Bengals Travel To Miami To Face The Dolphins In Week 13

Receiver Tyler Boyd so far this season has a team-high 72 catches, good for a 6.5-catch per game pace which projects out to 104 catches for a full 16 game slate.
Receiver Tyler Boyd so far this season has a team-high 72 catches, good for a 6.5-catch per game pace which projects out to 104 catches for a full 16 game slate.

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Television: The game will air on CBS-TV. In the Bengals' home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), James Lofton (analyst) and AJ Ross (reporter).

Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7).

Setting the scene: The Bengals this week travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Cincinnati will be looking to bounce back from a narrow loss to the N.Y. Giants last week.

"It's frustrating," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor of his team's two-point defeat. "You're sick to your stomach, and it sucks. It's not fun to lose. But we know that this tide is going to turn for us and we're going to back look back on this (someday). This is a necessary part of our growth, but we need to get some wins to show for all the work we've put in."

The Giants game was the first this year for Cincinnati without its standout rookie QB, Joe Burrow, who suffered a season-ending knee injury the previous week at Washington. Taking Burrow's place was fourth-year pro Brandon Allen, who spent the first 11 weeks of the season on Cincinnati's practice squad, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic had been largely isolated from the rest of the team while serving as an emergency QB.

Allen and the offense struggled to find their footing most of the day against the Giants, as Cincinnati was held to just 155 total yards (40 rushing, 115 passing).

The game, though, was kept within reach thanks to strong play by Cincinnati's defense and special teams. Headlining the day was S Brandon Wilson, who returned the kickoff on Cincinnati's first possession 103 yards for a TD. It officially counted as the longest play in team history, topping a 102-yard kick return by RB Eric Bieniemy (Oct. 26, 1997 at NYG) and a pair of 102-yard INT returns, by CBs Artrell Hawkins (Nov. 3, 2002 at Houston) and Louis Breeden (Nov.8, 1981 at S.D.).

After struggling most of the afternoon, the Bengals' offense came to life late.Allen cut New York's lead to two points with a one-yard TD pass to rookie WR Tee Higgins with 2:33 remaining. And then after Cincinnati's defense forced a three-and-out, Bengals WR Alex Erickson nearly broke the punt return for a TD but was brought down by a shoestring tackle as he broke free.

Still, trailing by just two points, Cincinnati took over possession at midfield with 57 seconds remaining. But on the first play of the drive, Giants DL Jabaal Sheard sacked Allen and forced a fumble, which New York recovered to seal a 19-17 win.

"I knew we only needed about 15 yards to get within field goal range," Allen said. "There was a little miscommunication with me and Tyler Boyd. I was expecting one thing, and he read it a different way. I got stuck on him, and from there I need to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I was trying to scramble and make a play, but in that situation the best thing is just to get forward as far as I could."

This week, the Bengals face a Dolphins team that has won six of its last seven games, and boasts the NFL's No. 2 defense in points allowed (18.6 per game). Asked if he will stick with Allen as the team's starting QB at Miami, Taylor didn't hesitate.

"Yes." he said "I expect good things from Brandon. We had an opportunity (against the Giants) and just didn't take advantage of it. But I've been around Brandon and feel like he gives us a good chance to win. And he did (against the Giants)''

Miami enters Sunday's game at 7-4, after winning 20-3 over the N.Y. Jets last week.

The series: Miami has been the second-toughest opponent the Bengals have encountered in their 51-year history, based on series winning percentage. The Dolphins hold a 17-7 edge, including 1-0 in postseason, for a .708 success rate. The Dolphins' overall winning percentage against the Bengals trails only the San Francisco 49ers (12-4, .750).

The Bengals have won two of the last three meetings, and the two squads are even at 4-4 over the past eight games, dating back to 2004. However, Miami previously had won nine straight meetings from 1978-2000, and the Dolphins lead 8-2 overall (including postseason) in games played in Miami. The Dolphins won the last meeting in the series, 38-35 in overtime, last season in Miami

The one playoff game in series history was an AFC Divisional contest, won 34-16 by the Dolphins at the Orange Bowl in 1973.

Check out photos of previous meetings between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins.

Bengals-Dolphins connections: Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was on the Dolphins' coaching staff from 2012-15. He served as assistant QBs coach in 2012 and QBs coach from '13-15, and was interim offensive coordinator for Miami's final five games of '15 ... Bengals HB Giovani Bernard, DT Geno Atkins and OT Bobby Hart all attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Bernard is from Boca Raton, Atkins is from Pembroke Pines, and Hart is from Fort Lauderdale ... Bengals linebackers coach Al Golden was head coach at the University of Miami from 2011-15 ... Dolphins S Clayton Fejedelem entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick (245th overall) of the Bengals in 2016, and was with the team through the '19 season ... Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was with the Bengals from 2007-08 ... Bengals LB Josh ynes is from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. (Boyd Anderson High School) ... Bengals HB Samaje Perine was with the Dolphins for part of the 2019 season ... Bengals G Keaton Sutherland was with the Dolphins for part of the 2019 season ... Bengals G Shaq Calhoun (practice squad) was originally a college free agent signee of the Dolphins in 2019, and was with the team through '20 preseason ... Bengals OT/G Fred Johnson is from West Palm Beach, Fla., and played at the University of Florida ... Dolphins T Adam Pankey is from Hamilton, Ohio (Hamilton High School) ... Dolphins LB Jerome Baker played at Ohio State University ... Dolphins WR Lynn Bowden Jr. played at the University of Kentucky ... Dolphins WR DaVante Parker is from Louisville (Ballard High School) and played at the University of Louisville ... Dolphins C/G Michael Deiter is from Curtice, Ohio (Genoa High School) ... Dolphins TE Adam Shaheen is from Sunbury, Ohio (Big Walnut High School) ... Bengals CB Trajan Bandy is from Miami (Columbus High School) and played at the University of Miami ... Bengals CB Torry McTyer (practice squad/injured) was originally a college free agent signee of the Dolphins in 2017, and was with the team through the '19 preseason ... Dolphins S Nate Holley (practice squad) is from Toledo, Ohio (Whitmer High School) ... Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo was on the Dolphins' coaching staff from 2012-17 ... Bengals defensive quality control coach Jordan Kovacs was a college free agent signee of the Dolphins in 2013, and was with the team for parts of three seasons ('13-15) ... Bengals senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner was on the Dolphins' coaching staff from 2014-15 ...Bengals offensive line coach Jim Turner was on the Dolphins' coaching staff from 2012-13 ... Bengals assistant offensive line coach Ben Martin was on the Dolphins' coaching staff from 2014-15 ... Dolphins defensive pass game coordinator/cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer is from Heath, Ohio, played at Muskingum College from 1996-99, and coached at the University of Dayton in 2001 ... Dolphins offensive line coach Steve Marshall coached at Louisville in 1984 ... Dolphins quality control coach Kolby Smith played running back at the University of Louisville from 2003-06, and then coached there from '14-18.

Wilson goes long: On Cincinnati's opening possession last week vs. the N.Y. Giants, S Brandon Wilson fielded the kickoff in the end zone and darted 103 yards for a TD. It counted officially as the longest play of any kind in Bengals history, topping a 102-yard kick return by RB Eric Bieniemy (Oct. 26, 1997 at NYG) and a pair of 102-yard INT returns, by CBs Artrell Hawkins (Nov. 3, 2002 at Houston) and Louis Breeden (Nov.8, 1981 at S.D.). It was also the longest play in the AFC this season, and the second-longest in the NFL (Chicago's Cordarrelle Patterson has a 104-yard kickoff return).

According to the NFL's Next Gen Stats service, which uses GPS to track players' speed, Wilson reached a top speed of 21.05 MPH during the return, Last season, Wilson reached 22.03 MPH on a kickoff return for a TD at Baltimore. That counted as the third-fastest in the league in 2019, and still stands as fastest by a Bengal since NGS' launch in '16

Wilson now has two career kickoff returns for TDs, tied with former S/CB Tremaine Mack for the most in team history.

Bengals on historic fourth-down pace: The Bengals' offense this season has successfully converted 15 of its 19 fourth-down attempts, good for an 78.9 percentage that ranks second in the NFL. The Buffalo Bills lead the NFL at 100 percent, but they have attempted just three fourth downs all season.

Cincinnati's current success on fourth downs ranks among the best in league history. With 15 successful conversions so far this year, the offense needs just five more over the final five games to tie the NFL record of 20, set in 1996 by the Chicago Bears.

That didn't take long: Bengals rookie WR Tee Higgins, the team's second round pick in April's draft, turned heads in just his second career start by notching his first multi-TD game. Higgins' two TDs grabs on Sept. 27 at Philadelphia made him the first NFL rookie this year with a multi-TD game, and the first Bengal rookie to reach pay dirt twice since HB Jeremy Hill in 2014. Higgins also now stands as one of only five Bengal rookies ever to catch at least two TDs in a game, and the first to do it as early as September. The others are WRs Mohamed Sanu (Nov. 25, 2012 vs. Oakland), Darnay Scott (Oct. 30, 1994 vs. Dallas), Cris Collinsworth (Nov. 29, 1981 at Cleveland), and Isaac Curtis (Dec. 9, 1973 vs. Cleveland, and Dec. 16, 1973 at Houston).

Through 11 games, Higgins has 48 catches for 673 yards and five TDs.

15 carries for Gio does the trick: Over his now seven seasons in Cincinnati, Giovani Bernard has carved out a spot among the top dual-threat running backs in team history. But when examining Bernard's workload specifically as a rusher throughout his career, a significant trend becomes apparent — the Bengals are 11-1-1 in games in which Bernard has at least 15 rushing attempts. Bernard has topped 15 carries once this season — a win in Game 8 vs. Tennessee.

In the 13 games in which Bernard has reached 15 carries, he has averaged 77.2 yards, scored eight rushing TDs and topped 100 yards three times.

Rookie class producing early: Despite the lack of an offseason program to ease the college-to-pro adjustment, the Bengals this year have leaned heavily upon their draft class. The seven players drafted by Cincinnati in April have combined to play in 68 games this season, with 26 starts, good for a pace of 98 games and 37 starts over a full 16 game slate. It should be noted though that the current pace will slow with rookie QB Joe Burrow out for the season with a knee injury.

The most combined games played by a Bengals draft class since 1994 (the year the draft went to seven rounds) is 99, achieved by the 11-player draft class of 2017. The most combined starts over the same period is 50, by the nine player draft class of 1998.

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