Of all nights that the Dolphins needed a win any way they could get one, Cameron Wake came up with the craziest play to give his team a win.
The defensive end sealed a stellar performance Thursday night with his third and most important sack of the evening - a safety in the end zone - that gave Miami a 22-20 win in Sun Life Stadium.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Dolphins while Andy Dalton may have had his worst night of the season.
According to ESPN.com, On third-and-10 from the 8, Dalton retreated to the goal line and was tackled by Wake coming up the middle for the third overtime safety in NFL history.
It could not have come at a better time.
"You just have to do whatever you can to get to the quarterback," Wake said. "It couldn't have come at a better time. How much better could it have been than to have a D-lineman seal the deal?"
This was a game the Dolphins had to have to remain a contender in the AFC playoff race. The defense did its part, sacking Dalton five times and intercepting him on three occasions. While the Bengals' running game gauged Miami for 163 yards on the ground, the Dolphins in turn found their own rushing game and better line play, despite the absence of Jonathan Martin and the loss of Ritchie Incognito during the game.
"You never want to lose four games in a row," coach Joe Philbin said in the recap on ESPN.com, "and we had an excellent football team coming in town. It was time for us to step up, and we had to make a decision -- what are we going to be? And I thought they answered the bell pretty well tonight."
Here are five things we learned about Thursday night’s game.
Tannehill followed the running game
I talked about this in the preview. If the running game found its way, it would give Tannehill more of a chance to make plays. That happened as the second-year player just let the game unfold around him. While he was sacked another three times, he did not throw an interception and remained error free. The Running game kept Miami in the contest all night.
The line played better
The team was without its starting left tackle in Jonathan Martin. Tyson Clabo moved over to fill his slot. During the game guard Ritchie Incognito was injured and the line held up. On run blocking there was a significant improvement in play. Tannehill hit the deck three times, but the running game and line play should be praised for their performances.
Wake was a monster
Three sacks and dominant line play. In the first half, it looked like the defense would keep Cincinnati at bay. That did not happen. But you could see the Bengals were not their usual stellar self on both sides of the ball. The roles in the first half were reversed.
Atkins injury a huge blow
The injury suffered by Geno Atkins is still unknown. Atkins appeared to have hurt his knee in the second quarter of the game. Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis, “Said the injury appeared to involve the All-Pro's anterior cruciate ligament, which would be season-ending.”
A Bengals source told ESPN's Bob Holtzman that Atkins tore his ACL but will have an MRI on Friday to confirm the diagnosis. Atkins was on crutches after the game.
Wallace the main target
While Tannehill did not fire a touchdown in the game, he did make Mike Wallace his main target in the passing game.
Wallace, the much maligned and controversial receiver for the Dolphins, caught six passes for 82 yards on the night.