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Dolphins Lose Keller to Nasty Knee Injury in 24-17 Loss to Texans

Ryan Tannehill led two scoring drives and connected on a deep ball and a touchdown to wide receiver Mike Wallace. The Dolphins’ first-defense looked the part for the second consecutive week, as Brent Grimes picked off Matt Schaub and Cameron Wake had a key third-down sack.

It had the makings of a very positive night from Miami’s starters. Then, one play changed it all.

Tight end Dustin Keller took a shot to his right knee during the second quarter and instantly went down in excruciating pain. Keller will reportedly undergo an MRI sometime Sunday morning, but it would be huge shock if he didn’t suffer serious ligament damage, which would of course sideline him for the entire 2013 season.

The Dolphins’ lack of depth at tight end is now a serious concern, as Ryan Tannehill and the offense must rely on unproven players to fill Keller’s void. Their depth at several other positions doesn’t appear to be anymore promising after the Dolphins’ backups were thoroughly outplayed by the Texans’ second and third-teams.

Miami’s second-team offensive line was one big revolving door all night and backup quarterback Matt Moore had perhaps his worst outing as a Dolphin. Defensively, there was no answer for the Texans’ running game or passing attack.

The Dolphins’ starters showed promise on both sides of the ball tonight. But after watching Dustin Keller go down and many second string players get dominated, it’s clear that the Dolphins just don’t have the depth to withstand many more injuries from contributing players.

Let’s step back from the Keller injury for a minute, though, in order to highlight five Dolphins who impressed.

Fab Five FinsĀ 

Ryan Tannehill: The second-year quarterback had his best performance of the preseason, going 10 of 15 for 141 yards and a touchdown. He still held onto the ball too long on a couple of plays, but overall, had more confidence in the pocket and was able to pick apart the Texans’ secondary when the Dolphins’ offensive line gave him sufficient time to throw.

Daniel Thomas: One of the team’s most polarizing players made those in his corner look wise tonight after running hard for 25 yards on the ground and 27 as a receiver out of the backfield. It’s safe to say that Daniel Thomas is making this team and that he’ll be Lamar Miller’s primary backup.

Brent Grimes: The former Atlanta Falcon has had such impressive coverage in practice that the Dolphins’ quarterbacks rarely target receivers on is side of the field. The Texans’ Matt Schaub tried him during the first quarter, though, and Grimes proved why that’s never a good idea. Grimes attacked the football, coming down with his first of potentially several interceptions as a Dolphin.

Mike Wallace: So much for Tannehill not having any chemistry with Mike Wallace. A 33-yard grab down the sideline in the first quarter displayed Wallace’s ability to get open deep and his touchdown on the same drive was an encouraging sign for a receiving corps that only managed three scores collectively in 2012.

A.J. Francis: The undrafted rookie out of Maryland was one of the team’s few bright spots after the starters went to the bench. Francis was disruptive against the run and pressured the quarterback on a few plays.

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