NFL News & Analysis

MIA-CIN grades: A.J. Green leads Bengals offense in win

Cincinnati Bengals 22, Miami Dolphins 7

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Bengals' 22-7 win over the Dolphins on Thursday night:

Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback grade: Andy Dalton, 79.6

Dalton leads efficient passing offense

Andy Dalton had an efficient outing that featured passes all over the field. Dalton was pressured on just six of 32 dropbacks, and he completed passes on three of those plays for 30 yards. He also was a perfect 4-for-4 on deep passes targeted 20-plus yards downfield, for 138 yards. Dalton finished with an adjusted completion percentage of 82.1 percent, tied for his highest in a single game through four weeks.

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Top offensive grades:

WR A.J. Green, 89.0

T Andrew Whitworth, 80.2

QB Andy Dalton, 79.6

C Russell Bodine, 75.6

G Clint Boling, 72.9

A.J. Green unstoppable versus Dolphins’ secondary

There wasn’t much that could slow down A.J. Green in this game. He was targeted a game-high 11 times, and hauled in 10 catches for 173 yards against five different defenders in coverage. Green doubled his season total of receptions on deep targets (20-plus yards downfield) with three catches for 115 yards. Green’s 5.58 yards per route run was the highest of any wide receiver in a game this year with at least 20 routes run. The offensive line had a stellar performance in pass protection, allowing a combined two pressures on 33 dropbacks. They did not fare as well in the run game, as only left tackle Andrew Whitworth (72.6) had a run-blocking grade above a 65.0.

Top defensive grades:

DE Carlos Dunlap, 89.0

DT Geno Atkins, 86.1

LB Vincent Rey, 85.3

DT Domata Peko, 79.1

DT Pat Sims, 77.9

Atkins, Dunlap make huge impact

DE Carlos Dunlap and DT Geno Atkins both finished with season-high grades and were constantly in the Dolphins backfield on passing plays. Dunlap compiled seven pressures (two sacks, one hit, four hurries) and batted two of Tannehill’s passes, while Atkins picked up six of his own, including at 11:15 when he beat guard Billy Turner quickly and cleanly inside for a drive-ending sack. The Bengals’ play up front overshadowed some otherwise solid performances in the back-seven, including linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Vincent Rey, who each defensed a pass in coverage and combined to allow just one reception between them.

Miami Dolphins

Quarterback grade: Ryan Tannehill, 45.0

Tannehill can’t overcome pressure

Outside of an early coverage bust that resulted in a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills on the team’s first drive, this matchup was dominated by the Bengals' defense. Multiple drives ended in third-down sacks, with Tannehill facing near-constant pressure on standard dropbacks. The Dolphins tried to counter the Bengals' rush with screens and rollouts, but Cincinnati’s back-seven did an excellent job limiting yards on those plays. When he did face pressure, Tannehill handled it poorly, and several times exacerbated the pressure by either holding the ball too long or failing to climb the pocket, which was the case on his fumble at 2:14 of the second quarter.

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Top offensive grades:

C Kraig Urbik, 79.3

WR Jarvis Landry, 68.6

RB Kenyan Drake, 68.0

RB Jay Ajayi, 67.6

WR Kenny Stills, 67.1

Dolphins’ offensive line struggles amid changes due to injuries

The problems for Miami’s offense were almost entirely up front, with Bengals linemen Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap dominating the front-five. Center Kraig Urbik was the only member of the offensive line with an above-average overall grade after yielding no pressure in 31 pass blocks, while the rest of the unit combined for 14 pressures, with two more coming from tight end Dion Sims. RB Jay Ajayi was one of the few positives on offense, albeit in a limited role. He forced four missed tackles and gained an average of 5.5 yards on his six carries.

Top defensive grades:

S Reshad Jones, 84.5

LB Kiko Alonso, 84.3

S Isa Abdul-Quddus, 83.0

DE Mario Williams, 81.3

DE Andre Branch, 78.3

Front seven shuts down run while secondary struggles in coverage

The storyline heading into the game about Miami’s defense had not fared very well against the run as a unit through the first three weeks. That wasn’t the case against the Bengals. A few defensive linemen, including Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams and Andre Branch, graded well against the run. Overall they held Cincinnati’s running back duo to fewer than three yards per carry, and the defense had 21 run stops on 31 combined RB carries. Safeties Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul-Quddus also earned positive marks in run defense, but having them play around the box more may have put more pressure on the rest of the secondary to perform in coverage. CBs Tony Lippett and Xavien Howard both covered A.J. Green, and each gave up big plays at least once in man coverage. Lippett badly missed a tackle on the Green touchdown, with came off of a quick screen pass, but he did have two pass breakups elsewhere during the game.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Bengals’ WR A.J. Green

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