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Dolphins-Bengals Week 4 Halftime Observations

Checking out the key moments from the first half of the Miami Dolphins' Thursday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4

Here's what caught our eye in the first half of the Miami Dolphins Week 4 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium on Thursday night.

-- We'll start with the inactive list, which provided a lot of good news for the Dolphins with every significant player listed as questionable on the final injury report being available, most notably Tua Tagovailoa, Terron Armstead and Jaylen Waddle.

-- Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis was back in the lineup, but wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. was inactive because of rib and toe injuries. While Wilson is a solid player, he's not essential because the Dolphins have a lot of other options in the passing game.

-- One of the most interesting aspects of the inactive list was rookie seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson being active for the first time all season, an indication that maybe the Dolphins had reservations about Tua being able to last the whole game in light of his back injury.


-- For a second consecutive game, the Dolphins defense watched their opponent drive down the field on the opening drive and quickly fell behind 7-0 (and at Baltimore it was a kickoff return that put them in a quick hole).

-- Penalties didn't help the Dolphins on the drive, particularly Keion Crossen's bad roughing penalty when he dove on tight end Hayden Hurst at the end of a 6-yard completion when Hurst already was on the ground.

-- The Dolphins coverage was very loose on that first drive and it didn't help when Xavien Howard whiffed after coming up to tackle Tee Higgins following a short pass.

-- The touchdown came on a third-and-1 run by Joe Mixon when Jevon Holland and Christian Wilkins had position but couldn't bring down Mixon and the Bengals offensive line then pushed Mixon into the end zone.

-- Raheem Mostert got the first carry for the Dolphins, continuing the pattern of Chase Edmonds and Mostert rotating starts.

-- The Dolphins had an almost perfect drive, but it ended with only a field goal because Chase Edmonds had a bad drop in the end zone on third-and-4 from the 5 when Tua lofted a pass over the defender right into the hands.

-- A great play design, where fullback Alec Ingold ran down the left sideline, created an easy deep slant for Jaylen Waddle that Tua hit for a 20-yard gain right after he connected with Tyreek Hill for a 26-yard gain.

-- The Dolphins defense stiffened on Cincy's second drive and got some pressure on Joe Burrow to hurry some throws.

-- Pressure forced incompletions on second-and-8 and third-and-8, the latter coming when Melvin Ingram beat left tackle Jonah Williams with a spin move. Ingram, of course, was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month earlier in the day.

-- The Dolphins' second drive overall was a mess, though it did feature a superb throw by Tua downfield over defenders to tight end Mike Gesicki for a 21-yard gain.

-- But on that drive the Dolphins spent two timeouts and Hill was called for holding to negate a 12-yard run by Mostert, who just looks incredibly smooth running the ball.

-- And, of course, the drive ended with a really bad interception on second-and-8 from the Miami 33 when Tua was very late in throwing deep to Hill after he got behind the secondary and then underthrew the ball, allowing safety Vonn Bell to come over and make the pick. It's the kind of throw that Tua skeptics will point to when it comes to his deep throwing, though it must be pointed out that was his first bad long pass of the season.

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-- The second quarter began with an 18-yard Bengals completion on third-and-1 that was followed by five rushing attempts (including two scrambles by Burrow) for 20 yards.

-- One of the scrambles came after Burrow was flushed out of the pocket when Jaelan Phillips got immediate pressure, a good sign for a player who's been quiet so far this season.

-- And then the Dolphins did what they've done so well this season, come up with a fourth-and-1 stop when Eric Rowe caught Mixon from the side on a pitch and brought him down for no gain with help from a couple of other defenders.

-- The Dolphins' next drive got going with a 17-yard completion to Hill after he got open in a soft spot in a zone down the middle, then Hill drew a 24-yard pass interference.

-- That was followed by three straight incompletions, one when Jaylen Waddle couldn't make a tough diving catch and another when the Bengals linebacker made just a fabulous play on a pass Tua fight into a very tight window.

-- Jason Sanders continued his strong season when he nailed a 48-yard field goal to make it 7-6.

-- The Dolphins defense then produced a three-and-out and got a nice break when Kevin Huber got off a punt that went only 28 yards.

-- Pressure by Melvin Ingram combined with tight coverage by Xavien Howard on Tee Higgins forced an incompletion on third-and-5 to end the drive.

-- And in a span of three plays, Tua was hit twice, once drawing a roughing-the-passer penalty and then getting injured when he was sacked by Josh Tupou when he appeared to twist his back while throwing him to the ground on a clean hit.

-- Teddy Bridgewater threw a nice 16-yard completion on third-and-17 on his first play, but Mike McDaniel chose to try to a 52-yard field goal attempt instead of going for the first down on fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 34 and the conservative decision backfired when Sanders' attempt was blocked.

-- Things got worse three plays later when Xavien Howard got caught looking back at Burrow too early while in one-on-one coverage with Tee Higgins, who beat him for a 59-yard touchdown that made it 14-6.

-- The Dolphins got a break right before the two-minute warning when Sam Hubbard was called for roughness against Mostert, moving the ball to the 46.

-- Bridgewater came back with a nice slant throw to Waddle for 19 yards.

-- Bridgewater came up with a clutch throw when he rolled out and threw a strike to Trent Sherfield next to the sideline for a first-and-goal at the 7.

-- The drive finished with a great play call with Bridgewater throwing a shovel pass to Edmonds, who fought his way into the end zone for the touchdown. Sanders then cloinked the extra point off the upright, leaving the score 14-12 at the half.