The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

DOWNHILL WITH TANNEHILL

The Miami Dolphins lost their third game in a row on Thursday night in Buffalo.  Ryan Tannehill had another bad game as the Fins found a way to make a bad team look good for the second week in a row.  The Bills were coming off a three-game losing streak and had only won once in their last 6 games.  It is obvious that the Fins have gone downhill with Tannehill.

The game started with an all too familiar Fins’ three-and-out that was then followed by a 79-yard punt return for a Bills touchdown.  The Bills thus took the lead 90 seconds into the game; it was a lead they would never surrender.  The game ended with Tannehill throwing interceptions on the Fins’ last 2 possessions when they needed a touchdown to pull out the game.  Instead they allowed the Bills to hang on for a 19-14 win.

Tannehill and the offense were especially bad in the first half as they totaled a mere 50 yards of offense with their only first down coming by way of a penalty.  That’s right, not a single offensive first down in the first half (their first offensive first down would not come until midway into the third quarter).  Ironically,  the Fins’ would surrender more turf than that in penalties as cornerback Nolan Carroll got flagged 3 times for 51 yards in the second quarter alone.  He was then benched until the fourth quarter when, not surprisingly, he was flagged yet again.  Talk about one step forward and two steps back!

The offense was really pitiful leading one to debate which was worse—the running game or the passing attack.  The Fins’ running backs managed all of 53 yards on 23 attempts (2.3 average).  Daniel Thomas led the team with 33 yards (2.8 per carry).  Reggie Bush managed 20 yards on 10 carries (2.0 per carry). Javorskie Lane carried the ball once for no yards.  This came against a Bills team that had given up a league-worst 163.7 yards per game on the ground.   Meanwhile, Tannehill completed only 14 of 28 for a mere 141 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTS, enough to “earn” him a rather horrendous 46.9 passer rating.  The interceptions both came with the game on the line in the last 2 minutes.  Brian Hartline also “contributed’ a fumble to the passing game’s woes.  So, you make the call, which segment of the offense was worse?

Two things kept the Fins in the game.  The first was Marcus Thigpen’s 96-yard kickoff return which followed a Bills’ field goal and made the score 10-7.  Prior to that uplifting special teams’ play it looked like the game was going to be a repeat of the blowout loss to the Titans 4 days earlier.  The second thing that kept the Fins in the game was the play of the defense which held the Bills to 4 field goals.  The defense would bend, but it would not break, as the Bills offense failed to get in the end zone at all.  The defense only gave up 281 total yards to the Bills, which is particularly impressive considering how the Fins’ inept offense enabled the Bills to hold a 10:06 time of possession edge.  The reality is that 281 yards is not a lot to surrender in the course of a game in which you lose the time of possession battle 35:03 to 24:57. 

The Fins’ offense has really disintegrated.  The offense managed a mere 184 total yards againast the Bills.  Until Davone Bess’ fourth quarter touchdown reception (which required a successful challenge) the Fins had gone 27 consecutive possessions without getting into the end zone.   The offense has accounted for a total of 10 points in the last 2 games.  And that is why these Fins have gone downhill with Tannehill.

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