Cincinnati’s three-game win streak came to an end with a thud in the Bengals’ 17-13 loss to Miami at home on Sunday.
The Dolphins cooled off Cincinnati’s red-hot offense, and the Bengals failed to take advantage of the numerous chances they were given throughout the afternoon.
The Bengals’ three wins each masked issues that have plagued the team, and Miami exposed each one. These issues will need to be addressed, as the tough part of Cincinnati’s schedule commences in two weeks.
Let’s take a closer look at the winners and losers for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5.
Loser: Offensive Line
The Bengals’ O-line has been very up and down this season, but was mostly down against the Dolphins. Quarterback Andy Dalton was under pressure all afternoon and the running game was practically nonexistent.
After losing two interior linemen to injury, the Bengals knew there would be problems. On Sunday, there were.
Loser: Andy Dalton
The line didn’t help him out much, but Dalton wasn’t exactly on fire himself. He was intercepted twice, overthrew receivers and didn’t look like the same quarterback who played the previous three games.
Miami deserves the lion's share of the credit for making Dalton look bad. The Dolphins dominated the line, and their defensive backs took the Bengal receivers away. But Dalton still has to play better if he wants to be considered an elite quarterback.
Winner: Defensive Line
Michael Johnson and Geno Atkins each had sacks, and Carlos Dunlap and Domata Peko were strong against the run and pressured Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins adjusted in the second half and had Tannehill rolling out to get away from the pressure. That allowed the rookie to take advantage of the Bengals’ weak secondary.
Once again the Bengals’ biggest weakness, the defensive backfield, reared its ugly head. Once Tannehill was able to get away from the rush, he had success downfield.
Cincy tightened up later in the game, and 17 points allowed should be enough to win, but the Bengals allowed Tannehill to eat too much time when they needed it the most.
Winner: Heady Plays on Special Teams
Vontaze Burfict jumped on a punt after it had touched a Miami player, and Jeromy Miles kept another punt out of the end zone. These kinds of plays usually are the difference in close games.
Loser: Mike Nugent
Nugent hits his first nine field goals of the season, then misses the 10th and lands on the losers list. Such is the life of a kicker.
There is no way of knowing if Nugent’s late miss would have made a difference, but it could have affected the way Dalton and the Bengals attacked the final two-minute drill.