The difference between Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s defining plays against Green Bay — his second interception of the game and his 40-yard run that led to Miami’s first touchdown — was halftime.
Despite an impressive second-half turnaround on offense, the Dolphins were unable to rally for an upset Sunday and lost to the Green Bay Packers 27-24 at Sun Life Stadium.
“We didn’t play well in the first half, you know, I didn’t play well, we didn’t play well as a unit,” Tannehill said.
“Too many mistakes, didn’t capitalize being down inside the five, which is a must — you play any team in the NFL, you get down inside the five, we expect to score — we didn’t get that done, and we just didn’t make enough plays in the first half in general. You can’t depend on one half. Defense played great, kept us in the game, but we didn’t make enough plays in the first half.”
Tannehill rebounded from an abysmal first half in which he completed only 8 of 16 passes for 84 yards and two interceptions. He went 12 of 15 for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the second.
The quarterback took the momentum from his 40-yard run and recovered on drives that started with incomplete passes. He hit five receivers, didn’t throw an interception, didn’t get sacked and ate up clock until he couldn’t anymore.
It didn’t hurt that Green Bay wasn’t used to playing in nearly 90-degree temperatures with 63 percent humidity. The Packers also lost two of their cornerbacks to injury in the second half.
But home-field advantage notwithstanding, everything had changed after halftime.
“I think guys were making plays,” Tannehill said. “You saw some short passes, where guys were breaking a tackle, making a guy miss, getting extra yardage. That mindset, that attitude, translates to the whole offense, and once we started doing that then we started moving the ball and making more plays.”
Receiver Jarvis Landry, who caught an 11-yard pass from Tannehill in the third quarter for the Dolphin’s first touchdown, said the team didn’t make any strategic adjustments at the half.
In the locker room, the team simply regrouped and saw familiar — and salvageable — circumstances.
“We’ve been here before,” Landry said. “You look at the Patriots game, we’ve been down before, we had the opportunity to come out with the ball, and I was trying to set a tone for the second half, and that’s what we did.”
The worrying part of that storyline is neither Tannehill, nor his receivers, nor his offensive line, nor coach Joe Philbin, seem to know how to make the Dolphins offense click from the get-go.
And Miami doesn’t have many more teams such as the woeful and winless Oakland Raiders left on the schedule to play.
“I honestly couldn’t even tell you,” receiver Mike Wallace said of the team’s slow starts on offense. “I wish I did know so we could tell coach and we could fix it. I feel like our guys have fire, I don’t know if we just settle in more, but we just have to. You see what happens when we get a fast start and when we get a slow start, so obviously we want to get a fast start.”