Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa passed for a touchdown and a season-high 296 yards, leading the host Miami Dolphins to a 19-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in a fight-filled game that featured five ejections on Sunday afternoon.
Tagovailoa had missed one game due to a thumb injury on his (left) throwing hand, but he looked sharp in leading Miami (8-4), which also got a big game from tight end Mike Gesicki, who had nine catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Cincinnati (2-9-1) was led by quarterback Brandon Allen, who passed for 153 yards and a touchdown before getting knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter on a hit to the chest by Shaq Lawson. Allen started his second straight game in place of Joe Burrow, the first overall pick in this year’s NFL draft who is out for the season with a knee injury.
A fight broke out with 11:54 left in the fourth after Cincinnati’s Mike Thomas was penalized on two straight special teams plays, both times for hitting Jakeem Grant, high and then early. After the second one, Dolphins players took exception, and a fight erupted, after which Miami’s DeVante Parker and Mack Hollins, and Cincinnati’s Shawn Williams, were ejected.
In addition, Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd and Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard were ejected in the second quarter after they threw punches.
Prior to that, both had made big plays. Boyd had caught a 72-yard touchdown pass, snapping Cincinnati’s streak of 22 straight games without a touchdown of at least 40 yards.
Howard intercepted a pass for the fourth straight game. He has eight this season, which leads the NFL.
Miami also suffered a pair of injuries to starters: linebacker Elandon Roberts (chest) and left guard Ereck Flowers (left ankle). Up until Sunday, Flowers had not missed a snap all season.
Cincinnati had the only first-quarter score on Boyd’s 72-yard play off a short toss from Allen. It was a third-and-2 play, but a block from tight end Drew Sample and a bad angle by Miami cornerback Byron Jones allowed Boyd to take it all the way down the left sideline.
The Dolphins cut their halftime deficit to 7-6 after a pair of Jason Sanders field goals, including one after an apparent touchdown on a 2-yard, fourth-down run by holder/punter Matt Haack was nullified by an illegal-formation penalty.
Miami took the second-half kickoff and drove 75 yards for a 13-7 lead, its first of the game. The score came on a 5-yard toss to Gesicki.
The Dolphins put the game away with two more Sanders field goals as they improved to 1-4 this season when trailing at halftime.
–Field Level Media