MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After two straight weeks of heartbreaking losses, the Miami Dolphins finally got into the win column on Sunday by knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals, 17-13. It was a game the Fins needed and one that left Miami looking like the second-best team in the AFC East.
Safety Reshad Jones finally closed the door on the Bengals late in the fourth quarter when he intercepted a pass from Andy Dalton to seal the victory. But it wouldn’t be the Dolphins if there wasn’t some last minute drama.
Just after the two minute warning, h-back Charles Clay caught a pass from Ryan Tannehill but instead of going down in the field of play and keeping the clock running, he ran out of bounds and preserved nearly 1:40 worth of time for the Bengals to mount a comeback.
But, Jones and the defense came through again and again Sunday. It’s the latest in a string of defensive performances that have made Miami one of the toughest teams in the NFL.
“We’ve had two tough weeks leading up to this one,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “Guys really talked all week about how we’ve got to finish. We were two plays away from having a winning record.”
Tannehill’s observation is accurate. If not for a Dan Carpenter missed field goal against the New York Jets, the Dolphins would be tied in the AFC East with the division leading New England Patriots. Plus, if Tannehill doesn’t fumble against the Arizona Cardinals, anything is possible.
Miami’s run defense has almost been perfect this season. Despite playing against top NFL rushers like Houston’s Arian Foster and Oakland’s Darren McFadden, the Dolphins defense has yet to allow a team to rush for more than 100 yards in a game.
The Fins run defense shut down McFadden earlier in the season allowing just 23 yards rushing for the entire game.
Tannehill has been an emerging bright spot for the Fins. Most NFL scouting experts expected Tannehill to need at least one season spent on the bench before he was ready for the NFL. But Tannehill has been improving week to week in all facets of the game, with the exception of turnovers.
The former Texas A&M quarterback and receiver has completed 57.4 percent of his passes for 1,269 yards, two touchdowns, and six interceptions. His quarterback rating is only 70.4, but he played turnover free ball against the Bengals after throwing for 431 yards against the Cardinals the week prior.
Given the New York Jets’ offensive struggles and the Buffalo Bills’ team struggles, Miami is arguably the second best team in the AFC East behind the Patriots. Miami will have to continue stepping up its game in the coming weeks.
The Fins get a reprieve on Sunday with a home game against the St. Louis Rams. If the Dolphins can knock off the Rams, it will improve the team’s record to 3-3 heading into the bye week. After that the Fins play at the Jets and Indianapolis Colts and then return home to play the Titans.