The Miami Dolphins beat the New York Giants on Friday night, but the first team offense was never able to get into rhythm, going three-and-out on both of their two possessions on the field. A big part of that lack of rhythm was the inability of the offensive line to hold off the Giants’ pass rush. Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and former Dolphin Olivier Vernon were disruptive on seemingly every snap, with the Miami offensive line finding no answers.
Just how disruptive was the pass rush? To get an idea of exactly that, I went back to the game and timed each of Tannehill’s four pass attempts from snap to throw, and included the hits that the quarterback took. It was not pretty, especially for the offensive line.
The first pass attempt came on a 2nd-and-10 play. Tannehill completed the pass for one yard to Jarvis Landry, but got crushed by Olivier Vernon, who blew past left tackle Branden Albert, just as he released the pass. From snap-to-throw (and hit), the play took 2.83 seconds.
The next snap was another Tannehill pass, this one on 3rd-and-9. Tannehill connected with Kenny Stills on the play, and was hit by Owa Odighizuwa, who beat Dallas Thomas on the play, just as he threw the pass. The pass took 2.86 seconds.
On the next Miami possession, Tannehill again tried to pass on 2nd down, again with 10 yards for the first down. This is the only pass attempt in which Tannehill was not hit, and he threw the ball to Jay Ajayi, who had the ball bounce off his hands (albeit with a pass that was slightly high), for an incompletion. From snap to pass took 2.53 seconds.
The 3rd-and-10 pass on the next play was again incomplete as Tannehill threw the ball away after scrambling across the endzone, being chased by both Pierre-Paul and Vernon. From snap to Pierre-Paul reaching Tannehill and forcing thew quarterback from the pocket was 2.38 seconds, with Tannehill throwing the ball away as he was being dragged down after 4.21 seconds.
That gives all four passes times of:
Pass 1 (complete to Landry) - 2.83 seconds - QB hit
Pass 2 (complete to Stills) - 2.86 seconds - QB hit
Pass 3 (incomplete to Ajayi) - 2.53 seconds
Pass 4 (incomplete throw away) - 2.38 / 4.21 seconds - QB hit
That works out to an average of 2.65 seconds after the snap to Tannehill either throwing the pass, or being flushed out of the pocket because the pressure had reached him.
Looking back at 2012 data from Pro Football Focus (which appears to be the most recent available time to throw and time to sack data available), Russell Wilson had the longest average time to throw that season at 3.14 seconds, with Tom Brady the quickest at 2.49 seconds. Ryan Tannehill averaged 2.57 seconds that year, the fourth quickest.
Sacks, meanwhile, saw Russell Wilson have the longest average time to being pulled down at 4.05 seconds, while Kevin Kolb was the quickest at 2.28 seconds, with Philip Rivers second fastest at 2.43 and Tannehill was third at 2.48 seconds.
The league average in 2012 for time from snap to a sack was 3.21 seconds. The average time from snap to pass was 2.73 seconds.
Given Tannehill was often throwing the ball as he was being hit on Friday, the average time to sack for him would have been about 2.65 seconds, or a little more than half-a-second faster than about what the league average would have been.
In other words, at least on Friday, the issue was not Tannehill holding the ball too long. It was the pass rush getting to Tannehill faster than the league average and typically right as the quarterback was getting off the pass.
That is not going to cut it as an offensive line. Miami has to find a way to fix this issue, and they need to do it soon so as to keep Tannehill from continuing to be among the league leaders in sacks taken. The Dolphins could look to move Laremy Tunsil into the starting lineup this week, letting the rookie replace Dallas Thomas at left guard. That may not solve the problem immediately, but it will allow the likely opening day offensive line to begin working together and getting to rhythm, rather than continuing to see shuffling linemen whenever the first team offense is on the field.