Hayden Fox's Assessment: Week 9
* Won the Turnover Differential 4-1. The difference in the game.
* Cameron Wake....WOW! Walk off safety. 3 sacks and FF. Unbelievable impact.
* Ryan Tannehill. This was the game I was looking for him to have. Managed the game beautifully. He went 20-28, 208 yards, a rush TD and NO TURNOVERS. He got the team into better plays during the game. He handled the offense so well. With about a minute left and one timeout RT leads the team down the field to get into position to tie the game with a field goal. Excellent night.
* Mike Wallace. Great to see him comeback with a tremendous game. 82 yards on 6 catches. The PI he drew was a huge play in the game that it at least flipped field position that eventually pinned the Bengals to set up the Wake Safety. Wallace seemed much more comfortable tonight.
* Lamar Miller. He has had two straight excellent games. Tonight, he went over the century mark with 105 yards on 16 carrries with a long of 41.
* Brian Hartline's clutch catch on the sideline on the game tying drive. The toe tap was incredible.
* THE OFFENSIVE LINE (yes, I was able to type "offensive line" under positives. 157 yards rushing for 5.2 a rush. The pass protection was solid. 3 sacks, but RT's pocket was pretty solid. The Bengals have an excellent Dline and the Fins big guys held their own.
* Props to Tyson Clabo. The guy is at the end of his career yet he came in and gave solid effort.
* Nate Garner. I am huge Garner supporter. I think he should have been starting. Be that as it may, Garner came in for Richie Incognito after he suffered an injury and Garner did not miss a beat. Nobody should be surprised that he was ready and played well. Solid pro.
* Paul Soliai was a load inside. He had a sack and PD. He pushed the pocket well as well. Stout versus the run.
* The pressure by the DT's made a huge impact tonight. Soliai, Randy Starks and Jared Odrick collapsed the pocket all night.
* Dannell Ellerbe. The guy took some heat this week by "experts" in the national media. Ellerbe was awesome tonight especially in pass defense. He had 4 PD's and an interception.
* On Ellerbe's pick, Jimmy Wilson had good coverage and separated the ball from the receiver as he juggled the ball.
* Brent Grimes deserves a long day off. He played his butt off tonight. The 94 yard pick six was a huge play. He was gutsy taking on ball carriers. He took on the bigger A.J. Green all night and more than held his own.
* Dimitri Patterson's interception at the end of the half. The Bengals inexplicably were trying to score at the end of the half, promptly throw a pick to Patterson. It sets up an important FG at the end of the half.
* Olivier Vernon was very active today. He seems to be turning the corner for the team.
* The Red Zone stop by the defense on the 3rd Cincinnati drive. Miami had just got a turnover, but missed a FG....Cincinnati was driving, but came up short of the end zone. Big stop when you look at the final result.
* ALL defenders deserve credit. They played hard and a TON of snaps. They played their asses off.
* Brandon Fields punted well all night. However, the last punt that pinned the Bengals back leading to the Wake Safety was most important.
* Credit to Caleb Sturgis. No doubt he was in a slump, but missed his first attempt tonight...a chip shot. Yet, Sturgis came back strong later in the game with a field goal near the end of the half and a game tying FG at the end of regulation.
* We must give credit to Mike Sherman. Sherman finally committed to the run and had great success. The run game design was awesome. Through formation variation, motion and going big up front using Will Yeatman, the Fins were creative with the running game. 30 running attempts to 28 passes. Outstanding.
* Credit to Coach Turner for having back ups ready to play today. It has been a tough year for him, but tonight he should be proud.
* Joe Philbin. In a crazy, crazy, crazy week, Joe found a way to keep the team together, fight hard and his team found a way to win a crazy one.
* I am still confused why Daniel Thomas gets the carries he does. He seems to spell Miller when Miller gets rolling. Daniel Thomas is so ineffective as short yardage guy.
* Use of empty sets.
* Miller's fumble. After a gorgeous run, Miller has the ball batted from his arm. What is even more frustrating is for some reason he cut it back inside instead of cutting to the outside. With a cut to the outside, he scores.
* The offense was 3-14 on 3rd down.
* The number of 3rd and long's this defense gives up is absurd and tonight was no different. This area must be cleaned up. It was almost better if the Bengals were in 3rd and 3.
* Phillip Wheeler is bad in coverage.
* Sturgis' miss after the Wake FF.
* The defense did get a pick six on the Bengals 1st drive in the 2nd half, but they could not get a stop on the ensuing drive. Hence that tired them out and the offense lost rhythm. They needed to get off the field to save their legs, keep the lead and allow the offense to get rolling again.
* As the defense started to get tired, their tackling went with it. They had no ability to tackle Giovani Bernard.
* How bad was the NFLN coverage when they were talking about a Bengals TD yet there was a flag on the ground bringing it back. They try hard in their coverage, but they are not as solid as the networks.
* Huge win. I cannot overstate that. The season still has meaning going into the second half. This win was sooooo necessary on multiple fronts. The team is 4-4. They have additional time off to heal, re-set and improve. BIG, BIG, BIG Win
* I called a win tonight BTW 20-17 (check the GDT). Very close. While I was disappointed in somethings we heard about in Davie this week, I figured the team would re-group and find a way. They did. Great win.
* It feels good too as everyone today from Adam Schefter, to Mr. Know-it-all Louis Riddick, to the NFLN analysts saying the Fins did not have a chance. Adam Schefter called our line an expansion level line...cheap shot...and that line blocked great tonight. BTW, Riddick said that the Bengals were his Super Bowl favorite.
* Did anyone miss Jonathan Martin tonight?
* Cam Wake is back.
* There is much talk about the refs tonight missing PI's on Adam Jones. However, Miami got some important close calls...the Gresham hold nullifying a TD, Hartline's catch not even being reviewed and Wake's Safety being confirmed. I think the ball just broke the plain, but with our luck who knows. Anyways, I think we finally got some in the end.
* This team is a bad short yardage team. It was a concern of mine in the summer and still stands.
* Nate Garner should have been an earlier solution to help the line either at RG or RT. He can play.
* Prediction....Tyson Clabo plays well the rest of the year.
* Caleb Sturgis should remain the kicker, but I am a fan of a veteran in that role. Sturgis has had a rough patch, but I do not know what to expect from the kid. Some misses have ended up being crucial lately.
* With that said, this team does not take advantage of opportunities. Whether it was the Sturgis miss or the Miller almost TD run, Miami has to start to recognize spots to put a team a way. They did not recognize it last week and it burned them. It almost burned them again tonight.
* Along those lines, Miami has a heck of a time closing. They still are not there yet. They could not close Buffalo. They allowed the Pats to steamroll them with momentum last week. This week they coughed up a two TD lead again. It has to be fixed.
* Nolan Carroll was cheap shotted into a concussion.
* Marvin Lewis has done a good job in Cincinnati. However, he is a terrible game day coach. Two straight years he has played things in bizarre fashion that allowed the Fins to have a chance to win. Between him, Andy Dalton and Geno Atkins injury, the Bengals might be in trouble.
* 4-4. As brutally tough and heartbreaking the past few weeks have been, guess what? The team is 4-4 and FWIW exactly where I wanted them to be at least by the end of October. Now we play out the rest of the schedule and see what happens. Folks, I wanted to see progress this year. If that means no playoffs, but we see progress...so be it. And while I have been super critical of Joe Philbin the last two weeks, I urge others of you to join me and support the idea of NOT BLOWING THINGS UP. That includes the GM btw. The team is frustrating and has let a ton of opportunity slip through their hands. However, look for progress and allow this team to keep working toward success. Continuity wins in the NFL.