The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Miami Dolphins 22-7 on Thursday Night Football, and the game really wasn’t as close as the score suggests. A.J. Green's remarkable performance gave the Bengals a significant edge over Miami.
The Dolphins came into the game with cornerback Byron Maxwell benched and Tony Lippett starting in his place. Lippett, a fifth round draft pick by Miami in 2015 and a converted wide receiver, got his very first NFL start on Thursday night and was tasked, in part, with trying to contain A.J. Green.
That didn’t go particularly well for Lippett or anyone else in Miami’s secondary. Green finished the day with 10 catches for 173 yards and one touchdown.
Green was absolutely dominant throughout.
Maxwell was acquired by trade from the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, and he was expected to shore up a Dolphins secondary that needed an upgrade. He isn’t the only Miami player who was benched for underperforming. Running back Damien Williams was starting in place of Kenyan Drake.
"We just want guys to do it right," Gase said this week. "Whoever wants to do it right, those are the guys that we’re going to put out there. Talent’s irrelevant at this point."
While Green had a phenomenal game, and the Bengals were able to move the ball at will against the Dolphins, they had a difficult time getting in the end zone. Green scored on a seven-yard pass from Dalton late in the first quarter, but otherwise all of Cincinnati’s points came on Mike Nugent field goals.
Watching the Dolphins offense, it’s easy to understand why they’re now sitting at 1-3 on the season. Ryan Tannehill passed for 189 yards and one touchdown but turned the ball over twice. The Bengals turned the first turnover, a fumble recovered by Domata Peko within field goal range, into three points.
The second turnover, a fourth quarter interception, came as the Dolphins were driving and had crossed into Bengals territory. Tannehill’s pass was picked off by Bengals cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris. It looked like a lack of awareness on Tannehill’s part, as Lewis-Harris was sitting on the route and Tannehill threw it directly to him.
Gase reshuffled the offensive line prior to tonight’s game, too, shifting Laremy Tunsil over to left tackle from guard and Billy Turner to left guard. Perhaps that adjustment made it a little easier for the Bengals to sack Tannehill five times.
It wasn’t the Bengals’ sharpest game overall, either, but A.J. Green’s performance put Cincinnati in a position to get the win.