The Miami Dolphins lost big on Saturday night, and it was not the 24-17 loss to the Houston Texans. The team appears to have lost tight end Dustin Keller, who is having an MRI on his knee tonight, and likely will not be back this season.
It almost seems unnecessary to look back at the statistics for the game, following such a nasty injury to Keller's knee. However, there were some good performances on Saturday, and there is reason to feel optimistic about the Dolphins this season, even without Keller.
The starting offense played nearly the entire first half, with second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill throwing 15 passes, with 10 completions, for 141 yards. He connected three times with receiver Mike Wallace, for 58 yards, and both players' lone touchdown.
Tannehill finished the game with a 119.0 passer rating.
Daniel Thomas ran the ball four times for 25 yards, while Lamar Miller had five carries for 10 yards and a score.
Wallace led the game with his 58 yards receiving. Brandon Gibson was second on the Dolphins with two receptions for 32 yards.
Keller caught one pass for 14 yards.
Backup quarterback Matt Moore was an abysmal 3-for-11 for 15 yards on the night. He continually missed open receivers.
The starting defense looked stout throughout the night. Cameron Wake pulled in a sack, while Brent Grimes came away with an interception. Among the reserves, who were generally weak against the Texans second and third teams, Tristan Okpalaugo pulled down another sack, his third in three games this preseason, while A.J. Francis continued to make a case for a roster spot at defensive tackle.
Kicker Caleb Sturgis was one-for-one on field goals, connecting from 43 yards in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Brandon Fields punted eight times during the game, averaging 54.9 yards per kick.
Quarterback Pat Devlin, safety Keelan Johnson, guard Lance Louis, guard John Jerry, tight end Kyle Miller, guard Nate Garner, defensive tackle Randy Starks, and defensive end Dion Jordan all did not play.
The Dolphins looked okay overall, but again started slowly on offense. The team has to do something to better protect Ryan Tannehill and a way to get a spark from the start of the game, rather than waiting two or three series before figuring it out.
The Dolphins return home for the first time in 2013 this week with a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.