Tonight’s Thursday Night Football match-up will pit two 1-2 teams against each other, and even though their records are not that stellar, that won’t make the game any less important or the win not dire. Neither the Miami Dolphins nor the Cincinnati Bengals can afford another early-season loss, since statistics show that it’s near impossible to crawl out of a 1-3 hole. So that’s why this non-divisional AFC match-up is a huge game.
The Cincinnati Bengals have struggled a lot to put points up on the board. They had a few big defensive breakdowns in their 29-17 loss to an undefeated force, the Denver Broncos.
Miami on the other side, just barely got by the hopeless and winless Cleveland Browns. They squeaked by in overtime, thanks to the Browns’ kicker, who Cleveland had signed off the street last weekend, missed the potential game-winning kick (and he missed two attempts before that too).
So luck was on the Dolphins side. But since they are having the same issues as the Bengals are having. Many feel that the Dolphins are a talented team with a solid defense that is under-performing. For example, they gave up 430 yards of total offense and 169 yards rushing to the lowly Browns. Dolphins QB, Ryan Tannehill threw two interceptions too, but was able to finish with a 93.9 rating, tossing down three touchdowns as well.
That game for the Dolphins should not have been so close, nor have gone to overtime. After going up by 11 early in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins offense seemed to fall asleep, and the defense couldn’t stop the Browns from creeping up.
So Miami knows that they’ll have to be a lot better in Week 4, as the Bengals will work hard to be a much better team. Neither team will be satisfied without a solid win. Dolphins head coach, Adam Gase, got the victory last week, but he’s not happy with it.
“If you’re Miami… Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams, you’re going to have to carry this defense and make this Bengals team one-dimensional,” said CBS Sports’ expert Bart Scott. “If I’m Ryan Tannehill, Adam Gase is going to have to get him on the move, use his athleticism and take shots down the field. Hope you can hit something big early.”
It all comes down to if one team can jump quickly on the other. If Miami can pounce early on and get a lead on the Bengals, they’ll need to run them over and keep their foot on the gas pedal. That’s the only way they’ll guarantee a win since Cincinnati is a dangerous team with a lot of offensive talent. If they are given a chance, the Bengals can jump right back into into any game.
The Bengals with having two losses in a row after a win to open the season are quite disappointed with their performance which has been under par. And, weirdly enough, even with a solid team things have just not been working for Marvin Lewis’s squad, despite all their talent. When you look at them on paper, this team should be sitting atop the AFC North, not slouching back in third place.
“The Bengals cannot be happy with themselves right now,” said sport’s expert Boomer Esiason. “Especially offensively… the last two performances against the Steelers and the Broncos were not good at all.”
Cincinnati was able to get and hold a lead over the Denver Broncos many times in Week 3, but unfortunately they allowed quarterback Trevor Siemian to take over the game late and steal it away from them. Some parts of the Bengals’ started clicking well, but they weren’t able to turn on all the cylinders.
Their running game also was shaping well as running back Jeremy Hill rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns. But unluckily, the passing game, which is usually strong just couldn’t get into a rhythm, and they started slipping backward.
The Bengals looked like they couldn’t get it together in time, and it’s stifling them in a major way, leaving them with a 1-2 record for the first time in five seasons. The Dolphins also have their issues and troubles, but they are starting to gel as a team. If the Dolphins can play a full 60 minutes like they did the first three quarters against the Browns, they’ll be able to overtake the listless Bengals. But how likely is that? The Bengals have a lot to prove and with that much talent, it’s do or die.