DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The most prolific game of Brock Osweiler’s career may have been a cameo.
With Ryan Tannehill nursing an injury to his throwing shoulder, it was uncertain Monday whether Osweiler will get another start for the Miami Dolphins.
Osweiler thrived as Tannehill’s replacement Sunday, passing for a career-high 380 yards and three touchdowns to help beat the Chicago Bears. Tannehill was ruled out only hours before kickoff but might return for Sunday’s home game against the Detroit Lions, coach Adam Gase said.
“Ryan is day to day,” Gase said. “We’re going to have to wait a couple of days to see if he’s feeling any better. I’ll know more when I can see him throw again.”
The Dolphins (4-2) are tied with New England for the AFC East lead, and have more wins than their next six opponents. But they might need to navigate at least some of that stretch with their backup quarterback.
Tannehill first hurt his shoulder in Game 3, but didn’t miss any practice time until last week. Gase said he didn’t know whether there was a chance the injury could be a long-term issue, but said he’s confident Tannehill will play again this season.
“It’s such an unusual situation because last week it got worse as the week went on,” Gase said.
The coach quashed any potential quarterback controversy by saying Tannehill will return to the lineup when he’s healthy.
Regardless of how long he remains out, Osweiler said he’ll be ready.
“Every week, whether I’m the starter, backup, third string, you name it, I prepare the same way,” the seventh-year pro said. “I’ve done that my whole career, because you never know what’s going to happen. An entire organization is counting on you to be prepared.”
Osweiler went 28 for 44 and rallied Miami from an 11-point deficit in the final 16 minutes of regulation to win 31-28. In the fourth quarter and overtime, he went 10 for 14 for 213 yards and two scores.
Osweiler had a lot of help. The Dolphins finished with 541 yards, their highest total in 30 years. They had a 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game for the first time in 27 years.
“I’m messed up enough to think that’s what it’s going to be every week,” Gase said.
An injury-plagued offensive line didn’t allow a sack and paved the way for 161 yards rushing, and Frank Gore reached the 100 mark for the 46th time. Albert Wilson turned short passes from Osweiler into touchdowns covering 43 and 75 yards.
In short, with Tannehill out, his teammates rose to the occasion.
“It’s definitely a downer, because we’ve been working with this guy so much, and he’s the leader of our team,” Wilson said. “But football is next man up, and we’ve got full confidence in Brock.”
Osweiler improved his record as a starter to 14-12. But he was 0-4 last year with the Denver Broncos, which made him expendable, and he signed with the Dolphins in March to back up Tannehill.
He found the chance to work with Gase again appealing. Gase was his offensive coordinator in Denver in 2013-14.
“I wanted to play football for coach Gase and that’s it, plain and simple,” Osweiler said. “I believe in him. I believe in his system.”
Familiarity with the system came in handy against the Bears. For example, on a 2-point play the Dolphins converted to tie the game in the fourth quarter, the two primary receivers slipped and were covered, so Osweiler found Kenny Stills in the back of the end zone for the score.
“The 2-point conversion — we have never thrown the ball to that guy,” Gase said.
“I’ve been hearing that play get called since 2013,” Osweiler said, “so I’ve run through it mentally in my head probably at least 500 times.”
Osweiler also salvaged a third-and-11 play in the fourth quarter, scrambling away from pressure before throwing downfield. The pass deflected off the hand of linebacker Adrian Amos Jr., who had his back to the ball, and Stills gathered it in for a 35-yard gain.
“That’s when you know the football gods are on your side,” Osweiler said.
With their quarterback situation uncertain, the Dolphins will take all the help they can get.
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