Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill's Quiet Rise Becoming Noisy in December

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Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill's Quiet Rise Becoming Noisy in December
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill is the forgotten man of the 2012 quarterback class.  In its NFL preview for the 2013 season, Sports Illustrated had four regional covers featuring Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.  The four quarterbacks were touted as "The New Kings."  

Tannehill is quietly putting together a strong sophomore season.  Tannehill currently ranks ninth among all quarterbacks in passing yards.  The Texas A&M standout has passed for more yards in 2013 than Luck, Griffin III, Wilson and Kaepernick.

Tannehill is tied for ninth in the league with 23 touchdown passes. That is one behind Wilson but more than Luck, Griffin III and Kaepernick.

Before Week 15 of the 2013 season, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) had Tannehill ranked as the eighth-best quarterback in the NFL based on its rating system.

Throughout the season, Tannehill has quietly ranked in the top 10 in many statistical categories, but there is only one statistic that makes noise: wins.  The effect of victories is exponential in December.

The Miami Dolphins are 3-0 in December.  Tannehill has a QB rating of 103.4 in December.

On December 1, Tannehill shredded the New York Jets defense, accumulating 331 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.  On December 8, Tannehill burned the Pittsburgh Steelers when he connected with Charles Clay for the come-from-behind, game-winning touchdown with 2:53 left in the fourth quarter.  

On December 15, Tannehill outdueled Tom Brady and, again, had a comeback, game-winning touchdown drive.  Tannehill's pass to Marcus Thigpen with 1:15 left dug the New England Patriots into a hole they could not climb out of.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami is 8-6 and in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Tannehill has done all this with little support from his running game, which ranks 24th in the league, averaging 95.3 yards per game, and an offensive line which has allowed him to be sacked a league-leading 51 times.

Miami's young quarterback has certainly turned some heads, but a playoff run will make it evident that Tannehill may be the most deserving among the NFL's young field generals to be called a future king.

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