Our 3-0 Dolphins travel to Cincinnati to take on last year’s AFC Super Bowl team, currently 1-2 in the AFC North. The Bengals lost a tough opening game 23-20 to the Steelers, then lost to the Cowboys 20-17, and then defeated the NY Jets last week for their first W, 27-12. They lost their first 2 by just a FG, so despite the 2 losses, they were in each game. Our Dolphins have been in 2 crazy games so far, a 21 point comeback victory against the Ravens, and an exciting nail biter against the SB favorite Buffalo Bills, who had the ball on offense for over 40 minutes, yet somehow the Dolphins held the Bills to just 19 points. Quick note to the Dolphins detractors who say the Bills had 5 guys injured; the Dolphins defense won the game, none of your injuries were on offense. The Dolphins only had the ball 19 minutes and 20 seconds, so the defense wasn’t your problem, even down 4 or 5 starters. You just needed to actually watch the game to come to that conclusion. Your offense didn’t get it done in this game and that’s why you lost.
Back to the Dolphins. QB Tua Tagovailoa comes into this game with some back issues. It looks like he’s going to play, he did finish out the game against Buffalo although he did miss a series with back spasms. Hopefully he’s ready to go and able to play the entire game, because Teddy Bridgewater looked lost, slow, and unprepared when he relieved Tua last week. I won’t be surprised if the Dolphins carry 3 QB’s on their 46, but that leaves another unit short. My guess is they have Teddy better prepared. We have a lot of guys that are injured, and TE’s Cethan Carter and Hunter Long are both still OUT. LT Terron Armstead, QB Tua Tagovailoa, CB Xavien Howard, S Brandon Jones, DT Raekwon Davis, and WR’s Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Jaylen Waddle are all QUESTIONABLE. In this case, I’d say all of them give it a go, it’s a matter of for how long.
I wanted to express how pleased I was after seeing us knock off an excellent Buffalo Bills team last week. It was a crazy game, our defense was on the field most of the game, and in years past, that would have meant 40-3, like it’s been for the last 4 years when we couldn’t compete with the Bills. Somehow, our defense bent all day, but only broke twice. Some power rankings have us #3, some #1, but honestly, I couldn’t care less. Power rankings in Week 3 don’t mean squat. Actually, they never mean squat, it’s your record, and if you watch the games, you know what your team is about. This team seems so different under HC Mike McDaniel. There is an air of confidence, perhaps it comes from the coach’s confidence in his team and his players. They make the big plays, they make the big stops, they convert the big 3rd downs, they’re doing it all. A lot of the same guys are here, but they carry themselves differently. No question the talent upgrades make a huge difference, Tyreek Hill is wreaking havoc every game, and Terron Armstead is the best LT we’ve had here in a long time. DE/LB Melvin Ingram had a big game last week, giving us that wily veteran presence.
This could be a difficult game for us, coming into Cincy against last year’s AFC Champs. We’re beat up, and they need to turn things around. Cincy has 2 former Dolphins coaches from 2015, HC Zac Taylor who was our OC, and Lou Anarumo who was our DC. That was a different team then, so no advantage in that regard. I expect our team to compete, and keep this one close. As long as most of our guys stay healthy enough to play, it should be a competitive game, both teams facing the short week. Hoping we find a way to come out on top here and go to 4-0.