Don’t look now, but the Dol....oh you’re looking? Well, whether you look or not, the Dolphins are 3-0 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East for at least two more weeks. The team is coming off of a 28-20 win at home over the Raiders, set up by a convincing performance from the offense.
That’s not bad for a team that was projected to be the worst in the NFL and have one of the worst starting quarterbacks.
Ryan Tannehill completed 17 of 23 passes for 289 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a passer rating of 155.3. Much of the attention has been placed on how two of Tannehill’s three touchdowns came on jet passes, but make no mistake; He was phenomenal on the day.
For more on that, let’s take a look at Tannehill’s film from Week 3.
It’s time we acknowledge Tannehill as one of the league’s best downfield passers. What was once a flawed part of his game has turned into arguably his greatest strength. In 2016, Tannehill’s downfield precision was excellent, and he's picking up where he left off.
Here, Tannehill tosses a touchdown dime to Kenny Stills, bringing back memories of his otherworldly touchdown to the same player against the Chargers in 2016. The edge pressure on both sides of the field swarm in on him, but Tannehill keeps his cool and lets Stills’ route develop.
Tannehill gets the ball off just barely before getting taken down. The trajectory of his pass is astounding, as it leads Stills beautifully to an area in the end zone where he can make the touchdown without any interference. The result is a sensational 34-yard touchdown pass.
Here, Tannehill’s pass isn’t; as otherworldly as his touchdown throw to Stills, but the precision is dead on nonetheless. The combination of the routes the Dolphins draw up allow the receivers to attack different levels of the field, putting less pressure on Tannehill to make the play work out.
With this in mind, Tannehill takes a three-step drop, steps into his throw, lets the routes develop (again), and connects with a perfect pass to A.J. Derby for 16 yards. This time the protection is good and (gasp) that means the quarterback has time to make a good throw. Who could’ve guessed?
DeVante Parker has largely been bad during his career in Miami. His ineffectiveness at the catch point has crippled him and prevented him from reaching his potential because of how soft he plays on contested catches.
Here, Tannehill fires a laser to Parker. Parker’s gravity makes him shift away from the ball, allowing the defensive back to come into his window and disrupt the pass. You could argue this was more of a great defensive player than a failure from the receiver, but to me this is a well thrown ball that Parker should still catch.
Earlier in the game, Parker managed to haul in a dime from Tannehill. In 2016, Tannehill’s accuracy on throws of 16+ air yards was fourth in the league, while his accuracy on throws of 20+ yards was second. Gradually, his deep ball has gotten better with more experience, now that he’s back from injury he’s able to show that off once again.
Tannehill’s comfort level was much better in this game than against the Jets. While the Dolphins have faced a weak crowd of teams so far, the diverse talent on the offense makes the skill players fun to watch, and with Tannehill getting his groove back, he’s been a big part of Miami’s hot start to the season.