Ryan Tannehill is not a particularly good quarterback in road divisional games.
This is not an opinion. It’s a quantifiable fact.
His numbers in 10 AFC East road games:
▪ Seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions (In his 45 other starts, he has 69 touchdowns and 39 picks).
▪ A passer rating of 68.5 (Well below his career average of 84.4).
▪ A completion percentage of 58.9 (Also below his lifetime standard).
▪ And, most damning, a 3-7 record as a starter — and one of those wins came in a game that he left after just five passes due to injury.
Even worse, he really hasn’t even kept them competitive in divisional road games. The Dolphins have been shut out twice in the past four years. They’ve been outscored by an average of 9.4 points per game. And they’ve lost by double figures six times.
That trend continued last Thursday in New England, where Tannehill threw two costly interceptions in the Dolphins’ 36-7 loss to the Patriots.
The road gets no easier. Up next: A trip to Buffalo, where Tannehill is winless in three visits. Buffalo has outscored Miami 67-24 in those games.
And yet, Tannehill insists he enjoys playing in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
“It’s a fun football environment,” Tannehill said. “Obviously it’s hostile and their fans love the Bills. So as a football fan, as a guy who enjoys the game of football — there’s not a better road place to play just because the intensity of the atmosphere.”
The problem is, the Dolphins in general — and Tannehill in particular — haven’t matched that intensity.
The last time they played up there, they didn’t have much of a chance.
It was Buffalo’s home opener. The Bills honored cancer survivor Jim Kelly before the game. And if that wasn’t enough, the crowd was buoyed by new Bills owner Terry Pegula’s pledge to keep the Bills in town.
The No. 1 knock on Tannehilll has been his consistent lack of consistency. The past two weeks have crystalized that issue.
Four days after producing the most efficient game by a Dolphins quarterback in a home win over the Texans, he looked lost against the Patriots.
Last Thursday marked the third time this season he has had a passer rating under 65. His rating has been over 90 in the other four games.
“I think it’s just going out and playing the game,” Tannehill said. “Taking what’s there and making the plays that are available.”
Interim coach Dan Campbell didn’t deviate from his now-familiar script when asked about Tannehill’s inconsistency; instead of criticizing Tannehill, he said the players around him need to play better.
“We have to take a load off of him, just as a whole: our production that we have on early downs; our defense playing good football,” Campbell said. “We need to look at the rest of the team a little bit. You need to look at your run game or your short throws. You need to look at how your defense is playing as a whole. If those are better around him, that’s going to make him that much better.”
The area with room for the most improvement in Tannehill’s game is his production on third downs. The Dolphins rank 31st in third-down conversions (27.2 percent) and have failed in all but three of their past 20 tries.
A big reason: They haven’t had nearly enough production on first and second down.
“It’s huge,” Tannehill said. “Obviously I think that [was a factor in] the two most recent losses. I don’t know exactly the number, but a lot of those are third-and-long. So we’ve got to be in third-and-manageable.”
No joy division
A look at Ryan Tannehill’s numbers against AFC East opponents on the road in his career:
Oct. 29, 2015
Dec. 14, 2014
Dec. 1, 2014
Def NYJ 16-13
Sept. 14, 2014
Dec. 22, 2013
Dec. 1, 2013
Def NYJ 23-3
Oct. 27, 2013
Dec. 30, 2012
Nov. 15, 2012
Oct. 28, 2012
Def NYJ 30-9