Armando Salguero

Dolphins' bittersweet day: Team pulls out late victory against Arizona in game Ryan Tannell suffers ‘major’ injury

Ndamukong Suh talks about the Dolphins' defensive effort against the Cardinals

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh talks about the team's defensive effort in the 26-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, December 11, 2016.
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Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh talks about the team's defensive effort in the 26-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, December 11, 2016.

First it looked like a win.

Then it looked like a win overshadowed by what one source is saying is a serious injury to quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

[Update: Head coach Adam Gase said the team fears Tannehill tore his ACL in the left knee. That would mean Tannehill is done for the season. An MRI is scheduled for Monday morning to confirm.]

Then it looked like a likely loss that suggests this Dolphins season is now on life support.

Finally, it turned into a win over the Arizona Cardinals, sealed by a 21-yard Andrew Franks field goal, as Miami won, 26-23.

The Dolphins improved to 8-5 and still have a chance to make the playoffs if they continue to win. If Matt Moore becomes a star in place of Tannehill..

The most important thing first: Tannehill, who was the NFL’s most sacked quarterback his first four seasons but never missed a game, was hit on his left knee by Arizona defensive lineman Calais Campbell in the fourth quarter. He left the game and never returned.

He went to the locker room and returned to watch the end of the game in street clothes. While on the bench after he came back, Tannehill could be seen apparently crying as he was consoled by teammates who patted him on the shoulders or head.

The Dolphins so far are refusing to give any details on the injury and the only thing one source told me was that the injury is “serious.” That could mean anything but it suggests Tannehill could be done for the season.

The early hope was Tannehill suffered perhaps a hyperextension or bone bruise. That’s the best case scenario.

The worst case is thta Tannehill suffered an ACL injury

Tannehill, who threw three interceptions in a loss to Baltimore last week, had rebounded Sunday with three TD passes. The Dolphins were leading 21-9 when Tannehill left the game.

And then Arizona scored on consecutive drives of 98 yards and 50 yards and also connected on a successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 23.

Yes, the Dolphins defense was in full meltdown mode at that point after coming up with four turnovers earlier. And the meltdown happened despite the fact Cameron Wake collected a sack and pressured Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer the entire day.

That put the game in backup Matt Moore’s hands.

He connected on multiple passes to Kenny Stills inside of one minute -- including one in which Stills was interfered with at the 3 yard line -- to put the Dolphins within victory’s reach. That completion was for 29 yards.

Franks connected on his winning kick with zero seconds left on the clock.

This was a hard-fought one. It was a classice gut check.

And, with Tannehill’s injury looming, if you think it gets easier ... well, you’d be mistaken.

The Dolphins play at the New York Jets, at Buffalo and versus New England the final three games.

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