Breaking Down Ryan Tannehill's First 32 Starts for the Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill has now had two full seasons as the quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. During that span he has accomplished some good things and some bad. Tannehill has proven to be one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league during his time with the Dolphins. He has been sacked 93 times over the last two seasons.
Tannehill will enter his third season with the Dolphins surrounded by uncertainty. His offensive line is in shambles, his running game virtually non-existent and some major free agents on the defensive side of the ball need to be re-signed.
Tannehill will have to overcome and adapt to any changes that may be made during the offseason. For Miami to become a contender once again, Tannehill will have to improve his decision making and accuracy.
There is no way of knowing what next season will hold for Tannehill and the Dolphins. What we do know is what the last two seasons have been. The following slides will break down Tannehill's performance from all 32 games over the last two seasons. Things weren't always pretty, but the leap he made from his rookie year to this past season was astronomical.
With any luck, 2014 will bring another leap in performance. But for now I give you Tannehill's game-to-game performances thus far.
September 9, 2012 @ Houston
When Miami selected Tannehill with the eighth overall pick of the 2012 draft, many experts believed he would spend at least a year on the bench prior to starting. Tannehill would end up being the opening-day starter for the Dolphins; just two seasons removed from playing wide-receiver, and it showed.
Tannehill struggled in his first NFL start. The quarterback completed a respectable 20 of 36 pass attempts for 219 yards. The major issue came in the form of interceptions. Tannehill failed to throw a touchdown pass in his first start but did manage to throw three interceptions. He was also sacked twice and had three carries for negative four yards. Not an ideal game for any quarterback.
The Dolphins would fall to the Texans 30-10, and early speculation began that Miami had made a poor choice by drafting Tannehill. The young quarterback would show his resiliency just one week later.
September 16, 2012 vs. Oakland
Tannehill's first home game would look much differently than his first career start. In just his second career start, Tannehill would complete 18 of 30 passes for 200 yards and would get his first career passing touchdown. He would also record his first rushing touchdown that same day.
The star of the game was Reggie Bush, who ended up with 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns. That did little to take the day away from Tannehill. He would finish the game with a quarterback rating of 91.0, and the Dolphins would coast to a 35-13 victory over the Raiders.
Tannehill and the Dolphins would celebrate their first win of the season before turning their focus to their most hated rival, the New York Jets.
September 23, 2012 vs. New York
Tannehill's first taste of the Dolphins/Jets rivalry would be bitter. The Dolphins would battle their AFC East rival into overtime before falling 23-20. This was the game when coach Joe Philbin attempted to ice Jets kicker Nick Folk in overtime (via Associated Press). The Dolphins would block the field-goal in overtime, but the play would be negated by the timeout. Moments later, Folk would drill a 33-yarder and lift the Jets to a victory on the road.
Tannehill wouldn't fair much better than his coach on this day. The rookie quarterback completed just 16 of 36 passes for 196 yards and zero touchdowns. He would also throw his fourth interception of the season. This was the first of a handful of games the Dolphins let slip away during the Tannehill era.
The Dolphins' trip to Arizona the following week would have a similar result.
September 30, 2012 @ Arizona
If the overtime loss to the Jets could be placed on Philbin, then the overtime loss to the Cardinals was squarely on Tannehill. The Dolphins traveled to Arizona looking to knock off the undefeated Cardinals and climb back to .500 on the season. The Dolphins had the Cardinals on the ropes before Tannehill crumbled.
With three minutes remaining, the Dolphins held a 21-14 lead and were nearing field-goal range. Tannehill was sacked for the fourth time in the game and fumbled the ball. The Cardinals recovered the fumble at the 50-yard line and would send the game to overtime tied at 21.
Tannehill threw his second interception of the game during the overtime period. The Dolphins fell to the Cardinals 24-21 and were now 1-3 when they seemingly should have been 3-1. The Dolphins outgained the Cardinals 480-297 as Tannehill threw for 431 yards and a touchdown on 26 of 41 passing.
This would have been Tannehill's breakout game if not for his costly and ill-timed mistakes. Miami would stay on the road the following week to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.
October 7, 2012 @ Cincinnati
The Dolphins would once again find their way into the win column against the Bengals. Tannehill wouldn't do much in this contest, as yardage and points were at a premium. However, the young quarterback would avoid any costly mistakes and continued his streak of accurate passing.
Tannehill finished the game 17 of 26 for 223 yards with zero touchdowns or interceptions. The game was a defensive battle throughout as neither team was able to gain 300 total yards. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw two interceptions, including one with 1:22 left to play that allowed the Dolphins to hold on for a 17-13 victory.
Tannehill had his first road victory and his second consecutive game with at least 63 percent of his passes completed.
October 14, 2012 vs. St. Louis
The Dolphins would return to Sun Life Stadium for a critical matchup with the St. Louis Rams. The Dolphins were looking to head into their bye week with 3-3 record. Tannehill would play a major hand in the Dolphins pulling out a 17-14 victory over the Rams.
Tannehill would have the best game of his young career. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Sure he didn't have huge numbers as far as yardage goes, but he threw accurate passes all game and played mistake free. This was Tannehill's first time throwing for multiple touchdowns.
Tannehill had now led the Dolphins to back-to-back victories, and his 72 percent completion rate extended his streak of games with a 63 percent completion rate or better to three games. He finished with a quarterback rating of 112, and the Dolphins would head to their off week back in the playoff hunt.
October 28, 2012 @ New York
The Dolphins had an extra week to prepare for their rematch with the Jets and it showed. Miami dominated the Jets for a 30-9 victory, their third win in a row. The Dolphins had their first divisional win of the season and were above .500 for the first time in the Tannehill era.
Tannehill got the start but left early due to an apparent leg injury. In his short time on the field he completed two of five passes for 18 yards. Matt Moore would play well in his relief appearance, and the Dolphins defense would contain the Jets.
Miami easily rolled over the Jets even without Tannehill.
November 4, 2012 @ Indianapolis
The Dolphins would head to Indianapolis on a three-game winning streak. This game was marketed as the first meeting between Tannehill and Andrew Luck. Luck had been the first selection of the 2012 NFL draft, just seven spots ahead of Tannehill. The two young guns would not disappoint on this day.
Tannehill continued his solid play by completing 22 of 38 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown. This was his fourth consecutive game without a turnover. Tannehill played well and put the Dolphins in position to get the win. Unfortunately, the Dolphins defense was unable to stop Luck.
Luck would set an NFL rookie record by throwing for 433 yards while leading the Colts to a 23-20 victory. It was unfortunate for Tannehill especially. Another solid game and an opportunity to earn a road win over the top draft pick slipped away through no fault of his own.
November 11, 2012 vs. Tennessee
A string of impressive performances would come to an end against the Titans. Tannehill would complete 23 of 39 passes for 217 and no touchdowns. On top of that, the rookie would throw three interceptions as the Titans embarrassed the Dolphins 37-3.
There isn't a whole lot to say about this game. Tannehill showed poor decision making and played his worst game since the season opener at Houston. His streak of four straight games without a turnover came to an end, and the Dolphins looked under prepared and unmotivated, falling to 4-5 under Tannehill.
November 15, 2012 @ Buffalo
Tannehill had his first taste of prime-time football when Miami traveled to Buffalo for a Thursday night game with the Bills. This game was especially painful for me because I made the trip to Buffalo and watched the debacle in person.
The Dolphins would fall to the Bills 19-14 after Tannehill threw his second interception with less than two minutes to play. The Dolphins defense kept the Bills offense from scoring a touchdown, but it did not matter. The Dolphins offense would manage just 184 yards of offense.
Tannehill would finish the game with 14 completions on 28 attempts for 141 yards and a touchdown. A less than stellar performance in prime time against a divisional opponent.
November 25, 2012 vs. Seattle
Tannehill and Co. would host the Seahawks in a must-win game for the Dolphins. Miami had dropped three straight games and was in danger of falling out of playoff contention. After back-to-back awful performances, Tannehill rose to the occasion against Seattle.
Tannehill would throw an interception for a third consecutive game but salvaged the day by leading the Dolphins on a 65-yard game-winning drive to end the game. Tannehill would finish 18 of 26 for 253 yards and a touchdown. Tannehill executed the two-minute offense flawlessly to set up Dan Carpenter for the game-winning kick.
The Dolphins kept their playoff hopes alive with a 24-21 victory, and Tannehill earned a big win over Russell Wilson.
December 2, 2012 vs. New England
Following the big win over Seattle, Tannehill went head-to-head with Tom Brady for the first time in his career. The Dolphins fell to the Patriots 23-16 despite intercepting Brady, sacking him four times and holding him to just 24 completions on 40 attempts.
Tannehill was unable to match Brady, although he shouldn't be expected to at this point of his career. Tannehill would finish the game 13 of 29 for 186 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He would have one fumble which extended his streak of games with a turnover to four.
The loss dropped Miami to 5-7 on the year and extended their losing streak against the Patriots to five games. At this point of the season, Tannehill had thrown for seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
December 9, 2012 @ San Francisco
Tannehill would make his first start on the West Coast against Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. Tannehill completed 17 of his 33 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown. The Dolphins defense was unable to stop the 49ers rushing attack while the offense failed to truly threaten San Francisco at any point.
If there was a silver lining to the Dolphins' eighth loss of the season, it was Tannehill avoiding turning the ball over on a day he threw 33 passes against one of the league's top defenses.
Miami dropped to 5-8 under Tannehill and saw their playoff hopes on life support.
December 16, 2012 vs. Jacksonville
The Dolphins welcomed the Jacksonville Jaguars to Sun Life Stadium having lost five of their last six games. Tannehill helped the Dolphins end their losing streak by completing 22 of 28 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. He would have his third fumble of the season but would extend his streak of games without an interception to three as well.
This was a meeting between the Dolphins' former quarterback and their current quarterback, as Chad Henne got the start for Jacksonville. Henne had one more passing yard than Tannehill but as a whole was outplayed by the Dolphins rookie.
Tannehill led the Dolphins to their sixth win of the season, and miraculously they still had a slim chance at making the playoffs.
December 23, 2012 vs. Buffalo
The Dolphins' home finale during Tannehill's rookie season was against the Buffalo Bills. Tannehill continued his solid late-season play by leading the Dolphins to a 24-10 victory over a divisional opponent. The Dolphins defense forced four turnovers, and the offense was able to capitalize for a big victory.
Tannehill completed just 13 passes for 130 yards but managed two touchdowns and no turnovers. This marked the first time in his professional career that Tannehill had back-to-back games with multiple passing touchdowns. It was also his fourth game in a row without an interception.
The win pushed the Dolphins to 7-8 and gave them a chance to finish the season at .500 and possibly a chance to sneak into the playoffs.
December 30, 2012 @ New England
The season finale for the Dolphins came on the road against the Patriots, who were playing for a first-round bye. The Dolphins were dominated from start to finish in this one, as the Patriots rolled to an easy 28-0 victory. It was the first time that the Dolphins had been shut out during the Tannehill era.
Tannehill received little help in this game from his running backs or offensive lineman. Miami rushed for just 47 yards, and Tannehill was sacked a season-high seven times. He finished the game with 20 completions on 35 attempts for 235 yards with one interception and a fumble.
Miami's slim chances at a playoff spot as well as an 8-8 season went out the window, and without much resistance from the Dolphins. Miami would finish Tannehill's rookie season 7-9.
As a rookie, Tannehill completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 3,294 yards and had 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He was also sacked 35 times and lost four fumbles. His stats were the least impressive of any rookie quarterbacks, but he also had the weakest supporting cast. Remember, this was after Brandon Marshall but before Mike Wallace. Also, Reggie Bush fell out of favor with Joe Philbin late in the season.
He set franchise records for passing yards, completions and attempts by a rookie quarterback.
Although the finale did not go as planned, Tannehill's strong finish to the 2012 season gave many hope that he could develop into the franchise quarterback Miami has searched for since Dan Marino retired.
September 8, 2013 @ Cleveland
The 2013 season for the Miami Dolphins started off on the road against the Cleveland Browns. Tannehill would have a modest start to his sophomore season, completing 24 of 38 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown. He would also throw an interception and be sacked four times. He was sacked four or more times just twice during his rookie season.
A victory over the Browns is hardly an indicator of future success. But Tannehill lead the Dolphins to an opening victory on the road which is never an easy task in the NFL. The Dolphins topped the Browns 23-10.
September 15, 2013 @ Indianapolis
For the second year in a row Tannehill and the Dolphins hit the road to take on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. This time around, Tannehill would get the better of Luck and the Colts. Tannehill led the Dolphins to a 24-20 victory in Indy.
Tannehill matched Luck throw for throw, and the Dolphins defense forced a rare mistake by Luck late to hold on for the win. Tannehill finished the game with 23 completions on 34 attempts for 319 yards and a touchdown. He did have one fumble and was sacked five times, but the defense was tough enough to seal the win for Miami.
September 22, 2013 vs. Atlanta
The Dolphins didn't play their first home game until Week 3 of the 2013 season. It was well worth the wait. The Dolphins and Falcons played a back-and-forth contest that ended with Tannehill throwing a game-winning touchdown pass as time expired.
At that point of his career, this was Tannehill's defining moment. The Dolphins trailed throughout most of the game but never gave in. Tannehill completed 24 of 35 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns came in the final 16 minutes of the game. Tannehill had one interception and a fumble, but he was at his best when it mattered most.
The result was an electrified crowd going home happy and Miami heading to New Orleans 3-0.
September 30, 2013 @ New Orleans
Tannehill led Miami into the Superdome for a Monday night showdown between two undefeated teams. This was the biggest game of Tannehill's young career and his first appearance on Monday Night Football against future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and the Saints. This was a major test as to whether or not Tannehill and the Dolphins were ready to compete with the elite teams of the NFL.
Tannehill failed that test miserably. The young quarterback had three interceptions and a fumble. He completed 22 of 35 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown. Tannehill was critical of his performance following the game. He told the Associated Press (via ESPN), "Obviously you don't want to come out and perform like that. But you look at it and there are things you can correct."
Fortunately for the Dolphins, Tannehill's decision making would improve the next week. Unfortunately for Miami, the result would be the same.
October 6, 2013 vs. Baltimore
Tannehill would avoid the turnover bug against the Ravens, but the Dolphins would still come up short, losing 26-23. Tannehill did record his second 300-plus yards passing performance of the year. He completed 21 of 40 attempts for 307 yards and a touchdown.
He was sacked six times to bring his season total to a league-worst 24. Although Miami came up short, there is something to be said about a young quarterback who can bounce back after having arguably the worst game of his career the week before on national TV.
The Dolphins went into their bye week 3-2 after starting the season 3-0.
October 20, 2013 vs. Buffalo
Miami would look to end their losing streak against a divisional opponent, the Buffalo Bills. Tannehill put Miami in an early hole after he threw an interception on the first play of the game that was returned for a touchdown. He would also fumble the ball with less than three minutes remaining, which would lead to the game-winning field goal for the Bills.
Tannehill completed 19 of his 37 passes for 194 yards and had three touchdowns and two interceptions. He would record his lowest completion percentage of the season thus far, completing just 51.4 percent of his pass attempts.
Despite the awful play by Tannehill and the offense, Miami should have prevailed in this game. Tannehill's costly fumble late in the fourth quarter proved to be the deciding factor.
October 27, 2013 @ New England
The Dolphins would follow a heart-breaking loss to the Bills with an equally disappointing loss to the division-leading Patriots the following week. Miami held a 17-3 halftime advantage before losing 27-17. Tannehill completed 22 of 42 pass attempts for 192 yards with two touchdowns and had two interceptions. He was also sacked six times and fumbled once.
This game was a tale of two halves. Tannehill and the Dolphins had a two-touchdown lead at halftime behind two first-half touchdown passes and no first-half turnovers. The second half of the game saw Tannehill commit three turnovers and the Dolphins offense stall over and over again.
This was a nightmare scenario for the Dolphins. Miami had lost four in a row after starting off 3-0. Tannehill had committed three or more turnovers in three of the last four games. The season was in danger of slipping away.
October 31, 2013 vs. Cincinnati
The Dolphins would play their second prime-time game of the season when they hosted the Cincinnati Bengals on Halloween night. The Dolphins won the game in dramatic fashion after Cameron Wake sacked Andy Dalton for a safety in overtime. Lost in the excitement was the fact that quarterback play determined the eventual outcome.
Tannehill completed 20 of 28 passes for 208 yards and no touchdowns. He also recorded his first rushing touchdown of the season and was sacked three times. The most important stat is this, zero turnovers. Tannehill completed 71.4 percent of his passes and committed zero turnovers for just the second time this season.
Dalton on the other hand threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. Sometimes the most important thing for a quarterback to do is not make the great throws, but avoid making the bad throws. In that regard, Tannehill far surpassed Dalton on Halloween.
November 11, 2013 @ Tampa Bay
The Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin scandal broke just days before the Dolphins' second Monday Night Football game. Down two starters on the offensive line, Miami's rushing attack was non-existent. The Dolphins rushed for just two total yards against the Bucs.
Tannehill did what he could to keep the Dolphins in the game. After falling behind 15-0, the Dolphins would score 19 unanswered points, highlighted by two touchdown passes from Tannehill. The distraction of the offensive line scandal and the embarrassing running game proved to be Miami's undoing. The Dolphins could not hold the lead and fell to the Bucs 22-19.
Tannehill attempted to lead Miami on a game-winning drive but was sacked on back-to-back plays to end the game. At this point of the season, Tannehill had been sacked on 10 percent of his dropbacks. The quarterback finished the game 27 of 42, with 229 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
November 17, 2013 vs. San Diego
The Dolphins hosted the Chargers in a game that would have huge playoff implications and was considered by many to be a must-win for both teams. The Dolphins had lost five of their last six after starting 3-0 and were on the brink of imploding.
Tannehill bested Philip Rivers in the first and only meeting between the two as Tannehill's Dolphins pulled out a 20-16 win. A late defensive stand by the Dolphins proved to be the difference.
Tannehill completed 22 of 35 passes for 268 yards, one touchdown and had one interception. The Dolphins earned a much-needed victory to get back to an even 5-5 on the season.
November 24, 2013 vs. Carolina
The road didn't get any easier for the Dolphins as they welcomed the Carolina Panthers and one of the NFL's toughest defenses. This was another gut-wrenching loss for the Dolphins. The Dolphins defense was unable to stop Cam Newton late, and the Panthers quarterback led Carolina to the game-winning score with just 43 seconds remaining. Miami lost 20-16.
For Tannehill, this loss was especially tough. He recovered from an early interception and completely outplayed Newton. Tannehill completed 28 of 42 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown. The most exciting part about Tannehill's performance on this day was the sudden emergence of his deep ball. His touchdown pass was a 53-yard bomb to Mike Wallace, and he connected a second time with Wallace for 57 yards.
Tannehill gave Wallace a chance in the closing seconds. He dropped back and let one fly towards the end zone. The pass sailed 60 yards before falling through the hands of Wallace and landing incomplete. This was another case of the Dolphins losing a game their young quarterback gave them a chance to win.
December 1, 2013 @ New York
Tannehill would build off of his strong performance against the Panthers the next week when the Dolphins battled the Jets. Tannehill completed 28 of 43 passes for 331 yards, two touchdowns and had one interception. This was Tannehill's fourth 300-plus yards passing performance of the season and his second in a row.
The Dolphins dominated the Jets from start to finish for a 23-3 victory on the road. The win put Miami back at .500 and kept them in the playoff picture. The Dolphins held the Jets to 177 total yards while recording 453 total yards.
This was Miami's most convincing win of the season.
December 8, 2013 @ Pittsburgh
The Dolphins had to battle the elements in their showdown with the Steelers. This game is remembered most for Antonio Brown stepping out of bounds on the final play of the game and for Mike Wallace's return to Pittsburgh.
What many forget is that Tannehill led the Dolphins on two scoring drives late in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins took the lead after Tannehill hit Charles Clay for a 12-yard touchdown with 2:53 to play. Miami extended the lead after Tannehill led them within field-goal range just moments later.
Tannehill completed 80 percent of his passes inside the red zone, including three touchdowns. For the game, Tannehill completed 20 of 33 passes for 200 yards, three touchdowns and had one interception. He also added 56 rushing yards to his stats.
The Dolphins would earn a 34-28 win in Pittsburgh. The win gave Miami back-to-back conference victories on the road and set up a major battle with the Patriots the next week.
December 15, 2013 vs. New England
The Dolphins' 2013 rematch with the Patriots was the highlight of the Tannehill era. The Dolphins were 7-6 and very much alive in the playoff hunt, with an outside shot at the division. The Dolphins would snap an eight-game losing streak to the Patriots with a dramatic 24-20 victory over the Pats.
Tannehill would play without question the best game of his professional career. He completed 25 of 37 pass attempts for 312 yards, three touchdowns and had no turnovers. Tannehill led Miami down the field and hit Marcus Thigpen for the game-winning touchdown with 1:15 left to play.
The Dolphins defense would intercept Tom Brady in the closing seconds and celebrate the franchise's biggest victory since winning the division in 2008. This was Tannehill's coming-out party. The Dolphins finished the day in control of their own playoff destiny with an 8-6 record.
Tannehill's highlights from the game can be seen in the accompanying video.
December 22, 2013 @ Buffalo
If the victory over the Patriots was the high point of the season, the rematch against the Bills was the low point. Tannehill was sacked seven times in this game and was pressured nearly every time he dropped back. He would leave the game late with a lower-body injury.
Prior to exiting the game, Tannehill completed just 10 of 27 passes for 82 yards and no touchdowns and had no interceptions. The Dolphins offense was lifeless all day, mustering just 103 total yards of offense. Miami was shutout for the first time this season and the second time in the Tannehill era, falling to the Bills 19-0.
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Dolphins and left them at 8-7, needing a win and some help to reach the playoffs.
December 29, 2013 vs. New York
The 2013 season finale for the Miami Dolphins was one that will leave many scratching their heads for a long time to come. Tannehill and the Dolphins needed a win and losses by the Ravens and Chiefs to make the playoffs. The Ravens and Chiefs went down, and the Dolphins showed no interest in making the playoffs.
Miami was eliminated from playoff contention after losing their home finale against the Jets. The Dolphins lost 20-7, but the game wasn't even that close. Tannehill completed 20 of 40 passes for 204 yards, one touchdown and threw three interceptions. This game left a lot of people questioning whether or not Tannehill is capable of becoming a franchise quarterback.
It was the most important game of the season and he completely disappeared. Miami finished the second year of the Tannehill era a disappointing 8-8.
Tannehill has done some great things since joining the Miami Dolphins. The problem is he has done just as many poor things. On one hand he is the only Dolphins quarterback not named Dan Marino to have back-to-back 3000-yard passing seasons. On the other hand, he has 32 starts and 39 turnovers (30 picks and nine fumbles).
Tanehill's career stats are as follows:
Pass attempts: 1,072
Pass completions: 637
Completion percentage: 59.4
Total passing yards: 7,207
Passing touchdowns: 36
Rushing Touchdowns: 3
QB rating: 79.1
Tannehill is still young and has a huge upside, but a completion percentage below 60 percent combined with the fact that he has the same number of touchdowns as he does turnovers will not help his cause. Tannehill was always viewed as a project player, and many people were surprised he was named the starter as a rookie.
Tannehill showed improvement from 2012 to 2013, but 2014 could be a make-or-break year for the young quarterback. New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor worked wonders for Nick Foles, so perhaps a system and coaching change is exactly what Tannehill needs to elevate his game.
Tannehill has shown amazing toughness. Over the last two years he has been sacked 93 times which is more than any other quarterback. Heart and toughness are attributes that cannot be measured. Tannehill has shown he has both. The flaws in his game are correctable.
Only time will tell if he corrects his flaws before the Dolphins are once again searching for a quarterback.
All stats courtesy of NFL.com