Brian Hartline: Dolphins WR Set for Another Big Game Against the Bengals

Darin PikeContributor IOctober 6, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 30:  Wide receiver Brian Hartline #82 of the Miami Dolphins catches a 57 yard reception past cornerback William Gay #22 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

One of the bright surprises on the young 2012 NFL season is the emergence of Brian Hartline. He had a breakout game against a normally stingy Arizona Cardinals pass defense last week and will be the catalyst for Miami's offense against the Cincinnati Bengals.

There was a lot of speculation on which receivers would step up to fill the void left by the trade of Brandon Marshall. Davone Bess was the likely candidate, as he was second behind Marshall in receptions last season.

Despite having 16 fewer catches (51 vs. 35), Hartline actually had a dozen more yards (549 vs. 537). He flashed his capabilities in the Dolphins' lone win on the year, gaining 111 yards in the 35-13 thrashing of the Oakland Raiders.

It is hard to consider a 253-yard day anything but an anomaly for even the best of receivers. The fact that a little-known pass-catcher did it with a rookie quarterback on the road against a tough passing defense makes it that much more incredible.

Fans shouldn't expect another day like that from Hartline, but he is prepped for a solid day of production. The Bengals haven't done well defending the pass so far and have been even worse at stopping the run.

Some point to holding Ray Rice to 68 yards as a solid achievement, but he did it on just 10 carries. Trent Richardson came to town and dropped 109 yards on a rate of 5.7 yards per attempt.

But there were signs of life last week. They kept Maurice Jones-Drew in check. 

The Dolphins should be able to run a balanced attack on offense, giving Hartline room to work in the secondary.

The biggest threat to Hartline's performance will be the Bengals' pass rush. If Ryan Tannehill doesn't have time to throw, it will be difficult to get the ball to Hartline down the field.

The Bengals haven't surrendered a 100-yard receiving game so far in 2012. They have given up 90 yards twice, though, and Hartline figures to be the third receiver to hit that mark. 

Add in a touchdown on Sunday and fans and fantasy owners alike will be happy with his production.


Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and Seattle Seahawks.