Why a Win over the Pats Could Be a Signature Moment in Ryan Tannehill's Career

Thomas GaliciaContributor IIOctober 23, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 20:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins takes the field during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Every legendary quarterback has signature moments that their fans still talk about to this day. 

For Ryan Tannehill, one such moment came in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons, which is also the last time the Miami Dolphins emerged victorious. 

This week will give Tannehill the opportunity to add his second signature moment of the 2013 season and perhaps the biggest of his career—that is if he and the Dolphins can emerge victorious over the New England Patriots

At 3-3, the Dolphins are facing a must-win contest in Foxborough, and despite the myriad of problems the Dolphins have had all season—problems that have led to their current three-game losing streak—this is a winnable game for the Dolphins. 

That should explain it all when asking why a win over the Patriots would be a signature moment, but there's so much more to that. 

Ryan Tannehill faced New England twice last season, losing both times.

When the Dolphins went to Foxborough, it was one of the most embarrassing losses of Tannehill's young career, with the Dolphins getting shut out for the only time since Tannehill took over as starting quarterback. 

Redemption for that horrible game is one reason why it will be a signature victory. 

Tannehill's first visit to Foxborough is one to forget, can this one be one to remember?
Tannehill's first visit to Foxborough is one to forget, can this one be one to remember?/Getty Images

The other reason is the fact that it's the Patriots in Foxborough. It's been five years since the Dolphins beat the Pats on the road and four years since the Dolphins beat the Patriots anywhere. 

I don't have to explain that the Patriots are the AFC East's big dogs. Since 2001, they have won 10 division titles, five AFC championships and three Super Bowls. 

During that time, their record against Miami is 16-7. 

That's all of the historical stuff that makes a Dolphins' victory over New England this week a signature win for Tannehill if it gets pulled off. Currently, the game means even more. 

With a win the Dolphins move up to 4-3 while dropping the Patriots to 5-3, putting Miami half of a game behind New England. It also gives Miami the divisional tie-breaker over the Pats (until December at least), and thrusts them back into the AFC playoff picture. 

Momentum-wise, it could spur a turnaround.

After the Patriots, the Dolphins will make a quick turnaround and play the Cincinnati Bengals on Halloween Night (another potential signature win), followed by a stretch of games that includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. After that, they will face the San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers at home. 

That's a very winnable schedule for the Dolphins, one that could propel them into the postseason if they can attain a victory in New England. 

Can the Dolphins beat the Patriots?

It will be up to the coaching staff to not repeat their past mistakes and the players to execute well. If they do that, they should remain competitive throughout the game with the Patriots. 

Most importantly, Ryan Tannehill can not repeat his past mistakes and has to execute well himself. If he does just that, Miami can beat New England. 

If that happens, Ryan Tannehill will get his second signature win of the season.

Hopefully one of many still to come throughout his career.