The last time the Dolphins had a 1,000-yard rusher: 2011, Reggie Bush. The last time the Dolphins had a 4,000-yard passer: 1994, Dan Marino. The last time the Dolphins had a 4,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season?
Never before Sunday.
First, there was running back Lamar Miller, who streaked past 1,000 rushing yards during a 97-yard touchdown run, the longest run in Dolphins history by 20 yards. After 178 yards on 19 carries Sunday, Miller had 1,099 yards for the season and a 5.1 yards-per-carry average.
A 17-yard completion to Jarvis Landry on the Dolphins’ first offensive play of the fourth quarter pushed quarterback Ryan Tannehill over 4,000 yards passing for the season, a milestone previously hit by only Marino (six times) among Dolphins quarterbacks. An 11-yard completion to Landry in the third quarter broke Marino’s single-season franchise completions record of 385 set in 1994.
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Tannehill would end up with 4,045 yards on 392 completions and a 66.4 completion percentage, the second-best in franchise history behind Chad Pennington’s 67.4 percent in 2008.
That year, the Dolphins record read 11-5. They won the AFC East on a tiebreaker and made their only playoff appearance of the past 13 seasons. Sunday’s 37-24 loss prevented the already-playoff-dead Dolphins from even the pride of their first winning record since 2008.
“It doesn’t mean a lot to me right now,” Tannehill said of the 4,000 yards. “I just wanted to win.”
Pressed later to reflect on the yardage accomplishment, Tannehill said: “It’s tough to think about now, honestly. I’m out here to improve every day, every week. But, ultimately, I’m after wins.”
Running backs being more fungible than quarterbacks, their jobs in more constant jeopardy, perhaps gave Miller a more buoyant attitude than Tannehill. He effusively credited his line at every opportunity after the game.
“So excited for him,” center-playing-guard Mike Pouncey said. “That kid’s worked so hard to get where he is in his career. We all talked about going into the game, we wanted him to get over 1,000 yards, and he did it.”
Center Samson Satele said: “Coming into the season, he was sharing the rock with Knowshon [Moreno], and they had all these other backs. He just stuck in there and ran for 1,000 yards.”
On the touchdown run, Miller exploded through right guard and left everyone behind until Jets cornerback Marcus Williams caught him about a yard too late. Miller said he saw Williams close on one of the screens and tried to put in a little finishing kick.
“Inside zone, he made a nice cut, nice read; he was off to the races,” Satele said. “Once I saw him make that cut, I knew he was gone.”
Asked if he thought he showed he could be an every-down back, Miller said: “That was my goal, to show the coaches what I could do, whether it’s pass blocking for Ryan Tannehill or running the ball.”
As happy as teammates were for Tannehill and Miller, the season’s results still dulled the once-golden numbers.
“I guess it’s not good enough,” Satele said. “[Miller] needs to get 2,000 yards or 1,500 yards, Ryan needs 5,000 yards, and we need to win more games. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re 8-8. It’s not good enough.”