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Tannehill lights up the sky, smokes Patriots

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New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Although the Miami Dolphins’ stunning gadget play with no time left, to win the game, has rightly received most of the attention in the aftermath of Miami’s victory over New England last Sunday, what has been overlooked by many is just how well Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill played in this game.

The seventh year quarterback threw for a modest 265 yards, but did so on just nineteen attempts, averaging a ridiculous 13.9 yards per throw for a nearly 74 percent completion rate and three touchdowns. Oh, and just for good measure, he turned in a 155 point quarterback rating, besting Tom Brady’s rating for the game by more than forty points. Sure, Brady threw for nearly a hundred yards more than Tannehill, and matched him in touchdown passes with three, but he had to throw it 43 times to do it, and with the Dolphins gashing New England for nearly two hundred yards on the ground, Miami didn’t have to throw all that much; when the Patriots stacked the line of scrimmage to stop the run, Tannehill, like any good veteran QB, threw over the top of them, completing passes of 43, 24, 23 and 15 yards to Stills, Gore, Butler and Parker, respectively. His throw to newly acquired WR Brice Butler in the third quarter to vault the Dolphins back into the lead was money, as was his 43 yard strike in the second to Kenny Stills, when dropped the throw into a proverbial bucket behind two New England defenders.

If I’ve been critical of Tannehill over the years, along with the team’s repeated attempts to go out and get him the best wide receivers money, and draft picks, can buy, I also don’t mind giving him credit for a brilliant performance in front of the home crowd, in what amounted to a playoff game. One thing I’ve noticed about Ryan’s throws over the past couple of seasons is that he seems to be getting better spin on the ball as he releases it; he’s not putting up as many wobblers as he used to, which helps the ball get to his receivers quicker and makes it that much easier to catch when it arrives. Although he’ll never possess superior field presence, he’s also starting to step up in the pocket more often, allowing the up-field charge of the defense’s pass rushers to carry them harmlessly past him as he gets off the throw.

So, Cranehead, what about that situation with the draft picks that you’ve been going on and on about for the past six weeks, you ask? Well, I’m still concerned about the draft, and this coming off season in general, because like most observers, I believe the Dolphins are going to need quite a bit of help to get past the ‘one and done’ stage of playoff football. But that’s only my perspective as a fan; the guys who play, and who coach for this team, want to win every single game they play, and I guarantee you that they plan on knocking off the Minnesota Vikings this week in Minneapolis. And you know what? I think the Dolphins can beat the Vikings. Heck, if they could beat Chicago with Brock Osweiler at quarterback, they ought to be able to beat Minnesota with Tannehill lining up under center. The fast indoor surface at U.S. Bank Stadium bodes well for the Dolphins’ team speed on both sides of the ball, and the Vikings just fired their offensive coordinator this week; it’s hard to envision them coming out their first game with the new guy and lighting up the scoreboard.

The Dolphins have looked like a team of destiny the past two weeks, and when I saw the play they pulled off to win the game against New England, a line from one of my favorite songs growing up came to mind: ”I watched my television, almost lost my mind and it said, ‘Open your eyes and feel it . . .” Have a great week, everybody.