Scott Garceau: Thanks, Dolphins (I Think)
So the Ravens do what they always do, Sunday they go into Cleveland and beat the Browns for the 12th straight time. A week later at M&T Bank they get a home win over the Bengals and how ’bout that, suddenly the Ravens and Bengals both have 4 losses with 7 games to play. Thanks to the Dolphins overtime win over the Bengals in a Thursday night thriller the AFC North no longer looks like a one horse race.
After falling behind 17-3 it looked like the Bengals were done, but Marvin Lewis’s team scored 17 unanswered points in the second half and took a 20-17 lead on Mike Nugent’s 54 yard field goal with 1:24 left in the 4th quarter. The Dolphins refused to roll over Ryan Tannehill moved Miami right down the field and shaky rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis booted a 44 yard field goal with 11 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
In overtime the offense was lacking with the teams combining for 3 punts and no points. The Bengals were backed up near their own goal line when the Dolphins defense ended the Halloween night. Trick or Treat Andy Dalton was dead meat. The Dolphins Cameron Wake blew threw the Bengals O-line and sacked Dalton for a safety. Good night, drive home safely Miami wins 22-20 in OT.
Since the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants played the first overtime game 55 years ago it’s only the 3rd time the NFL has seen a walk-off safety. The Bengals 4 game win streak and Dolphins 4 game losing streak both came to a sudden stop. It’s good news for the Ravens as they creep closer to Cincinnati or is it? Of course the goal is to chase down the Bengals and win the division but if you can’t get the North title there’s always the wild-card.
That where it gets a little sticky, right now it looks like the 2nd place team in the AFC West (KC or Denver) would be a strong candidate for the first wild-card or the 5th seed. The second wild card is a crap shoot, right now San Diego leads the pack at 4-3, the Dolphins and Jets are next at 4-4 and the Ravens, Titans, and Raiders are in the pack at
3-4. So be careful who you’re cheering for, that Bengals loss was great news for Ravens fans, but that Dolphins win may be the one that keeps the Ravens from making the playoffs.
It’s complicated this time of year trying to separate the good guys from the bad guys. One thing we’re sure of, a win in Cleveland Sunday is a must. December is the time for scoreboard watching, for now “Just Win Baby!!”