There's a reason Richard Marshall hasn't played the past two weeks. Not too long ago, he was on crutches.
Marshall, a starting cornerback for the Dolphins, wrenched his back during a collision with Karlos Dansby and a Raiders player.
After playing through the pain for the next two weeks, the Dolphins shut him down with hopes he could return after the bye. Marshall, who's staying in Miami to heal during his weekend off, said Monday that the timetable remains in place.
"I couldn't continue to play through it, because I felt I wasn't able to do what I needed to do out there," said Marshall, who added the pain was so intense early on in the injury, he needed crutches to get around. "Being on the sidelines, watching, hasn't been good for me, because in seven years, I haven't missed a game. That's been hard for me."
In his two-game absence, the Dolphins haven't lost, and the secondary has played better, but only slightly. They've allowed 259 passing yards per game the past two weeks but still ranked 27th league-wide as of Monday afternoon.
Ryan Tannehill is heading in the right direction. If you don't believe your eyes, check the stat sheet.
Since struggling against the Jets, Tannehill has improved both his completion percentage and quarterback rating every week.
That trend continued Sunday against the Rams, which was probably the most efficient game of his young career. Tannehill set career highs in completion percentage (72.4) and quarterback rating (112), and carried the offense on a day when rushing yards were at a premium.
And most important, he protected the football. The Dolphins improved to 3-0 when he holds onto the football, and 0-3 in games he gives it away at least once.
"He's been able to not turn the ball over, been pretty much error-free," offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said. "He's made some unbelievable decisions."
No matter the referee -- replacement or real-deal -- the Dolphins can't seem to catch a break when it comes to reviews.
On Sunday, they had two turnovers taken away by challenges, and the officials upheld a rushing touchdown by Sam Bradford even though the Dolphins argued the ball was coming loose before he crossed the plane.
For the year, nine of the 15 play reviews have gone against the Dolphins.
"That's life in the NFL," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "Everyone has to deal with it, and we're no different. Usually, at some point, the field levels out. Hopefully."
--The Dolphins called on Chris Clemons to execute their fake punt Sunday, even though Clemons hadn't run the football since high school. They went with Clemons, a safety, in that situation because he is the regular upback on punts, and if the Dolphins had switched him out with another player, they risked tipping their hand, Philbin said.
-- Mike Pouncey, on the Dolphins being tied for the AFC East lead after six weeks: "We have a very good chance to win the division this year. We just have to go out there and play well the rest of the season."
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