Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake celebrates after sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) in the end zone for a safety in overtime on Thursday night in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo)
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — With the Miami Dolphins needing any kind of score to end a four-game losing streak, two points were plenty.
Cameron Wake sacked Andy Dalton for a safety with 6:38 left in overtime, and Miami beat the Cincinnati Bengals 22-20 on Thursday night.
On third-and-10 from the 8, Dalton retreated to the goal line and was tackled by Wake coming up the middle for the third overtime safety in NFL history. The officials immediately signaled the score, which was upheld following a replay review.
"We called a pressure, and the guys executed it well," coach Joe Philbin said. "Cam had good pressure throughout the game and he made a play to end the game"
Wake had three sacks, and Cincinnati committed four turnovers that might have meant a difference of 17 points.
The Dolphins (4-4) won for the first time since their 3-0 start and snapped a four-game winning streak by the Bengals (6-3), who still enjoy a two-game lead in the AFC North.
"You never want to lose four games in a row," Philbin said, "and we had an excellent football team coming in town. It was time for us to step up and we had to make a decision — what are we going to be? And I thought they answered the bell pretty well tonight."
The teams traded punts to start overtime. After Cincinnati's Terence Newman was called for a 38-yard pass interference penalty, the Bengals dug in and forced another punt that pinned them deep, setting up the safety by Wake.
"My eyes were downfield, and he was there pretty quick," Dalton said, adding he thought he was out of the end zone.
According to STATS, Minnesota's Mike Merriweather had the first NFL overtime safety in 1989 against the Los Angeles Rams, and Chicago's Adewale Ogunleye had the second against Tennessee in 2004.
The Bengals could have tried a 56-yard field goal in overtime but punted to the Dolphins instead.
"We had a chance, maybe," Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said, "but we felt better about pinning them down."
Lewis made another questionable decision at the end of the first half. When the Bengals started from their own 15 with no timeouts and 45 seconds left, he decided against running out the clock.
His aggressive approach backfired when Dalton's pass was intercepted by Dimitri Patterson, setting up a 36-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis to put Miami up 10-3 at halftime.
Mike Nugent kicked a 54-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining in regulation to put the Bengals ahead, but Miami answered with a 50-yard drive, and Sturgis made a 44-yard field goal with 11 seconds left to force overtime.
Brent Grimes returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown to put the Dolphins up 17-3 midway through the third quarter, but they squandered a two-touchdown second-half lead for the second time in five days. On Sunday in a loss at New England, they were outscored 24-0 in the final 24 minutes.
Cincinnati's Giovani Bernard scored on an electrifying tying 35-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that covered perhaps twice that much ground. He started right, doubled back left, weaved up the sideline, cut back across the middle and somersaulted in the end zone, leaving Dolphins sprawled in his wake all along the way.
The run took 16 seconds. At least four defenders had a shot at him, including Grimes, who missed twice — once in the backfield as the play unfolded.
Cincinnati's Marvin Jones was kept out of the end zone four days after he caught four touchdown passes. Dalton's 50-yard touchdown pass to Jones was negated by a holding call against Jermaine Gresham as the Bengals sputtered four days after scoring 49 points to beat the Jets.
The Bengals drove 64 yards for a field goal in the second quarter to take a 3-0 lead, and mounted an 80-yard drive for a touchdown in the third quarter. But Grimes' interception represented a potential 14-point swing, because the Bengals were at the Miami 10.
On third-and-4, Grimes snatched Dalton's pass away from Jones, sprinted up the sideline and somersaulted after crossing the goal line. It was the first touchdown for the eighth-year pro, and the Dolphins' longest interception return since 2002.
The Dolphins drove 93 yards in the second quarter for the game's first touchdown. Ryan Tannehill hit Mike Wallace for 40 yards to set up the score, which came on a 1-yard sneak.
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