On booing Vinatieri

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On booing Vinatieri

If not for Gronks injury, yesterday would have gone down as the most inspiring win of the Patriots season. And even with the unfortunate break, Sunday still qualifies as their most complete effort since Week 1 in Tennessee.

The offense was clicking, the defense made plays and the special teams (especially the PAT blocking) were on point. If not for Gronks injury, Im not sure wed have anything to complain about. Instead, Im guessing more than a few people might have pulled out the old: You know, the Pats are one Gostkowski chip shot, one extended upright and one Russell Wilson bomb away from 10-0!

But even if Gronk had escaped with his arm in one piece, I'd say there was one other sour development during Sunday's win:

The booing of Adam Vinatieri.

I dont want to make a big deal out of it, because we all know its just a game. Literally and figuratively. We know, despite the boos, that there will come a time when Vinateris standing at the 50-yard line, accepting his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame, and at that point no one will care about the Colts. There won't be any boos. Hell joke and well laugh, before forgiving, forgetting and collectively recognizing his place on the dynasty's Mount Rushmore.

When it comes down to it, I don't think that the fans who booed Vinatieri yesterday are disrespectful or ungrateful or have somehow forgotten everything that he did for this franchise like I said, it's just a game I guess I'm just shocked by how many people are still care enough to boo.

Sure, he pissed off a lot of people. What Vinatieri did was no better or worse than what Ray Allen pulled last summer. But seven years later, with the Pats-Colts rivalry a thing of the past and Vinatieri barely relevant on the NFL radar?

Still booing? I'm not even mad. That's amazing.

But seriously, when was the last time anyone was affected by Adam Vinatieri playing for the Colts? How many people even knew that he was still playing for the Colts? And while I'm really not trying to preach at the boo birds, I wonder how many of them realized that, given his impending free agency, recent struggles and upcoming 40th birthday, this may have been Vinatieri's last career game at Gillette, and New England's last chance to see one of the two most important players in franchise history?

Eh, it probably wouldn't have mattered. Boo birds gonna boo. It's their God-given right.

And when it comes to Vinatieri, I'm just a little surprised by how many fans still feel like exercising it.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

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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.