It’s the one thing that teams/fans fear the most, especially late in the year: a serious injury. And for the Dolphins Sunday night, they had to come to grips with likely losing QB Ryan Tannehill for the remainder of the season and any potential post-season due to an ACL injury.
The popular Tannehill was injured on a low hit to his left knee by Calais Campbell in the third quarter of the Fins dramatic 26-23 win over the Cardinals at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday.
You could tell from the aftermath; tears from the QB and the reaction of his teammates coming over to console him that Miami fears the worst. It will probably be confirmed later today.
Here’s Dolphins head coach Adam Gase after the game on all subjects including the loss of Tannehill:
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 11, 2016
Needless to say, as the offensive play caller, you can’t blame Gase for having that “what are we going to do now” look in his eye speaking with the media.
Well that began yesterday with Miami turning to veteran QB Matt Moore to close out the game Sunday. The nine year veteran did complete a long pass to Kenny Stills in the final minute to help setup Andrew Franks game winning field goal. And the win puts the Dolphins back into the AFC Wildcard mix.
But, let’s be honest, Moore has been a backup for his whole career and including Sunday, has played in only five games in the last seven seasons. It’s not likely that he will become the re-incarnation of Kurt Warner stepping in for the Rams in the magical 1999 season.
No, it’s more likely that Moore is simply a game manager. And despite having Stills and Jarvis Landry on the outside to stretch the defenses, Gase probably won’t take a lot of chances with Moore, and that’s okay.
But, it’s just okay.
If you are wondering about the backup to the backup, it’s rookie Brandon Doughty from Western Kentucky. Doughty (pronounced Dow-tee) was drafted in the seventh round by Miami and has most recently been running the scout team offense while on the practice squad. Expect him to get the call up to active roster status in the next day or two.
Doughty did break records at WKU, including throwing for over 4,000 yards in his senior season to lead the Hilltoppers to the Conference USA championship and a bowl game win over USF last December. But he has only a decent arm and capitalized on a lot of bad defenses in a lesser conference for his career. Bottom line, he’s a project and has been on the practice squad for those reasons.
We wrote leading into Sunday’s game that the Dolphins had to get back to their ground game commitment with RB Jay Ajayi. They did get him 21 carries Sunday and that’s a start, but he was also held under 100 yards for the fifth straight game. Again, their next two games will on the road be with the Jets and the Bills likely in very cold/bad weather and they will have to run it some to have a chance.
That and a tougher defense are probably the only formula to winning two or more of the final three games to try to get into the playoffs.