Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dolphins' defense closes in fourth quarter for win


After giving up leads in consecutive games, the Miami Dolphins' defense needed to improve its late-game performance. And improve it did, with multiple fourth quarter stops clinching Miami's 17-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Dolphins were anchored by a number of fantastic individual efforts, perhaps none more important than those of secondary players Sean Smith and Reshad Jones.

One week after lining up across from Larry Fitzgerald, Smith drew the assignment of covering the NFL's second leading receiver A.J. Green. Green recorded nine catches for 65 yards and a touchdown with most of his completions being for short gains.

Green was targeted 13 times, and rarely had enough space to operate when downfield to do the damage that he has to many teams this season.

Smith's strong coverage of Andy Dalton's primary target, along with solid coverage from Miami's other defensive backs and linebackers, allowed the Dolphins to generate pressure and sack Dalton three times.

Jones was strong in run support, making a couple impressive plays in Cincinnati's backfield. His contributions helped Miami hold another opponent under 100 yards rushing. He also caught a game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter.

Defensive linemen Randy Starks and Cameron Wake continued their stellar seasons, with Starks recording two pass deflections, half a sack and an interception. Wake recorded a sack of his own along with two QB hits.

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