Third-and-1. Third-and-2. Might as well be third-and-50. The Bengals are at their worst on the most important down, and it's starting to catch up with them.
They were only 2 of 14 on third downs Sunday during a 17-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Given two chances to pull the game out in the closing minutes, the Bengals (3-2) couldn't keep moving the ball. They had to settle for a field goal attempt that Mike Nugent missed, then a game-ending interception by Andy Dalton.
In the last two games, the Bengals are only 4 of 25 on third down. They've come to rely on big plays for points. Forced to grind it out against the Dolphins, they couldn't do it. It's a focus preparing for their game Sunday in Cleveland.