Armando Salguero

An amazing day for the Miami Dolphins also includes troubling questions at quarterback

Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson: ‘it’s was definitely a roller coaster’

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson talks to the media after their 31-28 win over the Chicago Bears in a NFL football game at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, October 14 2018, in Miami Gardens.
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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson talks to the media after their 31-28 win over the Chicago Bears in a NFL football game at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, October 14 2018, in Miami Gardens.

Enjoy this one because it was awesome.

We all know there have been too many Miami Dolphins games like this in which the Dolphins fall short. We all remember games like this the Dolphins lose because that fumble at the goal by the Chicago Bears running back doesn’t happen. Or that T.J. McDonald interception in the end zone doesn’t happen. Or that overtime Cody Parkey field goal attempt sails through the uprights instead of flying wide right.

So enjoy that so much worked for the Dolphins on Sunday. Enjoy that it all seemed to work -- including the work by Brock Osweiler.

Miami’s backup quarterback found out by text Sunday morning that he was starting against the Bears because starter Ryan Tannehill could not play. A shoulder injury Tannehill sustained in the fourth quarter of the Cincinnati Bengals loss last week when he fumbled was bad at the start of last week and, instead of getting better as it has in the past, got progressively worse.

“He got through Monday and Tuesday and we thought he got better so he went out and practiced on Wednesday,” coach Adam Gase said. “He was sore but he was fine. And then Thursday kind of came around and it kind of got progressively worse as far as his ability to throw the ball the way he wanted to.

“We were just making contingency plans in case it didn’t get any better. Then this morning when we worked him out we could tell he just couldn’t go.”

Miami Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler says today's victory over the Chicago Bears was like a "heavyweight fight".

That’s when the team texted Osweiler it was his game. Which meant it would probably be his game to win or lose. And on his drive into Hard Rock Stadium, obviously knowing that he was once tossed aside by Houston, and Cleveland and Denver, the Dolphins new starting quarterback also knew he’d be getting a shot to erase all that with the Dolphins.

“I got a little emotional driving to the stadium this morning just thinking about this opportunity today,” Osweiler said. “There’s a lot of things going through my head. But mostly it’s just make the most of this opportunity. Have no regret at the end of the day. That’s how I play the game. But today was different because I was playing for people I truly care about. That means a lot.”

Great, right?

And, of course, this game wasn’t all about the dynamic the Dolphins had going on at quarterback. The offensive line played well after collapsing last week. The running backs played well, even amid the adversity of Kenyan Drake fumbling at the goal line. The defense played very, very well considering how many times it turned Chicago away on plays that could have tipped the game toward the Bears.

But that’s not what this is about.

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase on the best thing QB Brock Osweiler did in the victory over the Chicago Bears.

This is about the Dolphins’ quarterback situation. Just the quarterback situation.

It was clear after the game that while there was much to celebrate about Osweiler’s performance, there were some hard questions about Tannehill that needed asking, as well.

Because Tannehill, who has now missed games in each of the past three seasons, is himself a question mark. While there are no indications his shoulder injury is season-ending, the length of time he’s going to be out is open ended.

“I do not know. I do not know. I don’t know,” Gase repeated when asked how long Tannehill would be out. “I know today he couldn’t go.”

There was an internet report that said Tannehill had sprained his AC joint. The Dolphins say that is not correct. But Gase became visibly irritated when he was asked exactly what the injury is if not that.

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase on RB Frank Gore in their victory over the Bears, "he is a warrior'.

“I don’t sit there and ask them all these questions,” Gase growled. “I just know the guy couldn’t go today. Go ask him. Tired of answering these questions about this guy.”

I reminded the coach “this guy” is his staring quarterback, which is kind of an important position.

“I got it,” he replied. “But you know what? I’m over it. Me and him we know he’s not right right now. The details of it, we’ll keep that to us. You guys don’t need to know that.”

Maybe, but Dolphins fans want to know that the player Gase has committed to for three years is at least durable. And that’s now a question with Tannehill because Sunday was the 21st game he’s missed in three years.

Dolphins fans need to know that a franchise that has a very ugly history judging shoulder injuries -- particularly that one by Drew Brees in 2006 -- didn’t make another dumb mistake last week with Tannehill. I mean, how does a guy with an injury so serious he cannot play on game day seem so healthy to the Dolphins that they practice him full on Wednesday and Thursday?

And Dolphins fans want to know that there’s going to be a plan going forward, which we didn’t even get to on Sunday before Gase blew a gasket.

The plan the rest of this year is Osweiler is going to play until Tannehill is healed. I don’t see Gase allowing for any quarterback controversy even though social media was alight Sunday evening feeding that narrative.

(Some fans are making the point the Dolphins scored a lot more points with Osweiler at the helm than with Tannehill).

I’m not buying into this because I understand one fine game by Osweiler does not guarantee another one. And a couple of poor games by Tannehill recently does not suggest he’s dropping off the table.

Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders talks to the media after their 31-28 win over the Chicago Bears in a NFL football game at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, October 14 2018, in Miami Gardens.

Both will eventually play at their career mean and that will give Tannehill the advantage.

What I am buying, however, is that this Dolphins quarterback situation feels tenuous. Because, with respect to Tannehill, he’s not living up to Gase’s promises. And because, with respect to Osweiler, it’s hard to see him doing what he did Sunday with consistency.

Osweiler doesn’t care about that. He was rightfully enjoying this performance Sunday even as he promised to be ready for more if that’s what is required.

“This is my job,” he said. “My job is to be ready to play football when coach Gase says go in. So I’ll always be ready.”

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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