Sun Dec 22 5:24pm ET
By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looks to pass, during the first half at an NFL football gam against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores gestures, during the first half at an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) looks to pass, during the second half at an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) goes after the football after the fumbles and recovered it for a touchdown, during the first half at an NFL football game ab=, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) A laugher became a thriller for the Miami Dolphins, and they needed overtime to beat the Cincinnati Bengals.
Miami gave up 16 points in the final 29 seconds of regulation but regrouped, and Jason Sanders kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired for a 38-35 win Sunday.
Andy Dalton threw for 396 yards and four touchdown passes, including three in the final 5:01 of regulation as Cincinnati rallied from a 35-12 deficit.
After the gallant comeback, the Bengals (1-14) settled for clinching next year's No. 1 draft pick. They're assured of at least tying for the worst record in club history; they went 2-14 in 2002.
The Dolphins (4-11) again hurt their chances of landing a franchise quarterback in next year's draft, but rookie coach Brian Flores has repeatedly said he's all-out to win now. Rebuilding Miami has four victories in the past eight games with a ragtag roster.
Miami's Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 419 yards and four scores, including one to rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. Each team punted twice to start the extra period before Fitzpatrick led a 10-play, 51-yard march for the winning score.
The stadium was mostly empty when the Bengals cut the deficit to 35-27 with 29 seconds left on Dalton's TD pass and 2-point conversion throw.
They then recovered an onside kick and reached the 25 with four seconds left. Miami dropped eight defenders back to the goal line, but Tyler Eifert reached above two of them in the end zone to catch Dalton's throw.
On the 2-point conversion, Dalton couldn't find an open receiver and scrambled to tie the score, sparking the sort of celebration that has been a rarity for Cincinnati this season.
Wilkins scored his first NFL touchdown even though he earned no style points. He lined up at fullback, made his first career reception at the 1, fumbled and recovered in the end zone.
Wilkins joined William ''The Refrigerator'' Perry as the only rookie defensive linemen with a touchdown reception in the Super Bowl era.
Fitzpatrick also threw touchdown passes of 31 and 13 yards to Mike Gesicki, and 7 yards to DeVante Parker. It was Fitzpatrick's 11th four-TD game - more than John Elway, Tony Romo or Matt Ryan, among others.
Parker had five catches for 111 yards. He made a 51-yard basket catch on a flea flicker to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his five-year career.
Randy Bullock kicked a 57-yard field goal, a Bengals regular season record. ... The Dolphins' wild home finale drew a crowd of perhaps only 35,000.
Bengals: CB William Jackson departed with a right shoulder injury. CB Tony McRae was sidelined by a concussion and cervical strain. WR Stanley Morgan was shaken up and went to the locker room in the closing seconds.
Dolphins: CB Jomal Wiltz left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury. WR Allen Hurns left with a shoulder injury. LB Vince Biegel departed in the fourth quarter with an elbow injury. RB Myles Gaskin hurt his left ankle in the closing minutes.
The Dolphins' 1972 perfect season team was honored at halftime. Players toasted their achievement with champagne, and coach Don Shula grinned as the crowd sang happy birthday to him. He turns 90 on Jan. 4.
DOLPHINS: They close the season at New England, where they last won in 2008. The Patriots won 43-0 when the teams met in Week 2.
BENGALS: They finish at home Sunday against Cleveland, which won 27-19 when the teams met two weeks ago. The Browns have won three in a row in the series.
The Houston Texans are in active contract talks with Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly. Houston has offered Tunsil $18.5 million per season, but Tunsil's counter-offer is "significantly higher." After the Texans traded two first-round picks and a second-rounder for Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills last year, Tunsil is fully expected to become the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. He's under contract for $10.35 million in 2020 and is seeking a deal that averages more than $20 million per season. The good news is the Texans have around $35 million in salary cap space, which is the second-most in the league behind the Browns. Having Tunsil around long-term will be great news for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The Cincinnati Bengals released cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on Tuesday. The Bengals went all out to improve their defense in free agency, so Kirkpatrick is being shown the door. The 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Kirkpatrick should still see significant interest late in free agency now that he's available. The 30-year-old hasn't played in a full season since 2015 and started just six games in 2019 due to injuries. He recorded one sack, 33 tackles (27 solo), four passes defensed and one fumble recovery. In the right situation, Kirkpatrick could be an effective veteran presence for another team's secondary.
The Cleveland Browns are likely to have free-agent defensive end Everson Griffen on their radar given his connection with the Browns coaches from their time together in Minnesota. Griffen is 32 years old but had 13, 5.5 and eight sacks in the last three seasons with the Vikings and can still be effective on the wrong side of 30. If the Browns sign him for one or two years, they could cut defensive end Olivier Vernon and save $5 million against the salary cap. Griffen would be a nice complement to Myles Garrett on the defensive line as the Browns look to boost their pass rush heading into the 2020 season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have heard from multiple interested teams about a potential trade for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who is turning 25 years old on Tuesday. The Jaguars place a lot of value in the pass-rusher and won't just give him away for a little return. But the former third-round pick in 2016 was unhappy with receiving the franchise tag and isn't interested in a long-term extension with the team. He'll be a prime IDP target no matter where he's playing in 2020 after recording 37.5 sacks in his four seasons in the NFL. Last year he had eight sacks, 41 tackles (36 solo), 13 tackles for loss, 15 QB hits, an interception returned for a touchdown, six passes defensed, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 15 games.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is training this offseason with free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, thinks he can make a lot of noise with the Bolts if he's given the chance to be the team's starter under center. Things could change, but as of now, Taylor is at the top of LA's QB depth chart. The 30-year-old former sixth-round pick of the Ravens in 2011 has one year left on his deal and will make a base salary of $5 million in 2020. The Chargers are moving forward with Taylor, but they haven't given him any assurances of a starting job, and they could very likely take a QB with the sixth overall pick in the draft. Taylor has a strong arm and is mobile, so he could do some damage with the weapons the Chargers have around him, but he'll primarily be a QB2 for fantasy owners with upside for more if he's handed the starting gig.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said that the team doesn't think quarterback Tom Brady's skills have diminished or that he'll have any trouble playing in head coach Bruce Arians' vertical passing scheme. "Well, the tape to us showed that he had plenty of arm," Licht said. "We felt that he had the ideal arm for Bruce and his system. He can still throw it deep." The GM also said that they think Brady could play for them for over two years. No. 12 had one of the worst statistical seasons of his career in 2019, but in all fairness to him, he didn't have much to work with in the passing game outside of Julian Edelman. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as his new top receivers, Brady has a real chance to bounce back, even at his age. However, don't just assume he'll return to his glory days either. He'll be a great fantasy backup with the chance for some nice QB1 games along the way.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to draft a running back this year with James Conner headed into his contract season. The Athletic's Ed Bouchette doesn't think that the Steelers will give Conner a new deal before the start of the 2020 season, so he'll have to prove his worth and stay healthy to remain with the organization beyond the upcoming season. The 24-year-old has RB1 potential when he's on the field, but he just hasn't been able to stay healthy consistently since he took over the lead-back role from Le'Veon Bell. Conner played in just 10 games in 2019, rushing 116 times for 464 yards (career-low 4.0 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He could bounce back with better health and a full season with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under center, but fantasy owners will take more caution when drafting Conner as more of an RB2 this year.
Cincinnati Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick was released Tuesday, March 31.
Jacksonville Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue has had several teams inquire about landing him, but the team values him and won't give him away.
Fantasy Spin: Ngakoue had a "down" season with 41 total tackles and eight sacks. However, his six passes defended, one pick, four forced fumbles and one recovery kept him as a midrange DL1. He should be drafted as such in 2020 regardless of where he plays.
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was blitzed 221 times - second-most in the league - and hurried an NFL-high 71 times in 2019.
Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills WR Isaiah McKenzie officially signed an undisclosed contract with the team Monday, March 30.
Updating previous reports, New York Giants WR Corey Coleman, DT Austin Johnson and TE Eric Tomlinson's contracts were finalized by the NFL Monday, March 30.
Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks WR Phillip Dorsett's contract was officially processed by the league Monday, March 30.
Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Ryan Smith's contract was officially processed by the league Monday, March 30.
Updating a previous report, Las Vegas Raiders DT Maliek Collins' contract was officially processed by the league Monday, March 30.
Updating previous reports, Jacksonville Jaguars TE Tyler Eifert and DE Lerentee McCray's contracts were officially processed by the league Monday, March 30.
Updating a previous report, free-agent WR Geremy Davis (Chargers) officially signed with the Detroit Lions Monday, March 30. Official terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Updating previous reports, free-agent QB AJ McCarron (Texans) and S Jaylen Watkins (Chargers) officially signed with the Houston Texans Monday, March 30. Official terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Updating previous reports, free-agent CB Maurice Canady, CB C.J. Goodwin and PK Greg Zuerlein officially signed with the Dallas Cowboys Monday, March 30. Official terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Updating previous reports, free-agent LB Jeremiah Attaochu (Broncos) and P Sam Martin (Lions) officially signed with the Denver Broncos Monday, March 30. Official terms of the contracts were not disclosed.