The Bengals retained the AFC North lead with Sunday's victory.
A pair of unlikely 3–1 teams squared off in Cincinnati on Sunday, and for most of the contest, it looked as though the Dolphins would keep pace with the Patriots in the AFC East. But after being shutout for the first 39 minutes of the game, the Bengals erupted, scoring 27 unanswered points to earn a 27-17 home victory.
Cincinnati advanced to 4–1 with the win, staying atop the AFC North. Miami has now lost two straight on the road after a blistering 3–0 start, tied with New England at 3–2.
Miami looked on pace for a road upset through a significant portion of the contest, taking a 14-0 lead following a 70-yard punt return from Jakeem Grant.
But following a field goal from Jason Sanders to put Miami up 17-0 early in the third quarter, the wheels came off for the Dolphins, allowing 27 straight including a pair of gifts from Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins quarterback tossed a pick-six to tie the contest at 17-17 early in the fourth quarter, then fumbled with just over two minutes to play, recovered by the Bengals and taken to the house.
Sunday wasn't Andy Dalton's finest day, throwing for just 248 yards and a touchdown. But his weapons picked up the slack, led by 93 yards rushing from Joe Mixon in his return to the field and 112 yards receiving from A.J. Green.
After back-to-back losing seasons, Marvin Lewis and Co. look to have righted the ship, bolstered by an improved offensive line and steadier play from Dalton. There very well could be playoff football in Cincinnati for the first time since 2015. But the Bengals can't afford to look ahead to January just yet. They host the Steelers next week, then travel on the road to face the Chiefs on Oct. 21.