Tyler: What a great year so far as it relates to the progress with our Offense. Has Tannehill surprised you? You need to give us an update on your 17-week predictions compared to results so far. I know the Cardinals aren’t behaving as you predicted…man, that was a difficult loss last week, especially with my gf that wore red for the game. Not so sure I can agree with your opinion of R. Jones, I think he and the rest of the secondary are underperforming and are the weak link. I’m building an opinion that Sean Smith is really developing into a lock down corner but I’m not ready to call him that yet, he’s definitely our “one” bright spot! I think I’d like to strangle Carpenter, but he’s clearly a veteran guy going through a tough time right now. No need to cancel his contract or anythng crazy. I’m real surprised with Clay, I really thought he’d be a little further along in his development this year, I think our TE position is the weak link on O. I’m real happy with Hartline’s productivity…I think he’s leading the leauge right now…not sure he’ll end the season there but he’s definitely capable of a 100-catch/1000-yd season. Thanks! Oh, I told you we’d beat Cincy months ago!!! LOL.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Tannehill has surprised me ten fold. I never thought that he would have this much production with so little talent at wide receiver. But hey, what do I know lol. I love Reshad Jones. He’s loaded with potential and is beginning to play like we need him to. Clemons on the other hand….well if you have been keeping up with my observations week by week…I am not too fond of him. I realllllllllly would like Clay to develop quicker. We need him to. As you said, TE is our weakest link on offense – but it ultimately could be our strong point if everyone develops properly. And yes, Hartline is still the leader in receiving yards – just ahead of Demaryius Thomas from Denver. Although he’s capable of 1,000 yards, I wouldn’t peg him for 100 catches just yet. Bess will begin to cut into his productivity soon I think. And yes, yes you did LOL. Thanks for the read and the comment man! Always great to hear from you!

  • gofins60

    One thing bothers me: Tannehill has a high 4th quarter QBR, yet this team is failing to score more than a handful of points in the 4th quarter. I assume that the lack of an explosive, long range, quick-strike WR is a huge reason, as well as needing reliable Red Zone receivers. Almost all of their TDs are coming on the ground; they need to be able to score quickly from mid-field.

    A single 4th quarter TD against the Bengals would have sealed the victory, instead the offense flopped and the defense barely held on to the win. Miami would have won against the Jets and Cardinals if they could have scored again in the 4th quarter. This team has a major problem with the 4th quarter… especially on offense!

    • TylerMcMullen

      I’d assume the same, man. I really wish this team would take more shots down field when we have the defense clearly in man coverage. Numerous times against Cincy, we had them in Man to Man and we never took a deep shot. Hopefully we get some big plays soon – although there is a lack of a deep threat until Armstrong HOPEFULLY picks up the offense. And yes, WE LACK THE KILLER INSTINCT. IT KILLS ME! One touchdown in the fourth would have sealed it, but we offense looked to basically run the clock out and manage the game rather than put it away. It is quite frustrating. Thanks for the read and the comment man!!

  • Alfonso Rivas

    Nice win for dolphins…offensive line needs to play their A game next week as they will be facing one of the best defenses next sunday. The Rams are not the same Rams of the past. Their offense might not be explosive but their defense can dictate the outcome of the game.

    • TylerMcMullen

      No the Rams are not the Rams of the past, indeed. That defense is good, but not particularly against the run. We should look to utilize Reggie, Daniel (if he can go) and Lamar against the weak run defense of St. Louis. Thanks for the read and the comment!!

  • Miami Jules

    We (Sherman) made all
    the right calls on offence during the Dolphins last drive coming with 3 minutes
    left in the game. We did not go for the bomb, instead concentrating on “bread
    and butter” plays which are so hard to stop by the opponents, that it caused
    them to hold on D and be penalized as their only way to stop us, hence giving us
    1st DOWNS instead of having to go 3 and out ( like in games past )and allowing
    our D to catch their breath. When it came time for our D to go back on the
    field. they were rested enough to cover well and apply preassure on Dalton,
    causing their D to hold our rusher, which caused them to get desperate throwing
    the final INT of the game… The play calling in the 4th, shows that we stayed
    relaxed, did not panic (as in the past when in similar situations) and kept true
    to who we are, rather than trying to become who we are not… elementary my dear
    Tyler… elementary…FINALLY!

    • TylerMcMullen

      Very true. But we should have still worked our way towards gaining first downs to win the game, rather than putting it on the defense’s shoulders to win it. Charles Clay SHOULD have stayed in bounds on the third and long play, rather than stepping out of bounds. I like the way Sherman called the game both against Cincy and Arizona. Looks like Sherman is doing what an Offensive Coordinator should do, game plan against the weaknesses of each team’s defenses. Cincy takes away the big play but gives up the short and sweet plays. Arizona gives up the big play and takes away the short and sweet ones. Yes! Finally! LOL Thanks for the read and the comment man!