CINCINNATI — Geno Atkins simply shoved Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod backward into Ryan Tannehill, knocking him down. The Bengals defense tackle then gently touched the quarterback down, one final indignity on a rough night.
Miami’s depleted offensive line had a tough time all around during a 22-7 loss to Cincinnati on Thursday night. And given the health of their blockers, the Dolphins (1-3) have a real challenge ahead.
“We’ve got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday,” Tannehill said. “We’re kind of in a dark spot right now. It’s squarely on our shoulders.”
It was so bad that during the first three quarters, Bengals receiver A.J. Green had more yards than the entire Miami offense. Green piled up 166 yards on catches, while the Dolphins managed only 152 total yards.
Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, five sacks and a fumble. The Dolphins’ running game — one of the NFL’s worst — managed only 62 yards.
“Some of the plays were not ideal, as far as what we were doing,” coach Adam Gase said. “Some were busted protections. Ryan has to step up on the fumble. It’s everybody taking their turn. I don’t think it really mattered who was out right now. We couldn’t get out of our own way.”
Tannehill had been a bright spot lately. He threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns during a win over Cleveland on Sunday, his second straight game with more than 300 yards passing. He had been sacked only one time in the last two games despite throwing 84 times.
On Thursday, he threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills on Miami’s second play of the game, but did little else the rest of the way. Miami finished with 222 total yards.
It wasn’t all Tannehill’s fault. The patchwork line had trouble giving him time.
“Not everybody was on the same page,” Gase said. “All of a sudden he looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
There was a reason for the problems — Miami had a lot of players in different positions. The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron.
Left tackle Branden Albert and center Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles suffered during the win over Cleveland. Center Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.
“We have to put it all together and figure out what we do well and start working on that a little more,” Gase said.