Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins: Live Grades and Analysis for Miami

Thomas GaliciaContributor IIOctober 31, 2013

Oct 31, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) celebrates with defensive tackle Randy Starks (94) after Wake sacked Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (not pictured) for a safety in overtime in at Sun Life Stadium.  Miami won 22-20. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins (4-4) have defeated the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) by the score of 22-20 in overtime. 

The Dolphins won thanks to a Cameron Wake sack in the end zone, making it a safety. 

Here's a look at the grades and analysis for a wild one from Miami. 

Miami Dolphins' Game Grades
Position UnitFirst-Half GradesGame Grades
Pass OffenseBB+
Run OffenseA+A+
Run DefenseBD
Pass DefenseA-B
Special TeamsCC
Week 9 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Game Analysis for the Miami Dolphins

Pass Offense: In all honesty, the Dolphins' pass offense was alright. 

The blocking was pretty good considering the defense they were going up against and the holes in the offensive line, and Ryan Tannehill didn't make any costly mistakes, going 20-of-28 for 208 yards and no turnovers for a quarterback rating of 92.6. 

Tannehill was at his best during the final drive, though, throwing a great deep ball (that gets caught by Wallace and becomes a touchdown had it not been for the pass interference play) and making the right decisions before Daniel Thomas failed to convert on 3rd-and-inches. 

Either way, that drive set up the game-winning safety. 

Run Offense: At times in the second half, it looked like the Dolphins would stray away from the running game again. 

Yet they didn't, and the Dolphins managed to run over the Bengals throughout the whole game, finishing the game with 157 yards. Lamar Miller ran for 105 yards on 16 carries. 

Run Defense: Horrendous. That's the best way I can describe the run defense in the second half. Part of it was exhaustion, but they did get bailed out by a Brent Grimes interception on the first drive of the first half. 

Because of the poor run defense, the Bengals were able to come back. Luckily for the Dolphins' defense, Giovanni Bernard was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter, for he had been killing them all night. 

Pass Defense: The three interceptions made this unit look a lot better than it really was. 

Whether it was run or pass, there were missed tackles galore. 

Also, would it kill them to stop someone on third down?

Well, it killed the Bengals when Miami finally did stop them on third down in overtime with Cameron Wake's safety. It's clear that Wake was the player of the game and part of the reason why Miami's pass defense got a better grade than it might have deserved. 

Special Teams: What's wrong with Caleb Sturgis? It seemed like a lot was wrong when he missed his first field goal from 34 yards out. 

But then he hit the field goal to tie the game from 44 yards out and seemingly redeemed himself. 

Coaching: Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman did everything right except a few questionable play calls in overtime. 

One play saw the Dolphins passing it on 3rd-and-1; the other saw Daniel Thomas get the carries despite Lamar Miller running for an average of 6.6 yards per carry.

However, this was also their best coached game of the season, which I would've thought even if they had lost the game. Miami faced a lot of adversity during this short week, and the coaching staff looked like it would be on the ropes at the end of the season (they still might be). 

This victory does get Miami firmly back into the playoff chase, though, and their schedule does get a bit easier from here.

They should be prepared to play a bad Tampa Bay Buccaneers team with an 11-day break, right?  

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 31: Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins takes the field during a game  against the Cincinnati Bengalsat Sun Life Stadium on October 31, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

First-Half Analysis for the Miami Dolphins

Pass Offense: Ryan Tannehill had a slow start in the first half but then showed improvement as the Dolphins' running game established itself, throwing for 98 yards while going 8-of-12. I'm sure there's absolutely no correlation between the running game getting established and the passing game getting better. 

Run Offense: Other than a Lamar Miller fumble, the running game has been unstoppable. Lamar Miller has 89 yards on 11 carries, Daniel Thomas has 39 yards on nine carries, Charles Clay has a carry that went for 13 yards, and Tannehill himself got a touchdown on a quarterback sneak.

The Dolphins' run-blocking is dominating the Bengals' run defense, and it likely will stay that way with Geno Smith out for the rest of the game, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Hopefully Mike Sherman remembers this as we get into the second half. 

Run Defense: Well, by no means was the run defense "great." it was good in the first half, but great? I can't say that. 

Pass Defense: Could this be the game where Miami's defensive front plays to the best of their ability on pass defense? So far, yes. There's been a sack and strip by Cameron Wake (along with another sack) and constant pressure on Andy Dalton

The downside: The linebackers and secondary have been allowing big plays in the passing game. Thankfully for the Dolphins, none of them have come back to haunt them, but Dimitri Patterson made a big play at the end of the first half picking off Andy Dalton. 

Special Teams: Brandon Fields gets an A for his excellent punts. Caleb Sturgis gets an F for missing a 34-yard field goal (even though he did hit a 36-yarder at the end of the half). Marcus Thigpen gets a C because he's been neither excellent nor terrible. An overall C seems right for this unit. 

Coaching: At times the play-calling was maddening; however, the use of the running game has been superb, while the team has been well-disciplined, with zero penalties so far. Good job so far, Dolphins coaching staff, but I said that last week and look what happened.