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Character Building Win Over Bengals Proves Timely

Posted Nov 1, 2013

Philbin sees overtime performance as a defining one.



Based on the way the previous four games had gone for the Miami Dolphins in the second half, Thursday night’s contest versus the Cincinnati Bengals was setting up to be another disappointment.

But the players and the coaches took matters into their own hands and pulled out a 22-20 overtime victory to even the Dolphins’ record at 4-4, with Cam Wake’s sack of Andy Dalton for a safety ending the game. The 0-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are up next one week from Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Whereas the snowball never stopped in New England after Miami squandered a 17-3 lead in what eventually wound up as a 27-17 loss, this time when Cincinnati scored 17 unanswered points to take a 20-17 lead with just 1:24 left in regulation the fight began anew. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill rebounded from a 7-yard sack on first down to complete passes of 16 yards to Rishard Matthews, nine yards to tight end Charles Clay, five yards to Mike Wallace and 21 yards to Brian Hartline to advance the ball into field goal range for rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis, whose 46-yarder with 16 seconds remaining tied the game.

“I thought it was a real team win last night,” Philbin said. “We talked to our players in the meetings before the game at the hotel that the real key was going to be how we played the game, not necessarily whether we played under or over or ran the ball or threw the ball but the play speed. And we’d have to stick together and find a way with all three phases contributing to win the game and I thought that happened.”

From the defense stepping up to create four turnovers and sacking Dalton five times to the running game churning out a season-high 157 yards and the offensive line winning the battle at the line of scrimmage, this was the type of performance reminiscent of the first three games of the season that all ended in victory. Special teams contributed through the solid punting of Brandon Fields and good coverage on both punt and kickoff units.

Tannehill, who had been plagued by interceptions and lost fumbles in recent weeks, was an efficient 20-of-28 for 208 yards with no interceptions and no fumbles while scoring the only offensive touchdown of the night on a 1-yard dive. He and his offensive teammates fed off of Wake and the rest of the defense and re-energized down the stretch to help secure the win.

“We had our backs up against the wall for a couple weeks in a row, and we kept getting pushed further back and finally we got out of that hole a little bit,” said Tannehill, who now has completed 175-of-289 passes for 1,977 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions midway through his second season. “This is a huge win for us. Losing four straight, coming back and getting a team win. The defense played great, made some huge plays, getting turnovers. The offense didn’t score a lot of points, but we moved the ball when we had to there at the end of regulation, to get a field goal. We kind of righted the ship, we’re back on track a little bit and it gives us a fresh start midway through the season. We’re 4-4, obviously it’s not where we wanted to be at, but that’s where we’re at and now we’ll have to build on this from here.”