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Anatomy of a Play: Ryan Tannehill 40-yard run vs. Green Bay Packers

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A closer look at Ryan Tannehill's 40-yard run against the Green Bay Packers.

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

We take a closer look at a random play from the Miami Dolphins' 2014 season today. In this case, it is Ryan Tannehill's 40-yard run against the Green Bay Packers.

Tannehill Run vs GB

The Dolphins trailed the Packers by seven points in the third quarter, facing a 2nd-and-5. Miami called a read option.

Tannehill Run vs GB

The play is set up with the quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the shotgun, with Knowshon Moreno to his left. Tannehill will be reading Clay Matthews, who is spot shadowed in blue, to make his read. If Matthews crashes down on the offensive line, playing the hand-off to Moreno, Tannehill keeps the ball and looks to run. If Matthews stays home, protecting the outside, Tannehill gives the ball to Moreno, who runs to the right. The offensive line blocks down on the three defensive linemen, with Branden Albert, at left tackle, initially blocking along the line in a double team with Daryn Colledge, before moving up to attack the linebackers.

Tannehill Run vs GB

Switching to the All-22 coaches' film, the Dolphins are lined up with trips left, leaving Brian Hartline all alone on the right of the offense. Again, Tannehill's only read is what Matthews does, which will determine where the ball goes.

Tannehill Run vs GB

At the snap, the offensive line begins to block in what appears to be a run to the right. Tannehill receives the snap while Moreno begins to move on his running assignment. Matthews is just reacting to the play, but will start moving inside, defending against Moreno.

Tannehill Run vs GB

Jumping to the opposite angle, the movement of the offensive line to the right is clearly visible, with Matthews again spot shadowed. He is reading what the line is doing, as well as the movement of Moreno, and reacts to what appears to be a run away from him.

Tannehill Run vs GB

As the potential hand-off is taking place, Tannehill eyes are clearly on Matthews, who is lining up Moreno and preparing to stop the run. Tannehill ultimately decides to keep the ball himself, which is absolutely the correct read in this instance.

Tannehill Run vs GB

Pausing for a second to look at the television angle, there are clearly another couple of options for Tannehill on this play. Mike Wallace at the top of the image and Hartline at the bottom have both turned in for what appears to be bubble screen options.  It is not an option we have seen Tannehill use, but it clearly is built into the play. What would be interesting is to know if the Hartline option is actually a pass option for Moreno, since he would be moving that direction with his run, and if he is carrying the ball, it would likely pull the cornerback to that side off of Hartline. Just a thought.

Tannehill Run vs GB

As we see Tannehill take off, Moreno is selling what is now a fake to the offense's right. Hartline clearly knows he is not getting the pass (again, a running back pass option?). At the top of the image, Wallace appears to be looking to see if Tannehill has the hole through which he is about to run.

Tannehill Run vs GB

As Tannehill turns uphill, Matthews is reacting to the run, realizing he is out of position to make the play.

Tannehill Run vs GB

Matthews is able to close the distance on Tannehill, but the quarterback is able to get past the linebacker and keep moving up the field.

Tannehill Run vs GB

In fact, Tannehill is able to weave his way through the Green Bay defense, moving around would-be tacklers and pulling away.

Tannehill Run vs GB

Now 28 yards down the field, Tannehill is able to keep running with green in front of him. What does a runner do when he has no defenders right in front of him?

Tannehill Run vs GB

He checks out the big screen to see who is coming up behind him.

Tannehill Run vs GB

Defensive back Micah Hyde is finally able to catch Tannehill.

Tannehill Run vs GB

Tackling him 40-yards down the field and giving Miami a boost on what would be a game-tying touchdown drive, capped by a Tannehill to Jarvis Landry 11-yard touchdown pass.

Tannehill Run vs GB

Tannehill of course gets up and tosses the ball back to the referees like it was nothing. He's already on to the next play.

The run marked the first of three straight games for Tannehill with runs of at least 30 yards, four straight over 20 yards. This play was Tannehill's longest run of the year, and signaled the start of Miami's use of Tannehill's legs as a weapon for the offense. While defenses would slow down the read-option for Miami as the year continued, it still was an offensive wrinkle that the Dolphins could use when needed.