The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

FINS GOING DOWNHILL FAST WITH TANNEHILL

When an NFL team has a hundred yard rusher in a game and wins the turnover battle, victory usually follows.  This is especially so when the rusher averages 7.2 yards per carry.  Not so with the Miami Dolphins this week who fell to 1-2 despite not turning the ball over a single time and getting a 108-yard effort by Lamar Miller.  How do you explain a loss in the face of these statistics?  Well, let’s see.

For starters, even with Lamar Miller’s 108 yards and the Fins’ total of 141 yards rushing, the Fins were nevertheless outrushed by the Kansas City Chiefs who ran the ball for 174 yards.  Although the Chiefs only averaged 4.2 yards per rush, their 41 rushing plays enabled them to control the game.

And when the Chiefs weren’t running the ball, they mounted a very efficient passing attack.  Alex Smith completed 76% of his passes (19 of 25).  He threw 3 TDs and averaged 9.8 yards per pass attempt.  He did not throw any interceptions.  That all contributed to him impressive 136.0 passer rating.

Given the Chiefs success in both the running game and the passing game, it will come as no surprise that they won the third down conversion battle as well, 56% to 27%.  That latter figure reflects how the Fins’ offense bordered on inept, even with Lamar Miller’s impressive rushing total and average per attempt.

Enter Ryan Tannehill, the Fins’ enigmatic third-year quarterback who is having a rather forgettable season thus far.  In the first half Tannehill looked sharper than he had looked in the first two games of the season.  He did a better job of accurately delivering the ball to his receivers, but he was victimized by 3-4 drops.  Even with those drops he was 12 of 21 (57.1%) for 148 yards before the half.  But then he went cold in the second half, completing only 9 of 22 (40.9%) for a mere 57 yards.  He managed only 4.8 yards per pass attempt (less than half of the average per attempt by his counterpart, Alex Smith), a figure in line with his league worst average this season.  His QB rating was a very unimpressive 70.4.  That was not the kind of performance that was going to lead the Fins to victory. 

And growing cold for significant portions of games has become something of a habit for Tannehill.  It has unfortunately  become the most consistent part of his game in his 2+ seasons as the Fins’ QB.  This is a habit he simply must break if he is to have any success in the NFL.  Sadly, he has shown no signs of being able to play 60 minutes at a consistent level (except for certain games in which he has been consistently bad).

For the third time in this young season, the Fins faced a double-digit halftime deficit.  Somehow they managed to come from behind in the season opener against the Patriots, but given their performance against the Bills last week and the Chiefs this week, the real question is how they managed the comeback against the Patriots.  No doubt a big part of that was having a healthy Knowshon Moreno who was lost (probably for 2 months) on his first carry of the game last week against he Bills.  The way this team is playing there will be no come-from-behind victories.  The way this team is playing there will likely be mounting losses.  Sad to say but this team is going downhill fast with Tannehill.

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