Thomas had just been penalized for hitting Grant on the previous punt, but emotions were high throughout.
After Allen threw an incomplete pass to Boyd on third down with about a minute left in the second quarter, the Bengals’ wide receiver ended up in a scuffle on the sideline with cornerbacks Byron Jones and Xavien Howard. Boyd was flagged for unnecessary roughness, penalized 15 yards and then ejected upon review, while Howard also was ejected but not penalized.
That penalty meant a 53-yard field goal attempt for Randy Bullock, which he missed wide left, and then the Dolphins moved 27 yards on four plays to set Jason Sanders up for a 48-yard field goal at the gun, cutting the Bengals’ lead to 7-6.
Taylor did not want to comment when asked if it seemed the officials lost control of the game. He also said the officials didn’t explain why Howard’s ejection didn’t make it offsetting penalties.
“It was a very confusing sequence,” Taylor said. “Two guys got ejected and one flag was thrown. That’s all there was to it.”
Miami returned from the locker room with a touchdown drive to open the second half, the defense forced a three-and-out, and then the Dolphins added field goals on each of the next two drives while the Bengals’ offense struggled to move the ball.
Earlier in the game, Cincinnati seemed to be on the upswing after Allen connected with Boyd for a 72-yard touchdown with 3:23 left in the first quarter to get on the board first. Miami ended up settling for a field goal on the following drive, after a William Jackson interception was negated by a pass interference call.
Cincinnati nearly got a defensive score when Vonn Bell sacked Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on a third-down blitz and forced a fumble, which Jordan Evans recovered for a touchdown. However, the play was overturned on a review, as Tagovailoa’s arm was moving forward for an incomplete pass.
The Dolphins still had to punt, and that set the Bengals up for what looked to be a scoring drive after Allen got them to the Miami 20-yard line before Boyd’s ejection penalty. Boyd finished with just the one touchdown catch on four targets.
“When he went down it was tough for us, but I think we were really trying to bounce back and do some things offensively, move some guys around and did the best we could to get our playmakers the ball,” Allen said.
Cincinnati had minus-4 yards of offense in the third quarter, while Tagovailoa completed 13 of 16 passes for 167 yards that period, leading to Sanders’ fourth field goal on the third play of the fourth quarter after Jackson broke up a pass to the end zone.
Tagovailoa, who was questionable to play because of a thumb injury, finished with a career-high 296 yards and one touchdown. Miami converted only one of 10 third-down plays but didn’t get to third down much in the second half.
Allen, who made his second start in place of injured Joe Burrow, threw for 153 yards and one touchdown, completing 11 of 19 passes with one interception. He said after the game he just got the wind knocked out of him and was fine. Finley was 6-of-7 passing for 40 yards and one interception.
The Bengals had 196 yards of offense in the first half, and Allen was sacked just one time while getting the ball out quick on screens. The Bengals had three straight three-and-outs to start the second half.