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Dolphins Finally Pull Close One Out

Posted Oct 7, 2012

Some random thoughts and observations on a day when the Dolphins continued to play good football but this time found a way to win.

• Can’t help but think that many Dolphins fans were thinking, “Here we go again,” as Cincinnati started mounting a comeback in the second half.

• Then again, we shouldn’t have worried because the Dolphins just don’t lose against Cincinnati in October. Sunday’s 17-13 victory made the Dolphins 9-0 against the Bengals in October.

• Besides, the Dolphins were OK as long as the margin remained four points. Sunday’s victory was their fourth consecutive one in games decided by exactly four points. Three points or less isn’t so good, though.

• It probably was fitting that the victory was clinched by the defense making a big play because it was the defense that once again carried the day.

• The biggest accomplishment on defense was containing A.J. Green. Sure, he caught eight passes and had a touchdown, but he was kept quiet most of the afternoon. And that’s no small feat.

• The run defense, as always, was excellent. Bengals backup running back Bernard Scott actually had a couple of good runs in the first half, but then he had to leave the game with a knee injury and the law firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis could do nothing against the best run defense in the league.

• Offensively, it was an uneven performance at best for the Dolphins, particularly when compared to what the Dolphins accomplished at Arizona. Then again, as Head Coach Joe Philbin said this week, the Dolphins aren’t going to throw for 400 yards every game.

• Maybe the best part about the victory is the Dolphins didn’t play a clean game by any stretch and still beat a quality team.

• Defensive tackle Randy Starks made the Pro Bowl a few years back, and he’s playing at that level right now. Actually, he’s playing even better. That interception at the line of scrimmage was some kind of impressive. Then again, you may remember Starks having two picks in last year’s season finale against the Jets.

• Don’t know exactly what happened at halftime, but Reggie Bush seemed to run with a lot more authority at the start of the second half than he did in the first two quarters. His 13-yard touchdown was a prime example of that.

• Not exactly sure why, but the Dolphins really struggled in short yardage. It was pretty sad to see them unable to gain a single yard on two snaps from the Cincinnati 38 late in the first half. And, make no mistake, Joe Philbin absolutely was right in going for it on fourth-and-1, even though fullback Jorvorskie Lane ended up getting stuff for no gain.

• This isn’t anything I haven’t written before, but I am not a fan of instant replay and don’t like the fact they’ve expanded it this year. Two clear examples of why replay is bogus cost the Dolphins against the Bengals. On the first, the official ruled that A.J. Green had regained possession of the ball on a fumble before the Dolphins recovered. It took forever for the official to come to that conclusion, even when no replays showed such a thing. Later, Philbin challenged a ruling that the Bengals had downed the ball at the Miami 3-yard line, but the call went against the Dolphins even though replays showed a Cincinnati player stepping on the goal line before touching the ball. So if replay isn’t going to guarantee the right call, let’s do without the long delays.

Please. • There are many reasons the Dolphins are so good against the run, but don’t discount the contributions of the secondary. A great example: Reshad Jones coming up to stonewall BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a 2-yard loss in the third quarter.

Ryan Tannehill keeps showing a tremendous ability to make plays when he had to scramble, and one of those was his 30-yard completion to Brian Hartline in the third quarter.

• It was good to see Dan Carpenter nail a 46-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter, but then he had another long miss from 53 yards out. Those long attempts aren’t easy, but misses are very costly because of field position.

• His kicking partner, punter Brandon Fields, averaged 50 yards, but also missed two chances to pin Cincinnati deep with a couple of touchbacks. One of those came before the Bengals’ last drive. It didn’t matter, though, because the Dolphins didn’t let Cincinnati get beyond its own 33-yard line.

• So now the Dolphins find themselves at 2-3 with the St. Louis Rams coming to Sun Life Stadium next Sunday. A victory then and Miami will go into its bye at 3-3 and with every reason to think about making a run at the playoffs.