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Adam Gase says Dolphins collapse started with Laremy Tunsil injury

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-10-08 06:30:19

CINCINNATI -- Adam Gase says the Miami Dolphins massive fourth quarter meltdown began when they lost left tackle Laremy Tunsil to injury.

In Tunsil's absence, a comfortable Dolphins' 17-3 lead became a 27-17 Cincinnati Bengals win. Tunsil was later placed in the concussion protocol.

"We lost Laremy and that kind of shook us up a little bit. We didn't bounce back from that very well. They started teeing off on us," Gase said. "We got to clean a lot of things up. We got to figure out how to give (Ryan Tannehill) a chance to throw it."

When asked again what changed during the meltdown, Gase responded: "The left tackle wasn't in. That kind of can do some damage. When you get behind, it kind of causes problems."

Tunsil, who left the game during the third quarter, wasn't available to talk after the game because he was in the concussion protocol. Reserve swing tackle Sam Young replaced him. He gave up a pressure on the two defining plays of the game: Tannehill's pick-six that made it 17-17 and the strip sack that made it 24-17 Bengals. Right tackle Ju'Wuan James also gave up a pressure that led to the second play.

"First impression, it wasn't up to my standard or our line's standard. That falls on me," Young said. "Injuries aren't an excuse."

Young added more on what happened on the pick-six: "(I) just got to do a better job of seeing the pressure. Got a little too outside heavy. Obviously he rushed inside and got a little bit away from me and put pressure on Ryan. I just gotta do a better job with my eyes and seeing what the defense is doing."

The Bengals looked flat for most of the game but found new life late in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins' offense scored more points for the Bengals (two defensive touchdowns) than they did for themselves (one touchdown and one field goal). Miami returned a punt return for a touchdown.

"It makes a difference when you lose a tackle at this level of football like that, and they didn't seem to want to help the guy when they left the guy out there," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said about the Dolphins post-Tunsil. "Our guys did a nice job, whether it was pressure or holding or whatever. We had blood in the water, and we went after it."

This was the first time the Dolphins lost after having a 17-plus point lead since December 2011 vs. the New England Patriots.

The Dolphins were already down two starting offensive linemen with left guard Josh Sitton (torn rotator cuff) going to injured reserve in Week 2 and center Daniel Kilgore (torn triceps) going to injured reserve this week.

Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins had a field day, but the Dolphins were able to survive it early. Tunsil's injury began to turn the tide.

Tannehill, however, wouldn't put the blame on the offensive line or Tunsil's absence. Gase also noted that Tannehill should have just taken a sack on the odd pick-six that bounced off Miami tight end Durham Smythe's helmet and into defensive end Michael Johnson arms.

"Trying to make a smart play by not taking a sack and ended up getting unlucky and being a dumb play," Tannehill said.

Gase said he hasn't got far enough to look into outside offensive line options for this upcoming week. Miami hosts Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears next Sunday.

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