Oct 31, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis (9) kicks a field goal in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
3) The Bengals’ go-ahead drive
Game tied 17-17; 1:35 left; Miami had 1 TO left; and the Bengals facing a 3rd and 4 at the Dolphins 36. A FG from there is 1 yard shy of Nugent’s career long – and he is not a good kicker from 50+(9/19). A first down would get the Bengals inside Nugent’s comfort zone and allow them to kill the clock. Instead, Gruden dials up another long pass that falls incomplete.
Nugent made the FG, but left the Dolphins 1:24 and a TO…which would prove to be too much time. If they were ok with Nugent attempting that kick, and clearly they were, then why not run the ball, make the FG a few yards closer, and either kill 35-40 more seconds, or, force the Dolphins to take their final timeout. A 2 yard run would have given Nugent a 52 yard attempt and left the Dolphins with 1:20 and 0 TOs, or about 45 seconds and 1 TO.
Either way, likely not enough time to get into FG range. Because they left the Dolphins with 1:24 and 1 TO, the sack on 1st down by MJ was not game ending. The Dolphins were able to use the final TO and compose themselves for a final drive.