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Dolphins' offense already reaching breaking point of season

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Greeny calls the Dolphins 'just awful' (1:33)

Mike & Mike share their thoughts on why the Dolphins are struggling badly one month into the season. (1:33)

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill usually is the consummate optimist. But his body language and poignant comments following Thursday night’s 22-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals were telling.

“It was probably one of the worst performances I’ve seen from our offense in a long time,” Tannehill told reporters after the game. “We did some decent things in the run game. We just couldn’t get anything going in the passing game. No consistency, not enough execution, too many mistakes -- it was bad.

“We have to get it fixed soon. By soon I mean Monday. It’s gone on too long. There’s no more excuses. There’s no more waiting. It has to be important to everyone on that field. We have to get it fixed right now.”

Miami’s offense already has reached its breaking point four games into the season. Make no mistake, this group is the primary reason the team is 1-3.

On Thursday, the Dolphins scored a touchdown on their first play -- a 74-yard catch by receiver Kenny Stills -- and gained just 148 yards and zero points the remainder of the game. They lost the time of possession battle (38:20 to 21:58) for the fourth straight week, which wears down the defense, and got just eight first downs in four quarters against the Bengals (2-2).

The leaks are coming from everywhere with Miami’s offense. It is time coach Adam Gase, the rest of his staff and the offensive players ask themselves tough questions at the quarter mark of the season.

  • Do the Dolphins have the right personnel to run Gase’s system?

  • Is Tannehill to blame or are too many bad things happening around him?

  • Is Gase calling the right plays and consistently putting them in position to succeed?

It’s all not working right now, although the Dolphins have 10 days to prepare for their next game Oct. 9 against the Tennessee Titans.

“It is literally somebody different every time,” Gase explained. “Whether it be the play call, whether it be the quarterback, the running back, the lineman, the wide receiver. It’s everybody. We’re all taking turns.”

Tannehill certainly deserves his share of the blame. He had two big turnovers Thursday with an interception and a lost fumble. Tannehill has as many turnovers (six) as touchdowns (six) after four games and is not converting nearly enough on third down, when the Dolphins were 2-of-11 on Thursday. As the quarterback and leader, it’s up to Tannehill to lift the team during a rough patch, and that isn’t happening.

Miami’s offensive line had played fairly well this season -- Tannehill was sacked just once in his previous two games against New England and Cleveland. However, the line broke down against the Bengals. Offensive linemen Ja’Wuan James, Jermon Bushrod and rookie Laremy Tunsil all made mistakes that led to sacks. The lack of protection was reminiscent of Tannehill’s first four seasons.

If we learned anything in four games, it’s that Miami’s offense will not be a quick fix. Gase came to Miami with a strong pedigree working with quarterbacks and offenses, but the growing pains are going to be immense.

Gase made a big personnel switch on defense Thursday by benching No. 1 cornerback Byron Maxwell, but didn’t seem headed toward any drastic moves on offense after the loss.

“I don’t think it matters who is out there right now,” Gase said. “We all just can’t get out of our own way.”

According to ESPN Stats & Information, only 14 percent of teams that started 1-3 have made the playoffs since 1990. The Dolphins appear to be part of the other 86 percent unless the offense can quickly and drastically turn things around.