Posted on September 30, 2016, by Travis Pulver
The Miami Dolphins had one thing going for them Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. It certainly wasn’t their sieve of an offensive line. It definitely wasn’t their running game; even when Arian Foster is healthy, it stinks. So—what was it?
Andy Dalton, or rather “Primetime” Andy Dalton.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has not done well in prime time games over the course of his career. So with Thursday Night Football being broadcast during prime time, advantage Miami. But it was only shown on the NFL Network.
So since the whole nation wasn’t watching, the prime time curse didn’t apply. Cincinnati won easily, 22-7.
At first, it looked like it might. On the Dolphins second offensive play of the game, the Bengals defense screwed up and left Kenny Stills wide open and streaking downfield. Ryan Tannehill connected with him on what would end up being a 74-yard touchdown bomb.
The Curse hits Dalton the most, but it has had an effect on the defense at times as well.
During the preseason, the word out of Miami was that the offense was going to operate at “ludicrous” speed this season. It hadn’t against their first three opponents, but would it finally do so against Cincinnati? It certainly was a promising start.
But the “ludicrous” start stopped as fast it started.
Miami would only have two first downs the rest of the first half and went three and out on three of their five possessions after the touchdown (the other two had only four plays each). By the end of the third quarter, the Dolphins offense generated only 152 yards, almost half of which came on the touchdown play. By the end of the game, they could only manage 222 yards of offense.
“It was probably one of the worst performances I’ve seen from our offense in a long time,” Tannehill told reporters after the game (ESPN). “We did some decent things in the run game. We just couldn’t get anything going in the passing game. No consistency, not enough execution, too many mistakes — it was bad.
Being without four starting offensive lineman or the services of Arian Foster or Jordan Cameron didn’t make it any easier—but it’s certainly not an acceptable excuse for such a bad performance. The defense was without two of the starting linebackers, but A.J. Green wasn’t burning the linebackers all night.
“Anytime he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play,” Dalton said after the game (ESPN).
Green was a one-man wrecking machine/highlight reel against an inferior Miami secondary. He caught almost everything that was thrown his way (ten of 12 passes) for 173 yards and a touchdown. Of his total, 123 yards came in the first half alone.
If Marvin Lewis has anything to be concerned about following what was an easy win, it should be his team’s inability to put the ball in the end zone. Six times they moved the ball inside the 30-yard line and three times inside the ten (twice inside the five). They only came away with one touchdown and had to settle for five field goals.
As for the Dolphins, Adam Gase may have to figure out how to use the Schwartz to get his time on track. If he doesn’t, the only thing that will be ludicrous will be his record as a head coach.