While the focus on Saturday’s Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills game was on the field and if Miami would be able to reach a tenth win on the season, putting themselves into position to claim a playoff berth, there was a story line on the sidelines as well. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, inactive for the second straight week due to sprained ligaments in his left knee, was seen throughout the game walking around without the aid of crutches. That is a distinct progress from the previous week when he was limited in his movement throughout the game as he leaned on a crutch throughout the contest.
After the game, Miami Herald reporter Adam Beasley noted that the full-leg cast Tannehill had been wearing in Week 15 was gone for the Week 16 game. Beasley added that Tannehill described the lack of a cast as “great news” and that Tannehill had received treatment from surgeon James Andrews during the week. The Dolphins have not placed Tannehill, who started the first 77 games of his career before the knee injury, on injured reserve and are hoping he would be able to return if the team is able to clinch their first playoff appearance since 2008.
There was still a notable limp in Tannehill’s strides.
Tannehill was injured in Week 14 when, during the third quarter of the team’s eventual win over the Arizona Cardinals, he was hit in the left knee just after he planted his foot and threw a pass. Initial fears that he had torn his ACL proved to be false, but he was diagnosed as having sprains to the ACL and MCL. The sprains, which are by definition partial tears, are thought ot need anywhere from two to nine weeks to full heal.
The Dolphins started Matt Moore for the second time in place of Tannehill, and he struggled throughout the first half of the game, which he finished with a 5-for-14 for 57 yards and an interception stat-line, giving him a 19.0 passer rating. He finished the game 16 for 30 for 233 yards with two touchdowns and a sack, giving him an 87.2 passer rating; DeVante Parker picked up 56 of those yards and one of the touchdown on a short pass in which he broke a tackle and ran all the way down the field, while Damien Williams had a similar short pass broken for a long gain of 44 yards. Moore was effective directing the team’s game tying drive near the end of regulation.