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

Cincinnati had several of its stars -- WR A.J. Green, QB Andy Dalton, DT Geno Atkins and DE Carlos Dunlap -- step up in its win over Miami.

| 9 months ago
(Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

(Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

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.


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.


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

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • DaStrongSKRAWN

    I’ll credit the OL with 3 or 4 sacks (Turner twice & James once/twice). RT17 still holds the ball too long. Also, when the OTs flush out a pass rusher, he still won’t step up in the pocket.
    His tiny hands are still causing fumbles and his balls are thrown with bad tragetory in short passing games, hence, tipped balls.
    This was his first overall bad game of the year but the OL will be blamed (not by PFF, but fair weather fans and journalists, y’all cool) smh.

    • Rick

      Agreed about the Line. It was good enough early on. But lets not forget that this is a Super Bowl contender they just faced on the road. probably the best pass rush we have faced to this season, so I’m not entirely shocked. Gase needs to earn his $$$ over the next 4 weeks. Tannehill can’t be a statue back there, we’ll lose more games that way
      I thought our defense played better (interesting Maxwell was benched) but WHY they didn’t double Green is mind boggling. Oh and the push off not called was cool on that trash jump ball Ginger threw.

      • Greg Phillips

        Maybe we should just adopt a hurry-up no-huddle. Hell, I don’t know.

        I’m out of excuses for Tanny. He has such a low QB IQ that it’s just never going to work out.

        • crosseyedlemon

          I don’t know how any QB could be expected to post good grades consistently with zero run support. Defenses can just tee off on someone like Tannehill or Stafford of the Lions.

          • Greg Phillips

            If you watch the games, the running backs are fine. Tannehill, his entire career, has demonstrated zero pocket presence. He simply doesn’t feel the rush, holds on to the ball too long, and can’t protect it in key situation.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I think this was the most lopsided game in terms of possession time so far this season (16 minutes). Even if teams manage not to turnover the ball they need at least some semblance of a run game to give themselves a chance. The Bengals can beat up on teams like Miami but they still have to prove they can win those clutch games against teams at the top level.

  • LostAlone

    Absolute dumpster fire from the Fins last night, but that’s not what really bothers me. The Bengals should look that good every week, at least if we are to believe their impressive last season wasn’t a fluke. I don’t know what it is; they still have a well balanced team and good pieces but it’s only when they run into a real hot garbage kind of team that they look as impressive as they did early last season.

    It’s so hard to believe in the Bengals now because if they were playing at last seasons level they would have certainly beaten the Steelers two weeks ago, and at worst have played the Broncos much closer. It’s nice to win by two touchdowns against a crappy team but if they were a real contender they would have blown them out the water.

    If they keep this up then despite these well graded games the Bengals will end up flaming out of the playoffs on wildcard weekend again and for seemingly no obvious reason. It looks like they should get to 10 wins but does anyone have faith that they can beat the Broncos or Patriots or Steelers in the playoffs?

    • Wackanhut

      The Bengals problem isnt talent, its the mental aspect of the game. They always burn themselves down. What the Broncos have achieved after McD was to remake their team with players of the right mentality first and foremost. They dont say any given sunday for nothing, the Bengals have the talent to string a few together and if it happens at the right time of year could get deep into the playoffs, but the gatekeepers are the Broncos and Patriots.

      • crosseyedlemon

        The Bengals problems would be solved if they had the Outlaw Josey Wales as coach…..

        “Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna
        make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if
        you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s
        just the way it is.”