While there were bright spots for the Dolphins on Sunday afternoon at Pro Player Stadium, the overall sense had to be somewhat of relief as the 1-15 season, worst in franchise history came to and end. For the Bengals, they as well end a down season, a year that saw them thinking they would challenge in the AFC North, the Bengals instead will take the 38-25 win over Miami and end a bad season at 7-9.
The game played in front of plenty of empty seats, was highlighted by a solid day for the Bengals offense, as QB Carson Palmer threw for 316 yards to go along with 3 touchdowns. Kenny Watson paced the running game, as he rushed for 69 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown to put the game away as it made it 35-17 with 10:03 left.
Miami did have a lead at one point, as after they trailed 7-3 early in the second quarter, the team put a good drive together that concluded with Ted Ginn catching a five-yard scoring pass from Cleo Lemon that made it 10-7. The drive went 11 plays and 72 yards in 5:46. Where was that all season for the dreadful Fins?
Cincy came right back though, as the lead was short lived as Palmer hooked up with Chad Johnson for a 70-yard score just two plays after the kickoff to regain the lead for Cincy at 14-10. The 82-yard drive took just :36 seconds, and was the last time on the day that the Bengals would have to take the lead back. They scored again with just :04 left in the half, as they put together a 63-yard drive in 58 seconds that ended with Palmer hitting Antonio Chatman with a four-yard score to make it 21-10 at halftime.
Lemon was hurt and the team called on John Beck to lead the Dolphins, and early in the third quarter on his first play, he fumbled the ball and it was picked up by Nedu Ndukwe who took it back 54 yards to make it 28-10. Beck did actually lead the team on a scoring drive, as he and the team went 86 yards in 13 plays as he took it over from two yards out to make it 28-17 with 12:21 left in the game. Beck and the team ended the season with one last score, as he hit Derek Hagan with a 22-yard score with :28 seconds left.
Rumors have it that Randy Mueller and Cam Cameron will both be fired this week, as the Fins will look to put the 2007 season behind them as soon as possible. For the Bengals, they will also be faced with plenty of offseason decisions for a team that was expected to be much better than they were.