Defeated defenders tend not be effusive in praise of the quarterback who just beat them, but the Jaguars were Sunday.
Veteran defensive end Jason Babin said of Tannehill, “He was really fast for as tall as he is, and, being so young, how quickly he was able to get rid of the ball.”
Jags linebacker Russell Allen added: “He’s got a bright future. He’s talented. He’s got all the tools.”
It starts with the quarterback, emanates from him, but Miami’s balance is what most impressed Sunday.
Reggie Bush topped 100 yards rushing, including a 53-yard burst, on 21 carries. (Two thoughts there: 1. The ball in Bush’s hands, a lot, is generally a good thing. 2. Don’t let this guy go too easily in free agency, Dolphins. He is a playmaker, on a team with too few of them.)
Defense and special teams (but for a comically failed fake field goal) also were solid Sunday.
“We played complementary football,” as linebacker Kevin Burnett put it
“The type of game we need to have more of,” understated Bush.
The snarky remedy might be to suggest the Dolphins simply schedule Jacksonville more often. And it bears repeating and underlining that all of our praise here for this victory, and for Tannehill’s performance in it, is delivered in the context of the opponent being very bad.
Don’t dismiss win
You know what, though? It is too easy to be too dismissive and just say, “Ah, the Jaguars stink!” When a team like Miami is mediocre-ing its way to a 10th nonplayoff season in the past 11 years, you don’t ask a victory to explain itself, or to apologize for itself. You don’t say, “Yeah, but…” You appreciate it, take from it what you can, and move forward.
And if all you take from this game based on a first head-to-head comparison is that Ryan Tannehill is better than the guy he replaced, well, that’s not nothing.
It is the baby steps, the small signs, that begin to build the body of evidence.
Can you feel a little better today about Tannehill — about the football and the future both being in his hands — than you did before Sunday?