The Miami Dolphins came into Cincinnati on Sunday already down two starters on the offensive line.
A third’s status is now up in the air.
Laremy Tunsil, Miami’s starting left tackle and first-round pick in 2016, left the Dolphins’ 27-17 loss to the Bengals early in the second half and was put in the concussion protocol. He did not return to the game, and no timetable has been given for his return.
That’s a tough pill to swallow for an offensive line already without starting left guard Josh Sitton and starting center Daniel Kilgore.
“Next man up mentality, you know?” guard Jesse Davis said. “It’s nothing new to us.”
Tunsil’s departure, however, did disrupt an otherwise solid performance from the offensive line early on Sunday.
Look no further than the Dolphins’ first touchdown drive. Miami was able to orchestrate an 11-play drive that went 95 yards.
The Dolphins had 197 yards of offense in the first half. The second? Just 100, with 25 coming on the final play of the game when Drake took a handoff and most of the Bengals defense standing in the endzone anticipating a long pass.
Tannehill was sacked or hit 11 times in the loss. All in the second half.
“Anytime starters go down, it’s hard,” Tannehill said.
Coach Adam Gase added: “Our left tackle wasn’t in. That can kind of do some damage. And when you get behind, that causes problems.”
Problems like pressure to your quarterback, pressures that resulted in a pair of turnovers that were returned for touchdowns.
“They gave us a different front for sure,” right tackle Ja’Wuan James said. “They started doing more one-on-ones... but we just have to block and do our job.”
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis added: “We had blood in the water, and we went after it.”
If Tunsil is out for an extended period of time and Gase chooses to work with players he currently has, Miami can expect a line composed in some way of Sam Young, Ted Larson, Travis Swanson, Davis and James.