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Bengals Grind Out A Prime-Time Win Over Dolphins And The Defending AFC Champs Are Officially Back On Track

No, the Cincinnati Bengals don't look like a juggernaut even with those DOPE white tiger jerseys. They struggled for much of the evening against a Miami Dolphins defense that was on the field for 90 plays this past Sunday. However, falling to 1-3 on the season would've been extremely tough to come back from, and avoiding that pitfall was vital to their hopes of backing up last year's surprise run to the Super Bowl. BIG win over the previously undefeated Fins.

The injury to Tua Tagovailoa is going to overshadow anything that happened in this one, but Teddy Bridgewater played quite well in Tua's stead, completing 14 of 23 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown.

As the Bengals' defense has done often during the young 2022 campaign, though, they stood up when they needed to. Vonn Bell capitalized on a miscommunication between Teddy B. and Mike Gesicki on a seam route, nabbed an interception, and set the home team up for an insurance TD.

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But beyond the opening-drive touchdown, it was difficult for Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense to establish that elusive "rhythm" head coach Zac Taylor often refers to. Other than that impressive sequence and the long Burrow TD pass to Tee Higgins in the second quarter (see below), it was tough sledding.

Especially concerning was Cincinnati's inability to run the ball in short-yardage situations. Joe Mixon had another uninspiring performance with only 61 yards on 24 carries. I suppose we can put some of that on the o-line but at what point does it fall on Mixon to make guys miss and create yards after contact? 

To the Bengals' credit, they limited Miami to 85 yards rushing despite the absence of elite defensive tackle D.J. Reader. That's probably the most positive takeaway from this one on the Cincinnati side. Aside from, perhaps, that Burrow only took one sack. OMG. Competent pass protection might be here!! That helped Joe hit 20 of 31 passes for 287 yards and two scores. NICE.

Amazon Prime Video reported that Tua was expected to be discharged from the hospital and travel back with the team this evening, which is a massive relief. I'm still feeling bummed about Tua's injury. Hope the NFLPA investigation doesn't unearth something nefarious.

Cutting back to the victors: With extra time to prepare for Week 5's massive matchup with the Ravens, Cincinnati is in a great spot. Baltimore has to face the Bills this Sunday, so if both contenders are 2-2 entering next Sunday, it'll only add to the stakes of how important that individual duel is.

Nice turnout by the way, Who Dey Nation!

Aaaaand PS…BUMP, because I essentially guaranteed this win back in late July:

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Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok