The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack


After a loss to the Division Champion Patriots in Foxboro locked up another losing season (7-9), the Fins are now Dolfinished.  The Patriots steamrolled over the Fins 28-0 in a game that was never close.  The Patriots showed why they are headed to the playoffs once again; the Dolphins showed why they are going home.

Against the Patriots Ryan Tannehill was 20 of 35 (57.1%) for 235 yards with no TDs and 1 INT.  His QB Rating was 65.8.  The most impressive thing about his performance was that it came on a day when he was sacked 7 times.  That kind of pressure has a tendency to reduce a quarterback’s numbers.  There were also a few drops which hurt his stats, most notably by newcomer Armon Binns who was targeted 7 times but only managed 3 receptions.

The running game was disappointing.  Reggie Bush needed 40 yards for his second straight 1,000 yard season, but he would only get 26 yards and 18 of that came on the last play of the game.  He also fumbled an exchange (that appeared to be his fault) when the Fins had their best scoring chance of the day, instead he gave the Patriots the ball on their own 2-yard line.  Lamar Miller—who had a nice effort last week—had 5 attempts for a mere 13 yards.  Add to that Ryan Tannehill’s 2 carries for 8 yards and the Fins gained only 47 yards on the ground against the Patriots.  That is hardly a formula for keeping Tom Brady off the field and certainly not a formula for success.

On the other side of the ball, the Fins were also deficient.  The Fins’ defense surrendered 28 first downs and yielded 443 net yards to New England.  They allowed the Patriots to convert 52.6% of all third and fourth down attempts, which is also not a formula for success.  This translated to an 11:16 time of possession disadvantage.  You are not going to defeat the Patriots on the road by allowing them to keep the ball for so much of the game.

Brandon fields proved once again that he may be the best player wearing aqua and orange.  He had 5 punts for an average of 49.4 yards in rather difficult weather conditions.  He finished the season with a 50.2 yard average.  Why he isn’t a Pro Bowl starter is more reflective of certain deficiencies in the selection process than any deficiency in his consistently superior punting.

The bottom line is that the rather dismal performance in Foxboro ensured that the Fins would have their fourth consecutive losing season. 

And so Ryan Tannehill’s rookie season has now come to its end, but questions linger.  Is he the QB of the future who merely needs more talent in his midst as well as some more experience under his belt?  Or is he destined to be the Fins’ latest mediocre QB, his stats revealing who he really is (as opposed to who it was hoped he would be)?  One thing is for sure—it will be another 9 months before Dolfans have any further clues to these all-important questions.

For the season, Ryan Tannehill threw more interceptions (13) than TDs (12).  That is not a good stat.  His QB rating was only 76.1, another somewhat disquieting stat.  He showed an unfortunate, but rather noticeable tendency to go to sleep for significant portions of games.  However, he also displayed arm strength and poise.  He finished the season with 3,294 yards passing which was more than Dan Marino had in his rookie season, although Dan did not start every game that season.  There are  indeed signs of hope; there are also signs of doubt.  In short, the book on Ryan Tannehill is still open.

But on the other hand, the book on the 2012 Fins has closed .  There is no doubt that they are now Dolfinished.

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