1) Finding Ways To Win
It took more than 60 minutes for the Dolphins to capture their fourth victory of the season, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 38-35, on a Jason Sanders 37-yard field goal in overtime. The Miami offense started fast and wasted little time, moving 75 yards on 11 plays to score on their opening drive of the game. It was the Dolphins' first red-zone score in their last nine trips inside the 20-yard line, and they used defensive tackle Christian Wilkins at fullback on a play-action pass that resulted in a touchdown to take the lead. The Miami offense found explosive plays all over the field, with at least 15 plays of 12 yards of more on the day, racking up 502 total yards of offense along the way. On defense, they held Cincinnati in check for most of the afternoon, but suffered a lapse in execution midway in the fourth quarter. After allowing 23 points in the final eight minutes of regulation, the Dolphins' defense came back strong in overtime. They forced two three-and-outs and got the football back for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with just over three minutes to play. Fitzpatrick put together a beautiful drive, finding tight end Mike Gesicki once and wide out Isaiah Ford twice on the game-winning drive.
2) Spreading The Wealth
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had an outstanding game against the Bengals, throwing for 419 yards and four touchdowns. It was the 11th time in his 15-year career Fitzpatrick has thrown four TDs in a single game. His ability to move in and out of the pocket, anticipate throws and allow his receivers a chance at big plays down field has made a significant difference over the last two months. It has made everyone aware that even if you're not the primary target on a play, you better stay alive because the ball just might be coming your way! Fitz used 10 different receivers against the Bengals defense, which applied consistent pressure to the Cincinnati secondary.
3) Players Making Plays
There were some outstanding performances on both sides of the ball, and the good thing is these guys have been providing productivity on a consistent basis. DeVante Parker has been a beast catching the football this season. His strength catching the ball in traffic and the run-after-catch ability has been at an elite level. If 1,000-yard seasons is his new normal, the Dolphins have a playmaking option to build the passing game around. Gesicki has developed into a matchup option for Fitzpatrick, using him equally in the seam or out on the perimeter. Both players also give the passing game size in the red zone on slants, fades or jump ball chances. Isaiah Ford picked up the slack in a big way when Allen Hurns left the game, coming through late when his number was called. On defense, Jerome Baker led all defenders with seven tackles and a sack on the afternoon. His speed and instincts allow him to roam at every level of the defense to make impactful plays. Christian Wilkins is starting to flash more with each game, and his steady growth has helped Davon Godchaux excel along the defensive front.