Miami Dolphins

Missed opportunities have ‘haunted’ Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill speaks after a 31-24 loss to the New York Giants on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill speaks after a 31-24 loss to the New York Giants on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. AP

At least Ryan Tannehill still has his sense of humor.

Peppered with questions this week about another failed Dolphins season — his fourth in as many years — Tannehill could have gone one of two ways.

He could have snapped. Or he could have a little bit of fun.

Tannehill, with a bit of savvy, chose the latter. Here’s how it went down:

Q: What’s the No. 1 reason the Dolphins are out of the playoff hunt with three weeks to go?

Tannehill: “We didn’t win enough games.”

Q: Why didn’t you win enough games?

Tannehill: “We didn’t score enough points.”

Q: Why didn’t you score enough points?

“Because we didn’t get in the end zone enough. I can keep going if you want.”

Tannehill’s news conference was a regular Abbott and Costello act.

What’s that old saying? Laugh to keep from crying.

So don’t mistake a little levity for lack of commitment. Tannehill has lost sleep over his final throw Monday night against the Giants, a miss that, for all intents and purposes, ended the Dolphins’ season.

Down a score late on third-and-long, Tannehill had Jarvis Landry wide open for a walk-in touchdown. He overthrew him by several feet. The Dolphins punted and wouldn’t get the ball again.

“I feel like I had a good game and I missed that last throw,” Tannehill said. “That’s one I’ve thought a lot about since then. It’s kind of haunted me a little bit, but there is nothing I can do about it now. Just make the throw the next time it pops up.”

The next time it pops up in a meaningful situation will be 2016 — a fact that gnaws at Tannehill and most everyone else in the Dolphins locker room.

Like center Mike Pouncey. He has been in the league for five years. He has never been on a team with a winning record.

This year was supposed to be different. Remember all that talk about championships in the summer? Now fans have nothing left but hope for a brighter future.

“You can blame it on a lot of different things,” Pouncey said. “I don’t know. I think we had very high expectations and we didn’t go out there and do what we set our goals as in the offseason, make the playoffs.

“Obviously, we didn’t accomplish that. I really don’t know what went wrong. Our whole goal was to go to the playoffs, and obviously that’s not going to happen now.”

When asked what he would tell long-suffering Dolphins fans, a generation of which have no memory of a playoff win, Pouncey responded:

“We are just as disappointed as they are. Obviously, no one sets their goals at the beginning of the season to not make the playoffs or finish average again. I’d tell them to stick with us, it’ll get better.”

A lot needs to happen for Pouncey to keep that promise. The secondary needs to be rebuilt. The Dolphins probably need two linebackers and at least one offensive guard.

Plus, they need their franchise quarterback to make franchise-defining throws in the late stages of games.

With Monday night’s loss, Tannehill’s career record fell to 28-33. Much of that failure has been beyond his control. But just as much of it has not.

“I care about winning,” Tannehill said. “You don’t play to throw X amount of touchdowns or X amount of yards. Whatever it takes to win. …

“I think that you play to win the game,” he continued. “You prepare to win the game and ultimately if you’re not winning you’re not getting it done enough. I think that’s what I look at — ways to win and what teams look at. You want to win. You want to be in the playoffs and competing for a Super Bowl.”

No joke.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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