Wilfork says offense got 'left out to dry'

894687.jpg

Wilfork says offense got 'left out to dry'

BALTIMORE, MD -- There's already much ado about the officiating in New England's Sunday night loss. But a poor job done by replacement refs -- on both sides of the ball -- is not the reason the Patriots lost 31-30 in Baltimore.
"We really couldn't get off the field," Vince Wilfork said after the game. "Offense played their tails off and we just left them out to dry. We can't do that."
No kidding.
The Patriots entered their Week 3 matchup with the No. 2 ranked defense in the league. Really. Where the Ravens and New England met on offense -- 522 net passing yards to 525; 74 passes attempted to 77; five sacks, one interception, and three touchdowns each -- it was on defense they split.
With the advantage to New England.
The Patriots had surrendered 529 yards through two games compared to 808 by Baltimore's defense. All the more reason why Sunday's numbers are startling: The Ravens had 503 total net yards of offense.
Yes, there were a couple of questionable defensive holding calls in the fourth quarter. But both were on second downs and cost just 5-yards apiece. Throw in any other bad flag you want and it still won't negate the fact that just five of Baltimore's 28 first downs were won by penalty.
"Can't too much dwell on flags and stuff; we have to play better, plain and simple," said Wilfork. "We have to play better. We have to help our offense and we didn't do that. Going forward I think we have to play together as a team. But the offense played their tails off. They've gotten better so we have to have to come out next week and help them get a win."
New England's offensive effort was valiant: 396 total yards and 33 first downs of its own; three touchdowns on two rushing, one passing; 83-percent red zone efficiency (5-for-6); 28-for-41 passing and a 101.2 quarterback rating from Tom Brady.
All for naught. The defense regressed; the Patriots lost.
"We have to take it and move on. We've got to get better from this. We will get better," Wilfork promised. "It's tough because we thought I mean, we had a pretty good idea how we wanted to play and it didn't work out for us."
The team will look to bounce back next weekend in Buffalo.
Question is, which defense will show up? The run-stuffing, turnover-causing, youth-infused 'D' from Weeks 1 and 2? Or last year's yardage-hemorrhaging squad with just a minor facelift?
It's trial by fire, now.

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

a-j-green.jpg

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

CINCINNATI -- For most of the game, A.J. Green piled up more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense in a virtuoso performance. As an encore, he thrilled the crowd by juggling some Florida citrus.

The Bengals receiver followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defense that was inspired by Vontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Dolphins for a 22-7 victory Thursday night.

The Bengals (2-2) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-around game against a depleted team.

Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route . He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos.

"I hold myself to a very high standard," said Green, who had 10 catches. "I know what I'm capable of. Last week I didn't perform to that level. I had to refocus on a short week."

During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.

Afterward, Green and Andy Dalton appeared on the postgame show, and the receiver entertained the dozens of Bengals fans who stayed around by smoothly juggling three oranges at the interview desk.

"Any time he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play," Dalton said.

The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron. They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense.

"We've got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday," Tannehill said. "We're kind of in a dark spot right now. It's squarely on our shoulders."

The Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from Burfict's return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.

"He's amazing," end Carlos Dunlap said. "Did you see the plays he made? Those aren't plays you can coach. He came off his couch and played great. It's good to have him back."

Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.

REMEMBERING FERNANDEZ

A large fan banner in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium honored Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died with two friends in a boat crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. The banner read: "Jose 16 Heaven's Bright."

STILL CAN'T RUN

The Bengals rushed for 77 yards and only a 2.1-yard average against the second-worst run defense in the league, one missing two starting linebackers.

SLOPPY DOLPHINS

Miami had seven penalties for 68 yards. The most egregious was by Terrence Fede, who pushed Kevin Huber to the ground after he punted in the third quarter. The penalty gave Cincinnati the ball, and the Bengals got a field goal out of it.

INJURIES

Dolphins: LT Branden Albert and C Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles. Also missing were LBs Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin). C Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.

Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert was inactive again, contributing to the Bengals' trouble close to the goal line. He's recovering from offseason ankle surgery and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. G Clint Boling sat out most of the fourth quarter with an injured left shoulder.

ANTHEM STATEMENTS

Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.

FANTASY IMPACT

Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks. Dalton was 22 of 31 for 296 yards with a touchdown and a sack.

UP NEXT

The Dolphins begin a stretch of four straight home games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

The Bengals have a tough two-game stretch, playing Dallas and New England on the road. They're 1-5 in Dallas, dropping their last three. They've dropped their last six at New England, last winning in 1986.