This is the Lynn Bowden the Miami Dolphins thought they traded for

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post
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Dolphins rookie Lynn Bowden (15) is pushed out of bounds after a big gain Sunday by Cincinnati Bengals free safety Jessie Bates (30) and teammate William Jackson.

When the Dolphins traded for rookie Lynn Bowden just before the start of the season, this is what they envisioned.

They forecasted a player who could line up at receiver, running back or quarterback, create yards after catch and gain first downs.

In Miami's 12th game, that Bowden showed up.

"Just getting the ball, it felt good" Bowden said. "That’s what they brought me here for."

Bowden caught all four of his targets, for a season-high 41 yards, in Miami's defeat of the Bengals last Sunday.

Bowden touched the ball five times, including a running back carry, and gained four first downs.

"I thought he played well last week," Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. "I think he’s really improving and getting better. His progress over the past three or four weeks has been good."

Only 79 players were selected ahead of Bowden in April's NFL Draft. He was a Las Vegas Raiders third-rounder, but their plan to use him primarily as a running back fizzled.

Miami dealt a fourth-rounder to the Raiders for Bowden and a sixth-rounder, identifying upside, speed and potential game-breaking ability.

But Bowden played quarterback at Kentucky last season. And he arrived without the benefit of a Dolphins training camp. This was going to take some time.

"That’s what you have to do in this league is you have to take advantage of your opportunities, and he did that last week," Miami offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. "I think we will continue to try to use him and let him get some touches, along with some of these other guys."

Dolphins running back Lynn Bowden (15) runs a play out of the shotgun near the goal line against Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 4.

Bowden dressed for Miami in Weeks 2-6, but did not in Weeks 7-11. He expressed some disappointment and/or unhappiness with the situation on social media, which probably didn't help matters.

Bowden was behind rookie Malcolm Perry, who the coaching staff feels is reliable, at slot receiver. Perry was also a quarterback last season, at Navy.

More:Noah's Arc: Dolphins rookie Noah Igbinoghene flashes improvements

On Sunday, Miami used Bowden in motion prior to three of his catches, and all resulted in a first down. Using motion helps rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa identify what coverage the defense plans to use.

Bowden also showed toughness and fearlessness.

On a short slant into the middle, Bowden showed moxie in securing an 8-yard pass for a first down, though he was about to be crunched by two Bengals defensive backs.

Later in the game, on a 9-yard catch, Bowden ran into open space and then fought forward through four Bengals defenders for an extra three yards.

"It’s just a reps thing for him," Miami receivers coach Josh Grizzard said. "Just seeing that and trying to use his abilities in ways of getting him the ball and letting him do something with it.”

More:Tua sheds thumb support, demonstrates lifted spirits with playful banter

Lining up at running back, Bowden took a handoff from Tagovailoa, began running straight but then took off toward the left sideline, showed some burst and gained 11 yards for a first down.

His versatility is key. His elusiveness is a weapon.

Bowden also does not lack confidence. He expects to play and play well. So when he wasn't playing this year, he concedes now he needed to view it as "a lesson for life."

Miami can really use a player like Bowden to flourish in the last quarter of the season. The Dolphins can use a player who can do some of the things lightning-quick Albert Wilson, who is opting out of this season, has done in the past.

Bowden believes he has the instincts and physical abilities to make some magic with the ball in his hands.

"Sometimes it comes natural," Bowden said, adding later, "Sometimes I look at the film and ask myself how I did it."

That's exactly the type of player Miami needs — a player who makes you want to go back and look at the replay over and over again. Of course, consistency and reliability are two key factors Bowden must focus on, as well.

"Hopefully he continues to be productive and help us," Flores said. "I don’t think he’s being held back. I don’t really see that. If anything, he’s going the other way."

More:Eric Rowe watches tight end film like you watch Netflix. Here comes Kelce.

Sunday's game

Chiefs at Dolphins

1 p.m., CBS

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