What We Discovered from Bengals’ win over Dolphins on Thursday

September 30, 2022

BOX SCORE

  1. We haven’t seen the very best of Joe Burrow this season. Burrow began this recreation pretty sizzling, and he made some large throws down the stretch to assist seal a hard-fought victory for the Bengals towards an unbeaten Dolphins group. The Bengals’ high three receivers all had explosive receptions — and that’s what made them so harmful a 12 months in the past. However Burrow needed to grind by some struggles; we haven’t but seen him play 4 clear quarters towards group this season. Burrow underwent an appendectomy about two months in the past, missed an enormous chunk of coaching camp and didn’t play within the preseason. In Week 1, he turned the ball over 5 occasions. Week 2 ran his sack complete to 13, with Burrow throwing for 199 yards on 36 makes an attempt. Final week, he seemed much better towards the Jets. However 4 days later, towards a much better protection (but additionally one which performed 92 snaps 4 days earlier), Burrow took time getting again in rhythm. The panic stage shouldn’t be excessive, however the Bengals should use their mini-bye to seek out methods to make the entire operation smoother.
  2. Tua damage casts a pall over the sport. Tua Tagovailoa began the sport and seemed good early earlier than leveling off after his downfield interception supposed for Tyreek Hill. However when he was sacked by the Bengals’ Josh Tupou, every thing modified. Tupou threw Tagovailoa to the bottom, and the quarterback remained immobile for minutes earlier than being carted off. He suffered head and neck accidents on the sack, the group introduced, and was changed by Teddy Bridgewater and wouldn’t return. The damage was a daunting scene, as Dolphins teammates circled round Tagovailoa at midfield and the Bengals crowd fell silent. Head coach Mike McDaniel has been everybody’s favourite new NFL coach, however this seemingly shall be a pivotal interval for him as questions come up about his determination to play a banged-up Tagovailoa, who briefly left Sunday’s recreation towards the Payments with an damage, on a brief week and probably having to navigate the ship with Bridgewater at QB for a time frame if Tua can’t go subsequent week towards the Jets.
  3. Dolphins will remorse missed alternatives. The Dolphins had their possibilities to win an emotional recreation, however simply couldn’t reap the benefits of some fairly favorable possibilities. On the opening landing drive, they missed an additional level. Additionally they missed a field-goal try and settled for 3 on the opening possession after stalling on the Cincinnati 5-yard line. That was all within the first half, but they solely trailed, 14-12, due to an excellent drive by Bridgewater and Co. proper earlier than the half. Within the second half, the Dolphins settled for a 20-yard discipline aim, and Bridgewater was picked simply outdoors the crimson zone. The possibilities have been there to ship an enormous street victory for his or her injured QB and a 4-0 mark, however it fell aside late — seemingly due to the possibilities they couldn’t convert earlier.
  4. Fourth-down selections??? Nothing lathers up the soccer bluestockings on Twitter fairly like a fourth-down determination, so let’s give them what they need. We stated it on the time and we’ll say it now: The Bengals performed it very cautiously when head coach Zac Taylor opted for a discipline aim on the Miami 1-yard line, trailing, 15-14, early within the fourth. Did every thing work out? Yep — the Bengals received the sport. The Dolphins kicking the sector aim the possession earlier than was way more comprehensible contemplating they’d a backup quarterback within the recreation and have been a yard farther away than the Bengals could be. However with Bridgewater within the recreation, and with a Bengals protection that had run its streak to 25 straight possessions with out permitting a TD, goes for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line and lacking all of it that unhealthy a outcome? Then with simply over six minutes left, Taylor despatched out Evan McPherson for a 57-yard kick — it was good. However that’s a mighty large ask, even for one of many league’s nice younger kickers. Once more, it labored. However Taylor’s conservative recreation technique is value inspecting. Had the Dolphins held the Bengals out of the tip zone with just below two minutes left within the recreation, Miami would have gotten the ball again down eight factors with an opportunity to tie.
  5. Dolphins protection newest to maintain Joe Mixon contained. Credit score is deserved for the Miami protection that got here into this recreation ranked pretty low in a number of main classes however performed its collective tails off. This additionally got here after a sizzling recreation on Sunday when the protection was on the sector 50-plus performs within the second half towards a ferocious Payments offense. However we additionally imagine that there’s an issue with the Bengals’ run recreation that’s unbiased of what Miami did. Why? As a result of that is now 4 video games the place Mixon and the bottom recreation can’t accomplish what it must to ensure that this offense to hum. The Dolphins — a heavy blitz group by three video games — principally sat again in two-high coverages. The Bengals countered by making an attempt to run the ball and get them out of these seems. It didn’t work. Mixon totaled solely 61 yards on 24 carries, decreasing the group’s league-worst dashing common (3.3 yards per play). Need the large cross performs? The Bengals know they’ve to have the ability to run extra persistently to assist the downfield cross performs to occur.
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Subsequent Gen stat of the sport: Teddy Bridgewater’s 64-yard cross to Tyreek Hill traveled 61.4 yards within the air, the longest completion by air distance to this point within the 2022 NFL season. The completion chance for the cross was a mere 29.7%.

NFL Analysis: Joe Burrow’s 59-yard TD cross to Tee Higgins was his 14th cross of 50-plus yards since 2021, 4 greater than the next-closest QB.