On the flip side, Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer held his prevent defense nearly a quarter too long. Effective to a degree,Miamiwas only marginally more successful on third downs that Cincinnati, going 4 for 13. Unfortunately, the Dolphins also racked up 15 first downs, similar to the Bengals who cranked out 18. However, late in the third quarter, Coach Zimmer switched to a 2-man press coverage package, and from there on out, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was shut down for the remainder of the game.
That sets the stage for Coach Lewis’s call to kick a 41 yard field goal on 4th and 5 with 3:05 remaining in the 4th Quarter. As stated, the Bengals’ offensive had shown capability to convert, and kicker Mike Nugent was 9/9 on the season at that point. With the 2-man press defense likely to stop the ‘Fins and force a punt, something it anyway did despite a wholly demoralized squad, the Bengals would have only had to go a handful of yards to get into winning field goal range rather than the panic-driven 2-minute drill that unfolded. Coach Lewis might not be an epic game manager, but in this case, the call was the correct one given the game being played.
Its poor form to blame kickers or referees, both send breaks your way equally in the long run. Looking at theMiamirushing statistics, the glossy venire shows they were held to only 68 yards on the ground with an average 1.9 yards per carry. However, 9 yards were negated on four Tannehill scrambles and two duds by third-down backJorvorskie Lane. Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas had solid productions throughout Sunday’s match up, something thatCincinnatidid not from any member of its roster. If the Bengals don’t figure out how to get singular production from the run game soon, then they could be in for a very long season indeed.