INDIANAPOLIS – At the start of each season, Jake Long sits down and tries to determine the maximum number of sacks he will allow.
The whole process doesn't take the Dolphins left tackle more than a few seconds. There isn't a whole lot of matchup analysis and that sort of thing.
"It's zero," Long said. "You never want to have sacks. I've had a few this year."
Number three for 2012 came during the second quarter of Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Colts.
Dwight Freeney came flying around the edge, and Long, playing lighter and quicker than he's ever been, couldn't keep up with one of the game's greatest defensive ends.
There's no shame in that. Freeney, with more than 100 career sacks, has a shot at making the Hall of Fame.
"He's a heck of a player," Long said. "It's always fun going up against the best."
The shameful part was what happened next.
Ryan Tannehill, already playing on a compromised left knee, got crunched from behind.
His neck snapped back. The football jarred loose from his grasp.
For a few tense seconds, calamity stared the Dolphins dead in the eye.
Long snatched Tannehill's fumble out of the air and rumbled forward for a few meaningless yards.
Far more vital was seeing Tannehill clamber back to his feet, the way the Dolphins' rookie franchise quarterback always seems to do when he gets hit.
And make no mistake, the kid got abused Sunday.
Two sacks, the other one coming at the expense of rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin.
Six direct hits, several of the bone-crunching variety.
A handful of hurries and pocket flushes.
"Average at best," was how Joe Philbin summed up the Dolphins' pass protection.
Apprised of this, Dolphins left guard Richie Incognito shook his head in knowing disgust.