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Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a very solid outing. He got the football out of his hands quickly and decisively, and his throws were accurate and showed a lot of zip. He dealt with pressure as well as he could under the circumstances.
While the Miami ground game did not help him, he was able to manufacture scoring drives on his own with a lot of accurate passes.
The thing that separates Tannehill from an “A” grade is the fact that he did not take care of the football in the most optimal way.
He threw an interception that was 100 percent his fault. Tannehill locked his eyes on his target as he crossed from left to right, and did not see the defender. Additionally, Ryan had two more poor throws during the game that could have been picked off.
In both cases, the decision-making was sound but the throw was inaccurate. This is a big factor when it comes to grading a quarterback. Had the defense capitalized on all three opportunities, some people would look at the day Ryan had and call it a bad one. When a quarterback leaves the football out there for the defense to snatch away, it has to be taken seriously.
That said, I feel Ryan Tannehill is taking a little too much criticism for his handling of pressure during the game. In clocking his plays, I found that pass-rushers made first contact with Tannehill within 3.0 seconds on all four of his sacks. Tannehill either got the football out of his hands, pulled the football down to scramble, or was contacted by a defender in the pocket within 2.5 seconds on about 29 of 45 plays (counting those called back on penalty).
He had the football out of his hands within 2.0 seconds on 21 of 45 plays. He was extremely decisive with the football, but his protection was not holding up on those occasions when he held the football a little bit longer than 2.5 seconds.
Most quarterbacks hold the ball longer than 2.5 seconds about half the time. However, Dolphins fans have become so apologetic for the poor line play that a certain percentage of them will criticize Tannehill for holding the football too long any single time he does that.
There were several occasions when Ryan pulled the football down and tried to scramble because his internal clock went off—one of his sacks came on a play like this.
However, these plays are not usually going to turn into sacks if the protection is holding up. A lot of them will turn into positive scrambles, with good line play. Tannehill did not have the luxury of good line play and so he could not do that.