The Dolphins fell behind early as the defense let the Bengals walk down the field on a 15 play TD drive to open the game. After a botched INT by Chris Clemons, the Bengals took a 14-6 lead. Little did they know that those 14 points were all they would get. The Dolphins relied (too often) on their field goal kicker, Dan Carpenter, to provide their offense. Carpenter is writing his name on the Pro Bowl ballot after another 5 field goal game. That’s 10 in the last 2 weeks!
Chad Henne overcame an early INT that he would admit, he shouldn’t have even thrown. He led the team up and down the field for the most part as the Dolphins outgained the Bengals on the day and controlled the game the entire second half. Henne led the team down the field on a 96 yard TD drive. I was impressed with the way he handled the team, and how the team kept fighting all game long.
The defense won the game for the Phins, however, completely taking over the 2nd half of the game. A big shout out to Sean Smith, who captured his first INT of his career. It’s the first of what should be many. Sean was demoted earlier this year, but has played the good soldier and keeps at it. He’s a hard worker and should have regained his starting role after yesterday’s performance.
The Dolphins now sit at 4-3 and still look up at the Jets and Pats. If they can end the first half of the year with an upset win at Baltimore this coming weekend, the Phins could be in great shape for a second half run. The schedule softens up a bit after the next 2 weeks. A win this weekend would put the Dolphins in great position to finish the year 10-6 or better. What’s more, they would have gone 5-3 during a brutal first half (@ Bills, @ Vikings, Jets, Pats, @Packers, Steelers, @ Bengals, @ Ravens). Even if they lose the game and end the first half 4-4, there is still reason to be hopeful for the playoffs. You see, the Dolphins will have played 5 of their 8 road games for 2010. This means 5 of their last 8 will be at home, a place that they should begin to play better. There only remaining road games will be @ Oakland, @ New England, and @ NY Jets.