Dolphins remain perfect on road
CINCINNATI — The Dolphins knotted their ties, slipped on their suit coats, and headed for the bus, another impressive win in their travel bag.
“The plane ride home will be a nice one,’’ receiver Brandon Marshall said.
Always is for the NFL’s kings of the road.
Dan Carpenter kicked five field goals for the second game in a row — a rare feat — and the Dolphins overcame another goofy play yesterday, beating the Cincinnati Bengals, 22-14, to stay unbeaten on the road.
Everything goes their way when they’re away.
At home last week, Miami (4-3) lost after a disputed play. Ben Roethlisberger’s touchdown was ruled a fumble on review, but the Steelers kept the ball and kicked a field goal for a 23-22 win, offsetting Carpenter’s five field goals.
The defense made sure Carpenter’s next five were enough.
The Bengals (2-5) failed to get a first down in the third quarter and were shut out in the second half. Their final chance ended with Carson Palmer’s interception with 2:43 to go, sending the defending AFC North champions to their fourth straight loss.
It’s Cincinnati’s worst start since 2008, when Palmer was sidelined with an elbow injury.
“It’s embarrassing. It’s depressing. It’s every negative word you can think of that we didn’t do our job,’’ said Palmer, who was 17 of 38 for 156 yards.
By contrast, Carpenter was perfect again.
The third-year kicker went to the Pro Bowl in 2009, and has been the Dolphins’ top scorer lately. He connected from 38, 42, 24, a career-best 54, and 31 yards yesterday.
The five field goals were the second-most by a Dolphins kicker — Olindo Mare made six against New England in 1999. The 54-yarder tied for third-longest in team history — Pete Stoyanovich converted from 59 and 58 yards.
He didn’t hear much from his teammates as the kicks added up.
“I get a ‘good job’ every once in a while,’’ said Carpenter. “They expect me to make field goals. Frankly, I expect myself to make all of my field goal tries, too. It’s nothing special.’’
Carpenter is the ninth kicker since 1950 to make 10 field goals in back-to-back games, according to STATS LLC. No kicker has more.
His dependable leg has guided Miami through an unusual start — 4-0 on the road, 0-3 at home, the fifth time that’s happened in league history, according to STATS. The five kicks also got Miami past another strange play that could have turned the game.
The Bengals scored on their opening drive for the first time all season, finishing with Palmer’s 7-yard pass to Terrell Owens. That’s all they earned on their own.
Late in the second quarter, Palmer underthrew a long pass to Owens. The ball went right into the arms of safety Chris Clemons and kept going — through his arms, off his chest, off his thigh, and off his hand as he fell. The ball ended up in Owens’s arms, and he jogged the last few steps into the end zone to complete a 37-yard scoring play, smiling and nodding over the good fortune and a 14-6 lead.
He didn’t know the Bengals’ offense was finished.
Chad Henne led Miami on a clinching, 96-yard drive in the fourth quarter, ending with Ricky Williams’s 1-yard run.