Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens felt like midnight for Cinderella. The Miami Dolphins’ fantasy of winning every game and improving every week and plowing into the playoffs came apart at least for one week.
And, yes, the grades based on tape study of the game reflect how the wheels came off the Miami playoff express. To wit, the grades from ProFootballFocus.com:
After posting the top QB grade in two of the past three weeks, QB Ryan Tannehill was the worst of any quarterback in the league for Week 13.
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He was solid facing no pressure (17-of-22 for 110 yards and 1 touchdown), but was terrible under pressure. Under pressure Tannehill completed 12-of-18 passes for 116 yards, but three of his incompletions were interceptions and he didn’t throw a TD in such situations. His performance dropped him from the 10th overall QB on the season to 15th now through 13 weeks.
And let us consider this: We’ve seen Tannehill for close to five full seasons. I think we can safely say we know what he is and what he is not. He is a solid quarterback. No more. No less.
He is going to have great games where fans will start to hope he’s still improving and he’s capable of reaching grand heights on a consistent basis. He is also going to have stinker games, like he did Sunday, and afterward fans will believe he just doesn’t get it. He isn’t accurate. He still doesn’t release the football quickly enough. He still struggles when the play breaks down.
I would submit Tannehill is consistently neither of those. What Tannehill is consistently is a solid-but-not-excellent quarterback. He’s good. He’s not great. He’s not bad. He may have moments of greatness. He may have games where he melts down. But those have to be factored into the overall picture of what he is.
He is a Top 15ish quarterback in the NFL.
He is not a quarterback who will put a team on his back and carry it to the playoffs. He is not a player who will hinder a team from going to the playoffs. He’s not the problem that one points to and agrees must be replaced. But neither is he the solution to all that ails the Dolphins.
He’s good. That’s it.
And that is exactly what the PFF overall grade for QBs says he is so far this season. Sounds about right.
Moving on ...
Rookie first-round pick Laremy Tunsil had his worst game of the season and was ranked 55 out of 56 qualifying guards for Week 13. He was especially poor in run blocking, where he was by far the worst-graded guard on the week.
Tunsil allowed two QB hurries and was guilty of three penalties as well, which was the most for any guard this week. His up-and-down season continues which is to be expected for a rookie.
To be fair, this was the first game Tunsil was playing since suffering his shoulder injury against the Los Angeles Rams three weeks ago. His PFF grade aside, my guess is he’ll make the necessary adjustments to his game to overcome the shoulder limitations.
WR Jarvis Landry was the same target monster Sunday that he was the first two and a half years of his career until recently. He had 14 targets, seven more than any other player, and caught 11 of them for 87 yards. His 14 targets were the most on the season (previous high was 12) and he now ranks 15th for all WR with 96 targets on the season, despite a run-first approach the team has taken on the past two months.
RB Jay Ajayi was impressive in his touches against the Ravens, although he didn't get as many as the team would hope because they trailed all game. He had 61 yards on 12 carries (5.1 avg.) but 59 of them came after contact and he forced seven missed tackles, the most for any RB on the week. Ajayi now ranks fourth in the league with 612 yards after contact and first in forced missed tackles with 44 through 13 weeks.
As a unit, the Dolphins' offensive line allowed 14 QB hurries in Week 13, tied for the most of any team with the Los Angeles Rams. They ranked 21st in pass blocking efficiency for the week. (PBE is a formula used that combines sacks, hits and hurries relative to the number of passing plays).
The Dolphins need center Mike Pouncey to get back. No, Anthony Steen does not stink. But Pouncey is simply the best offensive lineman on the team when he’s healthy. There is no getting around that. He is also the one who sets the attitude of the unit. That’s intangible. But it is also invaluable.
The Dolphins will know more about Pouncey’s availability going forward by Wednesday.
DE Cameron Wake had his lowest graded pass rushing game of the season and did not record a sack for the first time since Week 5. He was still able to record four QB hurries and now has 36 on the season and that makes him the No. 3-ranked 4-3 DE in terms of pass rushing grade through 13 weeks.
CB Byron Maxwell continues to quietly have a good season. He was targeted only three times on the afternoon, allowing two receptions for 9 yards and had an interception as well. He was the No. 3-ranked cornerback on the week in terms of pass coverage grade and on the season now ranks No. 6 in that same category for all cornerbacks.
The fact Maxwell had such a solid game and the Dolphins still yielded 381 passing yards to Baltimore QB Joe Flacco speaks to how poorly the rest of the secondary played and how little pressure the defensive front got.
DT Ndamukong Suh had another excellent performance against the Ravens, grading out as the third best NT/DT for Week 13. For the season, he ranks as the 2nd best overall at his position, trailing only the Rams' Aaron Donald. He ranks in the top 5 in QB hurries, QB hits, tackles, sacks, batted passes and stops.
Unlike the previous week, however, when Suh made that game-saving tackle on Colin Kaepernick, he had no signature or impactful play against Baltimore.
Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero