MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill stood on the sideline in the final minutes, wiping his red eyes and accepting sympathetic hugs from his Miami Dolphins teammates even as they pulled out a sloppy victory over Arizona.
Tannehill limped out of the game in the third quarter with a knee injury that will likely end his season, leaving Matt Moore to lead the late drive that led to a field goal as time ran out for a 26-23 victory on Sunday.
Coach Adam Gase said the Dolphins fear Tannehill tore his ACL, which would sideline him for the rest of the season.
”Doesn’t look good,” Gase said. ”We’ve got to go to the next man up, just like every other position.”
The Dolphins led 21-9 when Tannehill left, and the seldom-used Moore failed to lead Miami to a first down in his first three series.
”I was thinking, ‘Man, I haven’t done this in a long time,”’ Moore said.
After the Cardinals mounted touchdown drives of 99 and 50 yards to tie the game, Miami forced a punt to start at the Arizona 47 with 1:29 left. Moore threw a 12-yard completion to Kenny Stills for a first down, and threw long to Stills for 29 yards to set up a 21-yard field goal by Andrew Franks on the final play.
Tannehill went 15 for 20 for 195 yards and three touchdowns. Afterward he was on crutches in the locker room and didn’t talk to reporters.
”He’s a huge part of this team, and will be going forward,” Moore said.
The Dolphins (8-5) won for the seventh time in the past eight games and helped their bid to end an eight-year playoff drought. But they’ll likely have to do it with Moore, who has 25 career starts but none since Tannehill was drafted in 2012.
”We have a lot of confidence in him,” receiver Jarvis Landry said. ”He’s a gunslinger. He’s a savvy vet.”
The injury-depleted Cardinals (5-7-1) fell further behind in the race for the final NFC wild-card berth.
”We knew we had to win out to compete for a playoff spot,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, ”and to not be able to come out of here with a win hurts.”
Tannehill was hurt when hit around the legs by defensive tackle Calais Campbell as he released a completion.
”It looked like it was illegal to me,” said Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert, who was beaten on the play by Campbell.
”It’s football,” Gase said. ”Things happen.”
LOTS OF MISTAKES
Frequent heavy rain resulted in a sloppy game, including four turnovers by Arizona – all in the first 20 minutes – and three by Miami.
The Dolphins overcame 14 penalties for 118 yards, and Arizona had seven for 54. In addition, the Cardinals’ Chander Catanzaro missed a field-goal attempt and two extra points, with one blocked PAT returned for a 2-point conversion.
The Cardinals’ defense was hard hit, with LB Deone Buchanan (ankle), CB Marcus Cooper (back), and S Tyvon Branch (groin) all sidelined. T D.J. Humphries was evaluated for a concussion.
”We had guys going down left and right,” Arians said.
Arizona’s Carson Palmer went 18 for 33 for 145 yards with two interceptions and lost fumble on a bobbled snap. David Johnson was held to 80 yards rushing and 41 receiving. Fitzgerald had only three catches for 12 yards.
Even so, the Cardinals made a late charge. They drove the length of the field for a touchdown, helped by three Miami penalties, to cut the deficit to 21-15 midway through the fourth quarter. But Jordan Phillips blocked Catanzaro’s extra-point kick, and Walt Aikens scooped up the ball and scored.
The Cardinals forced a punt, and Palmer hit J.J. Nelson for the touchdown, then connected with Johnson for a tying 2-point conversion.
Nelson ran 56 yards untouched for Arizona’s first score on an end-around.
Tannehill lost the handle on a screen pass and the ball skittered backward for a 21-yard loss before rolling out of bounds.
The Dolphins play Saturday at the New York Jets and will likely be without Tannehill, who has started every game in his five NFL seasons.
The Cardinals are at home Sunday against New Orleans.
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