The Miami Dolphins surprising, feel-good season took a turn yesterday in the midst of Miami’s 26-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell hit Tannehill low causing the injury and was very similar to the hit Campbell laid on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton earlier this year. The hit on Newton resulted in Campbell being fined $18, 231.
The Dolphins are bracing for the worst regarding an MRI on Tannehill’s knee is performed on Monday.
The injury to Tannehill, who was enjoying his best season as a pro, forces the Dolphins to hand the reigns of the team, and their playoff chances, to backup quarterback Matt Moore.
“My heart breaks, man,” Moore said, via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
“I was the one blocking him. It looked like it was illegal to me,” said Dolphins tackle Branden Albert.
“There was a lot going through my head because at the time that was the guy I was blocking,” Albert said. “I was more frustrated for him because I know where he’s at now. I’ve been there. The guy hit him low and I was more frustrated for Ryan, to be honest with you.”
“It’ll be very difficult, “ Albert said. “Very difficult but he’ll get through it. Very difficult. But he’ll be fine.
“That’s what happens when you go low,” said Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod. “That’s just what happens. … I don’t know, man. We fight to protect quarterbacks. That’s a tough situation.”
Miami was leading 21-9 when Tannehill left the game. Arizona rallied but Miami held them off to improve their record to 8-5 on the season.
Miami was upset with the officiating, as were most people watching the game were. Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry aired his frustrations after the game.
The Dolphins were flagged 14 times for 118 yards Sunday but were incensed about the non-call on Campbell’s hit on Tannehill.
“We’ve had to beat the team, the weather and the refs for a couple of weeks now,” Landry said. “It’s something that’s not my call to make, or anybody else’s call who is wearing jerseys. It’s those guys’ to make, and they didn’t make it.”
Campbell’s it is exactly the type of hit the NFL has tried hard to push out of the game over the years and it has been a heavy focus of officiating, making the non-call in Sunday’s game that much more confusing and aggravating.
Tannehill has been the NFL’s most sacked quarterback over the past 4 years but his toughness has contributed to him never missing a game. Miami’s offensive line improved this season and so did the protection for Tannehill, but the Miami Dolphins need to invest more in the offensive line as it is still an area of concern for the team moving forward.
Albert has had a number of injuries as well as Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey. It is unclear if Albert will return to Miami next season as it seems logical that 2016 1st round pick Laremy Tunsil, who played left tackle in college, would move over from left guard to his natural position, thus supplanting Albert.
Regardless, Miami still needs to invest a high draft pick on the offensive line, mainly the guard position.