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Dolphins Week 4 Loss: The Five Biggest Plays

Breaking down the five plays that decided the outcome in the Dolphins' 27-15 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals

The Miami Dolphins suffered their first loss of the season when they dropped a 27-15 decision against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium on Thursday night in a game marred by the scary injury to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

We rank the five biggest, most important, plays of the game:

1. Teddy Bridgewater's fourth-quarter interception

While the knee-jerk reaction might be to suggest that the loss of Tua Tagovailoa was the biggest factor in the Dolphins loss, the reality is they were in position to take the lead with under four minutes left after driving to the Cincinnati 26-yard line trailing 20-15. But on second-and-10, Bridgewater's pass for tight end Mike Gesicki sailed right by him before he turned around, a clear miscommunication between the two, and right into the arms of safety Vonn Bell for his second pick of the game. Worse, Bell returned the pick 46 yards into Miami territory.

2. Joe Burrow's 36-yard completion to Ja'Marr Chase

The Dolphins still had a chance at a late comeback even after the interception and long return, but that all ended when Chase easily got behind the Dolphins secondary on the left side of the offensive formation and came down with Burrow's pass before being tackled at the 6-yard line. Three plays later, two plays after the two-minute warning, the Bengals scored a touchdown to make it 27-15 and the outcome was sealed.

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3. The sack that knocked Tua out of the game

While the Dolphins still had chances after their quarterback left the game, it's safe to suggest the game might have turned out very differently had Tagovailoa not been injured. Besides losing a quarterback off to a great start in the 2022 season, there's no telling why kind of emotional impact it had on his teammates having to watch Tagovailoa being wheeled off a stretcher. As for the play itself, Tua had plenty of time to throw but couldn't find anybody open and just hung on to the ball too long before unsuccessfully trying to spin away from defensive lineman Josh Tupou.

4. Chase Edmonds being stuffed for no gain in the fourth quarter

After an impressive goal-line stand forced Cincinnati to settle for a field goal early in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins gave the ball right back after a quick three-and-out when they weren't able to convert a third-and-1 from their own 34-yard line. It actually looked like less than a yard, and one wonders why Mike McDaniel didn't call for a quarterback sneak to get the first down instead of a handoff to Edmonds, who was met in the backfield by linebacker Logan Wilson after he went through a gaping hole up front. Another point to make on this play is that the replay showed that Edmonds just might have picked up that first down on the second-down play on a run where he seemed to fall right at the 35-yard line. It says here the Dolphins at the very least should have had for a measurement after that play.

5. The incomplete pass on third-and-goal in the third quarter

Before the Dolphins had their goal-line stand in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati had one of its own in the third quarter — or, viewed another way, the Dolphins had a goal-to-go failure. It came after Bridgewater's 65-yard pass to Tyreek Hill gave Miami a first-and-goal at the 5-yard line. After two runs gained 3 yards, Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson pushed Terron Armstead back into Bridgewater in the pocket, forcing Bridgewater to roll out to his left. He ended up throwing an incompletion toward Hill under duress and the Dolphins settled for a field goal to take a 15-14 lead. Had the Dolphins been able to score a touchdown here, maybe the Bengals would have gone for it on fourth-and-goal from the Miami 1 instead of kicking the short field goal to take the lead they never relinquished, and maybe the game turns out differently.