The Cincinnati Bengals are getting pretty good at coming from behind to win games .
In their third comeback victory Sunday, the Bengals (4-1) scored 27 unanswered points, including 24 in the fourth quarter, to beat the Miami Dolphins 27-17 and take sole possession of first in the AFC North.
Cincinnati has outscored opponents 49-18 in the fourth quarter. Sunday’s comeback included scoring from special teams, offense and defense, but the Bengals struggled in all of those areas in the first half as Miami took a 14-0 lead and added to it with a field goal its first drive of the second half.
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Here is how we graded the performance in our weekly Report Card:
The Good: Joe Mixon came back from a two-game absence following arthroscopic knee surgery and rushed for 93 yards. He had just 19 yards in the first half but found his groove with halftime adjustments.
The Bad: A holding penalty on C.J. Uzomah negated a first-down carry to the Miami 8-yard line and Andy Dalton ended up trying to force a pass in to A.J. Green on third-and-15 for an interception. The Bengals had just 27 yards rushing in the first half and even in the second half good carries came in spurts.
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Key Play: Back-to-back carries by Mixon of 11 and 31 yards and then an 8-yard scamper helped set up the go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter to make it 20-17 with 3:30 left.
The Good: Green recorded his 32nd game with 100 yards receiving to set the Bengals all-time record. He finished with 112 yards on six catches and was one of the few players showing consistency throughout the game. Dalton completed 20 of 30 passes for 248 yards and one touchdown despite a lot of pressure.
The Bad: The offensive line didn’t do Dalton a lot of favors. He was sacked twice but had to dance out of trouble several times , including when he forced a pass to Green and had it intercepted in the red zone.
Key Play: Dalton pivoted out of a likely sack at the last second and was able to get a pass off to Mixon, who came back on the ball and took it into the end zone for the Bengals’ first touchdown. That cut the deficit to 17-10 with 14:54 left and gave Cincinnati the momentum.
The Good: The Bengals didn’t give up any long runs in a scoreless first quarter, and the longest run of the day came on the very last play, a 25-yard run by Kenyan Drake. The two drives the Miami offense scored on weren’t very run-heavy.
The Bad: The Dolphins had three players average more than five yards a carry, and they finished with 128 yards on 22 carries overall. They were effective in opening up the passing game with the run.
Key Play: After an 18-yard carry by Frank Gore in the second quarter, Jordan Willis tackled Drake for a loss to help force a punt.
The Good: Two of Tannehill’s turnovers came when he was sacked or about to be sacked and both resulted in touchdowns for the Bengals, including a strip sack by Carlos Dunlap that Sam Hubbard scored on and an interception by Michael Johnson. Geno Atkins had two sacks, including one for an eight-yard loss that forced the Dolphins to settle for a field goal early in the third quarter. Jessie Bates also had an interception to seal the win.
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The Bad: Kenyan Drake blew by Hardy Nickerson for a 22-yard touchdown reception. That gave the Dolphins the first lead in the second quarter and was the longest pass play of the day for Tannehill.
Key Play: Johnson just missed getting a hand on Tannehill’s foot but stayed with the play and ended up with an interception return for a touchdown to tie the game with 11:43 left.
The Good: Randy Bullock made a 51-yard field goal with 5:07 left in the third quarter to get Cincinnati on the board and that was the start of 27 unanswered points.
The Bad: Miami’s Jakeem Grant averaged 28.3 yards per punt return, including one for a 71-yard touchdown, and 29.7 yards per kick return. Bullock had a 37-yard field goal attempt blocked in the second quarter after Miami had taken the 7-0 lead. Bobby Hart was flagged for illegal formation anyway but that was declined.
Key Play: Grant took Kevin Huber’s 50-yard punt back for a 71-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left before halftime to give Miami a 14-0 lead. Had the offense and defense not made adjustments in the second half, that could have been the dagger.
The Good: Marvin Lewis must be giving some pretty good halftime speeches this year, as the Bengals rallied from behind for the third time this season, including 27 unanswered points to end the game.
The Bad: Special teams has a lot of room to improve . Offensively, right guard Alex Redmond leads the league in penalties (five) and has allowed the second most pressures this season but continues to get opportunities. Christian Westerman has played zero snaps.
Key Play: Teryl Austin’s push for aggressive play on defense paid off for three turnovers, including two for touchdowns.
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