Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill bruised, beaten in loss to Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is tackled by Indianapolis Colts’ Jerrell Freeman in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 27, 2015.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is tackled by Indianapolis Colts’ Jerrell Freeman in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 27, 2015. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Nobody needs the season to end more than Ryan Tannehill.

He was so beat up Sunday that he could barely put on his own shoes in the postgame locker room.

Yes, there are a long list of reasons why the Miami Dolphins lost to the Indianapolis Colts 18-12 on Sunday.

Miami Herald sportswriter Adam H. Beasley reacts to the Miami Dolphins' 18-12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015.

Jamil Douglas didn’t know the snap count on Miami’s final play of the game — an important detail for the team’s center.

The Dolphins scored just one touchdown in five red-zone trips.

They committed nine penalties for 50 yards, including two offsides by Ndamukong Suh.

And they allowed 32-year-old Frank Gore to break off touchdown runs of 37 and 11 yards.

But none impacted the game more than this: The Colts sacked Tannehill six times and hit him once more. That doesn’t even count the leg whip by Indianapolis defensive end Erik Walton, which left Tannehill hobbled.

Dolphins teammates marveled about Tannehill's toughness after the game. One said that he could barely catch his breath in the huddle after some of the hits.

“Well, I don’t like it,” said Tannehill, who left Sun Life Stadium with his entire left leg wrapped. “I don’t like getting hit. That’s where we’re at right now. We’ll have to find a way to protect and get the ball out.”

Tannehill’s body wasn’t in the best condition even before Sunday’s carnage. It’s no surprise — he’s been sacked more times (183) than any NFL quarterback since 2012.

Then there’s this: Late last week, there was blood in Tannehill’s urine, multiple sources tell the Miami Herald. The cause and severity of the condition was not known, but obviously, that’s not good.

And yet Tannehill made his 63rd consecutive start Sunday, competed 26 of 38 passes for 329 yards and gave his team the chance to win at the end.

He even broke loose for a 28-yard run on the final drive — adding at least 10 yards to the play when he faked a slide and cut back into the defense.

So after an afternoon of miscues — including an interception by Tannehill in the end zone and a failed two-point conversion — the Dolphins (5-10) were on the doorstep of victory.

That’s when their most inexperienced offensive lineman made the most inexperienced of plays.

The Dolphins faced fourth-and-goal from the 5 with 27 seconds remaining.

Offensive coordinator Zac Taylor radioed in a run-pass option, but not before a double-cadence snap count at the line of scrimmage.

That means Tannehill’s first call for the ball was to be a decoy in hopes of either drawing the defense offsides or having the Colts (7-8) telegraph their defensive call.

Jamil Douglas, making his first ever start at center, didn’t get the memo.

He snapped the ball with the first cadence. Tannehill wasn’t ready for it. Neither were Douglas’ fellow offensive linemen, who stood frozen as Robert Mathis, Kendall Langford and T.Y. McGill converged on the quarterback.

The game ended in fitting, painful fashion. The Colts ran out the clock on the ensuing possession.

Douglas, who started in place of an injured Mike Pouncey, was understandably devastated afterwards.

“It was a bad snap,” Douglas told reporters. “Something I have to correct. Pay more attention to detail and get it fixed.”

Douglas added: “I mean it [was] my fault. I should have been locked in on that play. ... Bad play by me.”

Douglas “feels like it’s all on his shoulder,” Dan Campbell said, “and it’s not.”

There were plenty of mistakes to go around on both sides of the ball Sunday, Campbell added.

But too many more of those mistakes on the offensive line and Tannehill someday might not be able to even limp out of the locker room.

“I've been fortunate,” Tannehill said. “I’ve been fortunate not to have any major injuries. I pride myself on being tough and getting up if I can if at all possible. I think I’ve done that up to this start. I’ve also been fortunate not to have a major injury that you can’t tough out.”

Just one more game to survive. And then he’ll have an entire offseason to heal up.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments