Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jeff Dean/AP/Shutterstock (13429834bt) Cincinnati Bengals’ Tee Higgins (85) makes a touchdown reception against Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard (25) during the first half of an NFL football game, in Cincinnati Dolphins Bengals Football, Cincinnati, United States – 29 Sep 2022
Bengals 27, Dolphins 15
The Cincinnati Bengals came into Thursday night’s showdown with the Miami Dolphins in desperate need of a win, looking to avoid a 1-3 hole to start their AFC Championship defense campaign. Fans at Paycor Stadium planned a white out for the occasion, donning white all over the stadium as the Bengals debuted an all white uniform with white helmets on a field with white accents. The Bengals didn’t disappoint, improving to 2-2 and inserting themselves right back into the conversation in the competitive AFC North.
It was an exciting night in Cincinnati, but the jubilation of the audience paused in the second quarter when Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was unable to get up following a violent sack. Tagovailoa would be taken to the hospital at the University of Cincinnati after being carted off the field, where he is being evaluated for head and neck injuries.
Miami trailed 7-6 at the time of the injury, and knew they had an uphill battle ahead of them when veteran Teddy Bridgewater entered the fold at quarterback. Bridgewater would lead a successful drive in his first opportunity, pulling the Dolphins within a 14-12 deficit before halftime.
Both offenses stalled out by comparison as the second half wore on, exchanging only field goals en route to a 20-15 Cincinnati lead with six minutes to go. The Dolphins’ offense had played better all night than the numbers suggested, consistently settling for field goals after watching drives stall out deep in opponent territory. After driving to the Bengals’ side of the field once again with under four minutes to play, Teddy Bridgewater would make a critical mistake, overthrowing his receiver into the arms of Bengals’ safety Vonn Bell.
This time, Cincinnati would deliver a decisive blow. Joe Burrow connected on a one-yard touchdown throw to Hayden Hurst with 1:52 to go, putting the Bengals ahead 27-15 and leaving Miami on life support. The Dolphins’ ensuing drive would sputter into nothing, failing on fourth down to set up victory formation for the Bengals.
Tee Higgins had a huge receiving night for the Bengals, hauling in 7 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown in the win. Joe Burrow was only sacked once, as the Bengals’ offensive line continued to improve its ability to protect its franchise quarterback. For the Dolphins, Tyreek Hill was once again an offensive bright spot, finishing with 10 catches and 160 yards.
Next Game: Cincinnati: at Baltimore, Miami: at NY Jets