Tuesday, November 2, 2010
AFC East Week 8 decisive moment
By Tim Graham
In Halloween black and orange, the Cincinnati Bengals were like zombies in awkward, relentless pursuit of the Miami Dolphins.
The Bengals stumble-stalked. The Dolphins seemed vulnerable regardless of their wherewithal to get away.
Had the Dolphins managed to turn one of their five field goals into a touchdown, they would have been comfortably ahead. Had Dolphins safety Chris Clemons not bobbled a surefire interception right to Terrell Owens for a freak touchdown at the end of the first half, the game would have been over.
Instead, the Bengals were in a one-score game and driving with about three minutes left.
On the 15th play of a series in which the Bengals converted three third downs and a fourth down, Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith knocked the zombies' heads off.
Smith, who lost his starting job at right cornerback to Jason Allen just before the regular season began, recorded his first NFL interception.
Carson Palmer threw a fluttering ball to Owens, but it went right to Smith at Miami's 7-yard line. Smith returned it 18 yards to give the Dolphins possession with 2:43 to play.
The Bengals had one timeout to burn. After two Ricky Williams runs, the Dolphins were in victory formation to kill the clock.
More than a decisive moment for the game, the play could prove decisive for Smith, a young player who has lost his swagger since the Dolphins drafted him in the second round last year and started him all 16 games.