The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

UNIMPRESSIVE

For the first time this season, the Miami Dolphins managed to win two games in a row.  However, their 27-13 win against the now 1-7 Jacksonville Jaguars could only be described as unimpressive.

Up and down QB Ryan Tannehill led the Fins to a total of 56 yards of offense in the first half (52 of which coming on their final possession of the half), yet the Fins still went into the locker room ahead 10-3.  That’s because the Jaguars kept shooting themselves in the foot.  Jacksonville gained 219 yards in the first half, going into Dolphins’ territory on every possession other than its last possession when it ran out the clock.  Yet they had only 3 first half points to show for all their offensive yardage.  Other than their lone field goal, they ended drives with a blocked field goal attempt, a penalty that took them out of field goal range and an interception that was returned 81 yards for a Fins’ TD.

Getting back to his old inconsistent form, Tannehill essentially only played in the second half.  He finished the first half 5 of 12 for 41 yards.  He did not lead the Fins to a first down until their last possession of the half.  At one point the Jaguars had outgained the Fins 199-3. 

The story was different in the second half when Tannehill was 11 of 17 for 155 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  For the day he was 16 of 29 for 196 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, which earned him a very meager 73.3 QB rating.  Against a lesser opponent, Tannehill seemed to regress back to his form from the first month of the season.  He did do some damage with his legs, gaining 48 yards on 5 carries.  For the third game in a row he had a long run, this one for 30 yards.

Fortunately, the Fins defense had 2 pick-sixes to bail the team out.  In the first half Louis Delmas picked off Blake Bortles and scampered 81 yards for a TD.  In the second half Brent Grimes picked one off and ran it back 22 yards for the score.  The defense also recovered a fumble.  The defense outscored the offense 14-13 for the day.  Although the Jaguars won the yardage battle (377-326) and the time of possession battle (32:23-27:37), the Fins won the all-important turnover battle (3-1).  Quite simply, turnovers win games and that was the story against the Jaguars as Ryan Tannehill and the offense certainly did not carry the day.  Although there was reason to believe he had finally turned the corner, Tannehill’s performance against the Jaguars only serves to raise anew the questions about his lack of consistency.

Now the schedule gets tough for the Fins.  Next week they host the Chargers (5-3) before going on the road to play the Lions (5-2) and then returning home to play the Bills (5-3) before hitting the road against the Broncos (6-1).  That’s a 4-game stretch in which they will face teams currently having a combined 21-9 record.  That’s a rather sobering fact coming off their 2-game winning streak.  Then in their final 5 games, they have a Jets “sandwich” in which they play the Ravens (5-3), the Patriots (6-2) and the Vikings (3-5) in consecutive weeks in between 2 games against the hapless Jets (1-7).  In reality, they need to win at least 2 of their next 4 games.  However, all of these games figure to be tough as they will have to face the likes of Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, not to mention a Bills team which seems to have the Fins’ number.  If they somehow survive that 4-game stretch, they still need to beat the Jets twice and the Vikings once plus either the Ravens or the Patriots to get to 10 wins, the threshold commonly seen as a ticket to the playoffs.  All in all that would take more consistency out of Ryan Tannehill than Dolfans have seen from him to date.   So don’t hold your breath.

While it is truly nice to see the Fins put together 2 consecutive wins, the skies ahead do not look very bright, especially given that the win against the lowly Jaguars was very unimpressive.

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