With the score 7-6 at halftime in favor of the Dolphins, the game could have been considered a snore. Both the Cincinnati and Miami offenses were looking problematic, struggling to stay on the field and incapable of carrying the ball.
The game would not get too much better in the second half as both teams would combine to score only 17 more points, 10 of those going to Miami and helping them avoid a third consecutive loss by winning 17-13.
As mentioned before, both teams had difficulty moving the ball and establishing effective drives. Dolphins' quarterback Ryan Tannehill finished with a weak 223 yards passing and failed to score a touchdown. The Bengals' Andy Dalton had 83 yards passing at halftime and only managed another 151 by game's end.
But not everything in this game was highlighted in black. A "Hero" and a "Zero" still emerged to be recognized.
Hero: Miami Dolphins Defense
The defense has had some tough times recently, losing two leads the previous two games that resulted in losses but this time they provided a spark. They picked off Dalton twice, the second time with 1:22 remaining in the game to secure the win. They also recovered a fumble while stuffing the Bengals running game, allowing only 61 yards for the game. Furthermore, they kept the combo of Dalton-to-A.J. Green in check, allowing only nickel and dime completions to Green, who finished with just 65 yards but with a 1-yard TD.
Zero: Marvin Lewis
The Bengals head coach seemed to call the most ineffective plays in the book. Offensive weapons at hand like Dalton, Green, Jermaine Gresham and Andrew Hawkins were not properly utilized.
Before halftime, the Cincy offense had a 1st-and-goal situation at the Miami 4-yard line and failed to score a TD, settling on a 2nd field goal. Adding to the misery, the Bengals were just 2-14 on 3rd down conversions for the game. Lewis needs to own up to his bad play selection and improve this offense if he hopes to coach beyond this season.