Listening to Adam Gase talk the past couple of days about the Miami Dolphins loss at Cincinnati, it’s obvious the coach believes quarterback Ryan Tannehill was victimized by poor pass blocking.
And it’s obvious the coach believes the game got away from the Dolphins after Laremy Tunsil suffered an apparent concussion in the fourth quarter and was taken out of the game. (Tunsil is in the concussion protocol now).
The problem with this narrative is that there were three other quarters in which there was no avalanche. And during that time Tannehill did questionable things that had nothing to do with bad pass protection, or tough circumstance.
Those plays could have extended drives, could have helped the Dolphins either build a bigger lead early in the game, or not allow their lead to vanish late in the game.
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Let’s start here:
I’m not going to get into the philosophy of passing on second-and-7 on the 11th play of the game when you’ve already proven you can run the football effectively by ripping off runs of 9-, 7-, 6-, and 5-yards on four of the past 10 plays.
But the Dolphins put the ball in Tannehill’s hands and he makes a bad decision. He throws to Jakeem Grant who is obviously covered.
The pass Tannehill threw could easily have been intercepted and returned for a touchdown. It wasn’t. But an NFL defensive back is going to make that happen maybe seven out of 10 times.
The thing about it is, Tannehill missed an open receiver. Didn’t look at him, in fact.
Albert Wilson was open coming across the middle...
You’ll notice that Tannehill was not under pressure. He had a clean pocket. And he was looking at a covered wide receiver.
But not looking at Albert Wilson.
That is not good quarterback play. And that has nothing to do with pressure or the offensive line being injured or a lack of running game because none of those things were an issue when Tannehill missed this opportunity -- even as he escaped a disaster.
We marvel at how great quarterbacks often complete improbable passes to receivers down the field.
But the truth is playing quarterback in the NFL is often about doing high percentage things and doing them successfully over and over and over. It drives defenses crazy. And then they can be taken advantage of.
But if the quarterback doesn’t see the high percentage throw, it’s problematic.
Like here ...
The correct throw here is to Frank Gore. It would have gotten the Dolphins a first down. It would have extended the drive.
And, really, it was the easier thing to do.
Tannehill tried to make the low percentage throw to Mike Gesicki and that ended a promising Dolphins drive.
I don’t want to give the impression that Tannehill is terrible. He’s not. That’s actually part of the problem.
The Dolphins have committed to Ryan Tannehill for seven years now because he sometimes makes great plays that are athletic and impressive.
And those plays have made the team continue to stick with him while apparently forgetting about, you know, the other stuff.
This is an example of great athleticism by a QB...
By the way, the block by Nick O’Leary is on Carl Lawson. Not Vontaze Burfict.
The problem with plays like the one above? They don’t happen often enough.
The fact of the matter is the Dolphins in this game dominated for three quarters. They led 17-3 after three quarters.
The Dolphins led 17-3 and the running game was chugging along and the defense was playing well but the offense had scored only one touchdown.
The offense Tannehill authors scored one touchdown all day against Cincinnati -- even when things were going well.
And the last two weeks, the Miami offense has scored only one touchdown with Tannehill at quarterback.
Remember, the late touchdown Miami scored in a 38-7 loss to New England was with Brock Osweiler at quarterback.
No, I’m not saying Osweiler should be the quarterback.
What I am saying is that even when the pressure wasn’t crazy bad, even when Tunsil was in the game, even when the running game was working, the offense still only produced seven points.
That is not good enough.
And it certainly isn’t good enough when that same unproductive offense then suffers a meltdown.
It’s not good enough when adversity arises and the quarterback does very questionable things.
Like this ...
One cannot argue that Tannehill was in a tough situation. He was.
One cannot argue Tannehill had a chance to turn this into a positive play. He didn’t.
But Tannehill, in his seventh NFL season, must know that if you throw a weird pass into a group of seven players from both teams, your chances of something good happening are nominal.
You are taking a huge risk. You are making a dumb attempt at a play.
The Dolphins are leading this game. It’s the fourth quarter. The defense has played great.
The Dolphins are probably going to win this game if everyone avoids doing stupid things.
That did not happen.
One last thing: Tannehill has played terribly when under pressure this entire season. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Tannehill has a 58.5 passer rating (22nd among quarterbacks who have taken at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps) when he’s been under pressure this season.
Against the Bengals, Tannehill had a quarterback rating of 26.7 when he was under pressure.
Tannehill’s overall PFF grade ranks him 32nd among quarterbacks this year and is the lowest of his career so far.