It’s a bizarre feeling, two days before Thanksgiving, seeing the Ryan Tannehill-led Miami Dolphins entrenched inside the”in the hunt” category when it comes to the AFC playoff discussion.
They may be winning by slim margins but the fact they’re 6-4 is remarkable considering this team still appears to be lacking in talent across the board — offensive line, linebacker, secondary — and is without arguably its best player in safety Reshad Jones, who’s out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Even more stunning is the fact Tannehill not only rose to the occasion in Los Angeles, carving up an elite Rams defense down the stretch without three starting offensive linemen, but he predicted victory amid the gloomiest of circumstances.
Yes, despite a dreadful performance for 90 percent of the afternoon, Tannehill called the win down 10-0 in the closing minutes, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in an article on The MMQB, when the team’s win probability was dwindling at 4.2 percent.
The best defense in football over the last month (Los Angeles’) was throttling the Dolphins 10-0 with seven minutes left at the Coliseum. For some reason—confidence? stupidity?—quarterback Ryan Tannehill looked at the other 10 guys in the huddle before the first snap and said, “Take a deep breath, everybody. We’re gonna win this game.”
I hope “take a deep breath, everybody” wasn’t actually part of the QB’s motivational speech but it does play in line with the unassuming and boring picture he paints for himself.
Tell me he at least threw an F-bomb or two in there. Still, some solid chutzpah.
More Dolphins goodness:
Since getting the coaching job, Adam Gase has trusted Tannehill, and Tannehill has bought in. (Tannehill in their first meeting last winter: “What do you want me to do, coach?”) Gase has responded in kind. Tannehill helps make out the game plan by telling Gase what he likes and what he doesn’t; Gase gives Tannehill authority to change calls on the field without reservation. “I’m really excited where I’m at in this offense,” Tannehill said, sitting on the team bus after the game. It shows: In comeback wins over Buffalo, San Diego and the Rams in this streak, Tannehill had thrown for 264 yards in the last eight minutes of the three fourth quarters, with no turnovers.
“To win ball games in the fourth quarter,” Tannehill said, “you’ve got to play with confidence and a full knowledge of the offense. And you better be able to make some big plays.” Finally, Tannehill is doing that, and it looks like the Dolphins’ quarterback of the future is also their quarterback of the present. Won’t it be interesting if, on Jan. 1, in the last game of the season, the New England-at-Miami game has significance in a division that rarely is competitive in Week 17?