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Green, Jones, Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth, and most of them remember how hard it was in 2012, the last time they were under. 500 outside of the 2013 Opening Day loss.
“We were (3-5) and made the playoffs, so it’s a long road,” said Whitworth, who has been here for six post-season runs in the last seven years. “I think that’s the concern. You know these games are eventually going to count, so everyone you can steal is huge. We really need to steal one of these. It makes this week more important. Every time you lose it just sets up you need a streak.”
It was the only true way to help right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi in his matchup with Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and cheap jerseys and his NFL-leading four sacks. Miller got one, but it was in the last minute when the game was over and Dalton threw every down.
The Bengals ran a lot of extra tackles and tight ends out there to help, but when Ogbuehi was one-on-one at times he held up. For instance, when the Bengals had a third-and-nine on their last touchdown drive and Dalton had time to hit tight end C. J. Uzomah 22 yards down the seam, Ogbuehi pushed Miller past the pocket.
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The storyline going into the game was that the Bengals needed to get their running game going and they opened with 65 rushing yards on their opening drive and 143 rushing yards overall. That helped them take the lead in the fourth quarter against the defending Super Bowl champs, but critical mistakes on both sides of the ball cost them the game.
“We have to be able to find a way to grind it out,” said head coach Marvin Lewis. “We dropped a third down pass and those kinds of things are huge in the game. Just do things the way we know you can do them. We have a lot of good players that are doing good things a lot of the time. But today we didn’t do it well enough, long enough.”
“But this is about the Miami Dolphins, not about Vontaze. We’ve got to play better. This is a football team that is excited. They got a win yesterday. Offensively, Ryan Tannehill is a good athlete, a very accurate passer, strong passer, good athlete and can run. Right now, he’s leading them in carries. They have explosive guys. (Jarvis) Landry is playing very well. He’s tough with the ball in his hands. He’s a tough runner, good with the catch. (DeVante) Parker and (Kenny) Stills. They added good outside people. Jordan Cameron is an excellent athlete at tight end. We know his abilities from when he was playing against us in our division (with Cleveland).
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“You flip it over defensively – (Ndamukong) Suh, Mario Williams, (Cameron) Wake. They have very good guys up front. Good rushers. (Kiko) Alonso, the linebacker, is a really good athlete. The secondary is learning some new things. The safety, No. 20, is a very good player back there. So there are a lot of good players on this football team. We’ve got to play really good football. It’s good. It’s a short week. We’ve got to get better, and it’s a good week to get better for us.”
Looking around the rest of the league, Week 3 produced stud fantasy games from unlikely heroes such as Jameis Winston, Carlos Hyde, Terrelle Pryor, and Carson Wentz. And yet, even with all the good we saw, there was the bad with bombs like the Dolphins defense, DeAngelo Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, and C.J. Anderson. Sometimes, no matter how great the match-up is on paper, the fantasy God’s just aren’t smiling on your team for that particular weekend.
If there is a more awkward Quarterback situation than that of the Patriots, I’d love to hear about it. Tom Brady is suspended for one more week, Jimmy Garoppolo is highly questionable for Week 4 with a shoulder injury, Jacoby Brissett sprained his thumb, and is out for a few weeks at least. If Garoppolo can’t go, my guess is that Julian Edelman would move under center and the Patriots would run a wild-cat type of offense. And even if Garoppolo does go, he will clearly be less than 100 percent. I’d avoid the Patriots WRs and play LaGarrette Blount this weekend.
For Lewis, The Tour remains a vivid play-by-play, beginning with the trophy from Palmer’s first PGA victory, the 1955 Canadian Open. And Palmer mixed in enough that he let Lewis know he was aware of his NFL career, another endless example of Palmer’s easy, ever-present eye contact that helped take golf from the country clubs to the rest of the country.
“That’s very legitimate. He made it real for people because he was such a people person,” Lewis said. “His rivalry with (Jack) Nicklaus was incredible. He walked me through everything. The winnings. His collection of putters. His airplanes. We even talked about his drink. We went over to the club and had lunch with his brother and his cronies and really had a good time.”