CINCINNATI — Bengals receiver A.J. Green followed his disappointing game with a dominating one — 173 yards and a touchdown — and the Cincinnati defense that was inspired by Vontaze Burfict’s return clamped down on the Miami 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.
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.
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.
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.
Mostly, it was Green’s show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Andy 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. He finished with 10 catches.
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.
Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.
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.