Rams vs. Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill Proves Miami Doesn't Need to Rely on the Run

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IOctober 14, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 14:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins walks off the field after winning  a game against the St. Louis Rams at Sun Life Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In the Miami Dolphins' first five games, quarterback Ryan Tannehill managed the game while the running game and defense carried the load.

This week, Tannehill didn't get much help from either the run game or the defense. The Dolphins were held to just 1.1 yards per carry and were outgained by a total of 252 yards (461-209).

This week, Tannehill had, without question, the best game of his young career, going 21-for-29 passing (72.4 percent) for 185 yards (6.4 YPA) and two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 112.

Widely believed to be a project headed into the season, Tannehill took a little bit to get warmed up. 

That was perfectly alright, while the Dolphins were among the league's best rushing teams, but when their rushing attack started to slip, beginning three weeks ago against the Cardinals, Tannehill started to step up.

Tannehill didn't deliver on as many big throws on Sunday as he did against the Cardinals, but his 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marlon Moore was exactly the type of big-league throw the Dolphins drafted him to make.

The defense may have given up a good share of yards, but did their share by holding the Rams to 14 points, 3-for-13 on third down (23.1 percent) and 1-for-3 in the red zone (33.3 percent).

Were it not for a gutsy performance by Tannehill against the Rams defense, which had allowed a passer rating of just 66.6 before today, the offensive output wouldn't have been enough.

The Dolphins themselves were not very good on third down, converting just 4-of-12 opportunities to extend their drives. Many of those, though, were poor down-and-distance situations forced by bad plays on first and second down, including a 3rd-and-27 and a 3rd-and-16, as well as two failed runs on 3rd-and-1. 

Tannehill overcame the circumstances, and though it wasn't always pretty, it was enough to get the job done.

The Dolphins have their bye week at 3-3 after the win, and could easily be 5-1 at this juncture were it not for a few minutes of bad football in their two overtime losses. 

The promising thing for this Dolphins team going forward is that, even as pieces get shut out and/or underperform in any given game, they continue to find ways to compete, keep the game close, and in their past two games, come out with a win.



Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.