Posted: 11:08 am Sunday, October 31st, 2010
Dolphins-Bengals Live Blog: Who needs offense? Defense, Dan Carpenter lead Dolphins to 22-14 victory
By Post Staff
CINCINNATI — The Dolphins’ offense once again struggled on Sunday, but kicker Dan Carpenter and the Dolphins’ defense made sure it didn’t matter.
Carpenter nailed all five field goal attempts — including a career long 54-yarder at the end of the first half — and the Dolphins held the Bengals to 76 total yards and zero points in the second half to come away with a 22-14 victory and improve to 4-3 and a perfect 4-0 on the road.
Carson Palmer, after starting 7 of 8 for 65 yards, completed just 10 of his final 30 passes for 91 yards and a game-clinching interception to Sean Smith in the final three minutes, Smith’s first interception in his two-year career.
The Dolphins led 15-14 in the fourth quarter when all of the sudden the offense exploded for a 6-play, 97-yard touchdown drive, punctuated by Ricky Williams’ 1-yard touchdown run, his first touchdown of the season.
More updates coming soon after the Dolphins’ press conferences. Check back shortly for more information from the Dolphins’ locker room. The rest of the live blog can be read below.
CINCINNATI — ….. And we’re live from Paul Brown Stadium, site of today’s epic showdown between the 3-3 Dolphins and the 2-4 Bengals!
OK, epic may be stretching it. The Bengals are riding a three-game losing streak, while the combined record of the three teams Miami has defeated is 3-15. But still, today’s game should be a fun Halloween treat, featuring three of the game’s best receivers in Brandon Marshall, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.
We have a glorious day for football today in Cincinnati — clear blue skies and highs in the upper 50s. We’ll be posting live updates after each quarter, so make sure you hit “refresh” throughout the day for the latest news and information on the game. You can also follow me on Twitter, @BenVolinPBP.
Here are the inactives for both teams:
QB Tyler Thigpen (third QB)
WR Marlon Moore
S Reshad Jones (listed as “out” on injury report)
CB Nolan Carroll
DE Clifton Geathers
OT Patrick Brown
OT Lydon Murtha
TE Mickey Shuler
QB Dan LeFevour (third QB)
CB Johnathan Joseph
S Roy Williams
DE Jonathan Fanene
C Reggie Stephens
S Chinedum Ndukwe
OT Anthony Collins
WR Jerome Simpson
What does this mean for the Dolphins?
Patrick Cobbs will be returning kickoffs today for Carroll, who injured his ankle last week. … John Jerry is active for the first time since Week 2, and since Murtha is inactive, expect to see Jerry on special teams. … Jeron Mastrud has replaced Shuler this week as the second tight end. … The Bengals’ secondary will be without three starters in Joseph, Williams and Ndukwe. Bodes very well for the Dolphins’ passing game.
The Dolphins also announced that Davone Bess replaces Brian Hartline as the No. 2 receiver, though that’s mostly semantics, since both players have distinct roles and Hartline will still get plenty of snaps today.
And Dolfans will be happy to know, after last week’s controversy, that today’s referee, Terry McAulay, was born in Louisiana and currently lives in Maryland. So no crying about biased refs this week, OK?
That’s it for pre-game information. Enjoy the game!
On the positive side, the Dolphins learned how to cover a kickoff. The Bengals’ first two drives of the game started on their own 12 and 13 yard lines.
On the negative side, not much else went right for the Dolphins in the first quarter. The Bengals received the opening kickoff and promptly marched right down field, going 87 yards in 15 plays over 7:40 to jump out to a 7-0 lead. The Bengals gained 121 total yards in the first quarter, and were driving again inside Miami territory as the quarter ended.
Carson Palmer went 7 for 8 for 65 yards and a 7-yard touchdown to Terrell Owens, who easily beat Jason Allen to the inside on a slant. Owens also beat Allen on a deep sideline pass, but bobbled the ball going out of bounds. Tony Sparano decided that he had had enough, replacing Allen with Sean Smith on the second series. Palmer also converted all four third-downs on the opening drive.
The Dolphins did manage to score three points on Dan Carpenter’s 38-yard field goal, but once again they missed a golden opportunity to score a touchdown. They had first and 10 at Cincinnati’s 21, but Ronnie Brown was stuffed up the middle and Chad Henne threw incomplete twice to end the drive.
Good thing the Dolphins have Dan Carpenter, or else they wouldn’t have anyone to score points.
Carpenter nailed three more field goals in the second quarter, and four in the first half, to keep the Dolphins within 14-12 at halftime. Carpenter was good from 42, 24 and 54 in the second quarter, making him a perfect 12-for-12 on field goals over the past three games. Carpenter’s 54-yarder at the buzzer — which would have been good from about 60 — was a new career long.
Otherwise, the Dolphins continued to struggle on offense. They are 3-of-8 on third down, 0-for-1 in the Red Zone (stalling, again, inside the 10), and Henne has a 55.2 passer rating after completing 13 of 20 passes for 95 yards and an interception to Morgan Trent on a terrible throw into double coverage.
The Dolphins’ defense settled down in the second quarter, but still couldn’t catch a break. The Bengals took over at Miami’s 37 following Henne’s interception, and on the first play, Carson Palmer threw deep to Terrell Owens. The ball was horribly underthrown,. and Clemons should have had an easy interception, but he bobbled the ball as he fell down, and popped it back up in the air. Owens easily snatched the ball and danced into the end zone for a gift-wrapped 37-yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead for the Bengals.
Brandon Marshall has been targeted just one time in the first half and has one catch for 20 yards. Davone Bess leads the way with six catches for 33 yards. Ronnie Brown has 48 yards on 5.3 yards per carry, while Benny Sapp leads the defense with seven tackles. The Dolphins have not laid a finger yet on Palmer, with zero sacks or quarterback hits.
Jim Mandich said it best on the Dolphins’ radio broadcast: Dan Carpenter for mayor.
Carpenter, the Dolphins’ third-year kicker, hit his fifth field goal of the day, a 30-yarder, to give Miami a 15-14 lead after three quarters.
Otherwise, the Dolphins once again can’t punch the ball in the end zone. They had a 15-play, 81-yard drive that lasted 7:29, yet fizzled at the 13-yard line when the Dolphins gave up and ran the ball on third-and-6 to set up Carpenter’s field goal.
The Dolphins did gain about 90 yards in the quarter, and have 243 for the game, but only have five field goals to show for it. The Dolphins missed a big opportunity when Brian Hartline dropped a wide open pass over the middle, which could have led to a 30-plus yard gain.
Thankfully for the Dolphins, the Bengals’ offense was equally as bad. They have gone three-and-out on their last five possessions, and Carson Palmer, after starting 7 of 8 for 65 yards, went on a 4 of 15 stretch for 51 yards — and 37 of them came on Owens’ lucky 37-yard touchdown.