The Miami Dolphins have their franchise quarterback. Yes folks I am talking about Ryan Tannehill, the young man some dolfans love to hate and blame for everything. This kid has got the goods, and like most young quarterbacks he has lots of room for improvement. What I love about Tannehill is the bigger the moment, the bigger he plays. You cannot teach that, that is an intangible that a player is just gifted with. Another illustration of what i’m talking about took place at Sun Life Stadium this past Sunday as the Dolphins kept their post season hopes alive beating the great Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 24-20.
The story was not that the Dolphins won last Sunday but how they did it. The Patriots have dominated the AFC east for years and when they lose, especially with the chance to get a No. 1 seed in the playoffs, well that is a big deal.
Tannehill, delivered when he absolutely had to. He did not get a lot of pub in the 2012 class of young QB’s, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the top two picks, got all the hoopla. Nick Foles and Russell Wilson came along after Tannehill, who went eighth overall, but up to this point they appeared to be having much more success in the NFL so far. Dolphin fans at times wondered out aloud had the team again made another mistake at QB. Will they ever replace that number 13 guy ?
While many may not agree with this sentiment Tannehill might be the difference in the Dolphins getting to the playoffs.
Tannehill was 25-of-37 for 312 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against New England. He did not shrivel up with fear but rather seized the moment and the win for Miami.
With 4:07 left and the Dolphins down by three points, Tannehill completed 6-of-8 passes for 66 yards. When the Fins gambled and went for a critical fourth and 5, with the game on the line he completed a 6-yard pass. He hit Marcus Thigpen for a 14-yard touchdown with 1:15 left, that was as big as it gets. He had just pulled a Tom Brady on Tom Brady even though the Pats legend almost upstaged him in the end.
Tannehill is a smooth operator, he still has little help. The offensive line was in shambles even before the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito drama. His receiving targets are not what you call great and they struggle to get seperation. Couple that with the fact that he gets no help from the running game that completely vanishes from time to time. The one knock on Tannehill is that he needs to improve his deep ball especially with a weapon like speedster Mike Wallace in the fold. He will improve there.
Nationally folks are taking notice of this kid and he will get major props if the Fins end up grabbing that final wild-card spot in the AFC. So there you have it Dolfans. It seems like the long, long search to replace Dan Marino may have finally come to an end. Search no more Dolphin Nation, you have your man.