The Miami Dolphins are playing meaningful football in late December for the first time since 2008. If Miami can manage to win its final two games, it is guaranteed a playoff spot. The biggest reason for the Dolphins' turnaround this season has been second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Ryan Tannehill needs 373 passing yards to become 1st #Dolphins with 4,000 in a season since 1994 (Dan Marino)— Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey) December 22, 2013
Tannehill has proved himself as the leader of the team and is leaving no doubt as to who the Dolphins' MVP is this season.
The only Dolphins quarterback who ever put up better numbers than Tannehill has this season was Hall of Famer Dan Marino. Tannehill is closing in on 4,000 yards passing and 30 touchdowns. The most impressive part about that could be that he's putting up these numbers with an inconsistent running game and an offensive line that has allowed a franchise-record 51 sacks.
By one measure, Ryan Tannehill is the NFL's 5th rated passer. Today's Hyde5 blog: http://t.co/C9OvHYshGq— Dave Hyde (@davehydesports) December 20, 2013
Tannehill is 10th in the league in passing yards (3,627), ninth in touchdown passes (23), ninth in completion percentage for quarterbacks who have started every game (62.4) and 10th in passing yards per game (259).
#Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill had a passer rating of 94.2, 95.5 and 120.6 during MIA's three-game winning streak.— James Walker (@JamesWalkerNFL) December 19, 2013
This season, Tannehill has victories over Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady. In Miami's Week 15 victory over New England, Tannehill outdueled Brady while completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Bleacher Report's AFC East Lead Writer Erik Frenz recently credited Tannehill for being the driving force behind Miami's playoff push. Mike Wallace praised Tannehill following Miami's 24-20 win over the Patriots. Wallace told Cristina Ledra of The Boston Globe:
For the last couple of weeks, I think Ryan’s been doing a great job getting everyone involved. That’s the way you have to keep it. If everybody’s into the football game and contributing, then everybody keeps their mojo going, everybody’s happy, and everybody feeds off each other.
With that TD pass, Ryan Tannehill becomes the first Dolphin not named Dan Marino to ever throw for at least 23 in a season. #NEvsMIA— Jesse Agler (@finsjesse) December 15, 2013
Tannehill's highlights from that victory of the Patriots can be seen here:
Tannehill has performed remarkably during the most important stretch of the season. His performance has been the driving force behind Miami's playoff push and has left no doubt about who this team's MVP really is.
All stats courtesy of NFL.com.