Dolphins botch last snap and lose to Colts 18-12
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- With the Miami Dolphins on the verge of a comeback victory, their rookie backup center hesitated hiking the ball.
The mistake fouled up the timing of the play on fourth down at the Indianapolis Colts 5-yard line, allowing them to sack Ryan Tannehill and hold on for an 18-12 victory Sunday.
Jamil Douglas, filling in for injured Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, acknowledged he messed up.
"My fault," Douglas said. "I should have been locked in on that play. Bad play by me."
"He feels like it's on his shoulders, but it's not," Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell said. "There are enough mistakes to go around, offensively and defensively. It's never one man's fault."
And it's not as if the blunder cost the Dolphins a playoff berth. Miami (5-10) was eliminated two weeks ago, and a half-empty stadium reflected the sad state of the franchise.
The Dolphins have lost three in a row and are 4-7 under Campbell, who is likely to be replaced after the season.
"You just want to give yourself a chance to win the game," Campbell said. "We did that, but didn't make it happen."
Miami trailed for 54 minutes but nearly pulled out a victory, driving 75 yards for a first down at the 5 with 40 seconds left. But Ryan Tannehill threw three incompletions and then was sacked by three Colts, with Robert Mathis leading the charge.
"We put a great drive together to give us an opportunity, and just came up short," receiver Jarvis Landry said.
And so the Dolphins lost to a third-string quarterback. Charlie Whitehurst entered the game in the second quarter in place of Matt Hasselbeck, who hurt his right shoulder filling in for the injured Andrew Luck, who missed his sixth game in a row.
The Colts (7-8) would have been out of the playoff race with a loss, and they can still be eliminated in Week 16 if Cincinnati wins Monday at Denver.
"We did our job today," Whitehurst said. "That's kind of what we can control. We need a little bit of help. Hopefully it goes our way, and we'll have a fun week of practice and have something to play for next week."
Whitehurst completed a third-down pass on his first play, setting up the Colts' second touchdown for a 15-6 lead. He also directed a 10-play drive early in the fourth quarter for a field goal that made it 18-9.
"I did OK, and I got a lot help," Whitehurst said. "The defense really delivered."
Whitehurst was limping after being sacked on third down with three minutes left, and the Colts had no quarterbacks left to replace him. But he was needed for only one more snap - out of the victory formation on the final play.
The afternoon was rough on quarterbacks for both teams. Tannehill was sacked six times, hurt his left leg late in the game and walked with a limp in the locker room.
"It's not easy to win when quarterbacks get hit," he said. "That's something we have to fix."
The Colts' season-high sack total included rookie T.Y. McGill's first career sack for a safety and the game's first points.
Tannehill threw for 329 yards, but was intercepted in the end zone by Vontae Davis to end a Dolphins threat. A questionable offensive pass interference penalty on Landry negated a Tannehill touchdown pass to Jordan Cameron, and they settled for a field goal.
"I was running a route, and the guy ran into me," Landry said.
Landry became the first Miami player to have 100 catches in a season. He had seven receptions for 111 yards, including a sensational one-handed catch as he tumbled to the turf for a 26-yard gain.
Notes: Dolphins LB Jelani Jenkins aggravated an ankle injury and left the game in the third quarter. ... RBs Lamar Miller and Jay Ajayi combined for 54 yards on 24 carries.
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