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QB for reeling Dolphins uncertain against Patriots

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is taken down by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Ryan Russell (95) late in the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 in Miami. Cutler left the game with a head injury. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

By STEVEN WINE

AP Sports Writer

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Double-negative answers to quarterback questions are rarely a good sign, and that's all Adam Gase could offer Monday.

Jay Cutler's availability Sunday for the Miami Dolphins at New England is uncertain because he's in the concussion protocol, but if healthy, he's still the starter.

"There's no reason for me to say he's not," Gase said.

A tepid endorsement is understandable, giving the direction of the Dolphins (4-6), who have lost four games in a row. Cutler threw three interceptions in Sunday's home loss against Tampa Bay before he left at halftime because of his injury.

Matt Moore threw for 282 yards and a score in the second half. But Moore's claim for No. 1 consideration was undercut when he started for an injured Cutler three weeks ago at Baltimore and Miami lost 40-0.

The QB issue might be moot this week. Gase said he had no idea whether Cutler is likely to receive medical clearance.

Whoever starts against the Patriots, the Dolphins will be the weekend's biggest underdogs as they try to end a streak of eight consecutive losses at New England by a combined score of 255-109.

"We can't worry about who we're playing," Gase said. "We've got to worry about getting ourselves better."

The Dolphins faced the Bucs without linebacker Rey Maualuga, waived Saturday hours after his arrest on a misdemeanor battery charge. Undrafted rookie Chase Allen started for Maualuga and didn't have a tackle.

"Right now we're playing the guys that are available," Gase said.

The Dolphins had five turnovers and are a minus-9 in turnover differential this season, tied for third worst in the NFL. They also committed 17 penalties, one shy of the franchise record.

"We had a ridiculous amount of lost yardage," Gase said.

One bit of good news: The Dolphins no longer rank last in scoring. They climbed ahead of winless Cleveland into 31st place at 15.7 points per game.

But with two games looming against the Patriots in a 16-day span, and December games at Buffalo and at Kansas City, the path to .500 - much less the playoffs - appears daunting.

"It'll be a test, for sure," Moore said. "There is no magic potion. You need to come to work, get better, learn the scheme, execute the scheme and move forward, and that's it. That's the only thing we can do. I've got faith that these guys will do that."

With six games left, the Dolphins have already matched last year's regular-season loss total, and they're on the verge of their longest losing streak since 2011.

If the season can be salvaged, Sunday's game would be a good place to start.

"The math starts leaning away from you," defensive end Cameron Wake said. "If our ultimate goal is to be champions and do things in the postseason, then obviously it's more and more urgent."

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Updated November 20, 2017

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