The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Miami Dolphins on “Thursday Night Football” by a 27-15 margin.
Outside of the repainted field and alternate helmets it wasn’t a pretty contest for the Bengals. The defense struggled, even against a backup quarterback. Joe Burrow’s offense stagnated hard after a solid opening drive.
Yet a win is a win, especially after the rough 0-2 start.
Here are some quick notes and stats to know from the game.
— Nine plays, 75 yards and a touchdown on the first drive of the game for the Bengals. That’s similar to what they did in Week 3 when they won the toss and kept it, preferring to play with a lead and dictate pace.
— Bengals defense got very, very lucky on Miami’s first drive. After getting gashed, the Dolphins dropped an easy touchdown in the endzone. This was a critical point, as the Bengals then had a chance to adapt defensively while only surrendering three points.
— Vonn Bell came up with a huge interception. An underthrown ball gave him just enough time to get across the field and make the play.
— Zac Taylor slammed his own play-calling in the days before this game for his goof-up on a fourth-and-short call. He sent it wide and it failed — then he did it again on Thursday night the drive after a turnover. What could have been a huge scoring drive instead produced zero.
— The Dolphins had been daring the Bengals to take a deep shot and they finally did before halftime — Burrow hit Tee Higgins for a 59-yard touchdown.
— Bengals defense oddly collapsed before halftime, coughing up a nine-play, 75-yard drive to backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
— Bengals failed to score a touchdown in short territory and opted for a field goal instead of another try. Zac Taylor opted for a 19-yard field goal to make it 17-15, but the decision didn’t look great at the time.
— The offense had some self-inflicted wounds ruin a drive late and needed to settle for a 57-yard field goal from Evan McPherson. He hit to make it 20-15, but it was another head-shaking setback for what should be an elite offense.
— Vonn Bell all but iced the game late with an interception of Teddy Bridgewater, plus a big return.
2.5: Yards per carry for the running game. It’s too predictable and easy to stop, which places even more pressure on the passing attack and defense.
WR Tee Higgins: With Ja’Marr Chase blanketed, No. 85 stepped up big with seven catches for 124 yards and the big touchdown.
S Vonn Bell: Not one…but two interceptions for Bell. One where he showed good range on an underthrow and another was a heads-up showing at a critical moment late.
Ugly: That’s Thursday night games in a nutshell and this wasn’t any exception. The defense got gashed a few more times than usual and the offense was an outright mess after the opening drive. But they’ll take ugly if it means wins, saving the season and getting a chance to correct the issues.