News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 PFF ReFocused: Miami Dolphins 38, Cincinnati Bengals 35

Dec 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) celebrates his touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A crazy Cincinnati Bengals rally, from down 23 with 6:12 left and down 16 with less than a minute left, came up short Sunday, as the Miami Dolphins kicked a field goal as time expired in overtime to beat the Bengals 38-35 and lock Cincinnati into the first overall pick in the NFL draft.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game and the other games played this week will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle. ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats.

PFF's ELITE subscribers can also preview NFL and NCAA games in PFF Greenline, an online dashboard with projections for the spread, totals and moneyline.

Final Score

Miami Dolphins 38, Cincinnati Bengals 35

Miami Dolphins

As long as the Bengals didn't get pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick (which was the vast majority of the game), he was lights out. He carved up the Bengals secondary with his intermediate accuracy and spread the ball out to all of his receivers.

TE Mike Gesicki had a huge day, notching two touchdowns in the game. While he lost a contested catch battle that should have extended Miami's first drive of overtime, he redeemed himself with another big grab on the Dolphins' game-winning march.

Zach Sieler stood out for the Dolphins front, picking up multiple stops around the line of scrimmage in the run game, while also making his presence felt late as a pass-rusher with a pressure and a pair of batted passes in the fourth quarter.

Miami’s secondary fell apart late in the game as they allowed Andy Dalton & Co. to charge back into the game. No one player was the lone culprit, as just about everyone on the back end saw passes head their way and largely failed to make plays. They did manage to somewhat redeem themselves in OT, with both Nate Brooks and Nik Needham coming up with third-down stops to get the ball back to their offense.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati offense was awful early on, squeezing in a couple of field goal drives amid a flurry of three-and-outs, putting them in a big hole entering the second half. They put it together in the second half, scoring four touchdowns on Andy Dalton passes (three in the final quarter) to send the game into overtime. While Dalton was far from perfect in this game, he made a number of big throws down the stretch while dealing with shaky protection to give Cincinnati a chance.

Right guard was an issue throughout the game for the Bengals, particularly in pass protection. Both Billy Price and John Jerry saw action, and neither fared well, surrendering multiple pressures. Cincinnati’s offensive line as a whole struggled handling the stunts from Miami’s front, a problem that was exacerbated later once the Bengals entered pass-only mode.

William Jackson had a rough day in coverage, as he saw a pile of targets sent his way and rarely had an answer. It didn't matter who he was matched up against, as Ryan Fitzpatrick seemed to find him regardless.

Darius Phillips was easily Cincinnati's best secondary player Sunday. He notched a big interception, as well as multiple pass breakups.

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