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Week 4: Dolphins at Raiders
Ryan Tannehill - He had one of his best days as a pro, completed 78% of his passes, threw for two touchdowns and finished with a 123.6 QB rating. On top of that, he had 6 runs for 48 yards, including a 30 yard run out of the read option in which he shook the safety in the open field. Tannehill's completion percentage for the season jumps from 60% to 63% and his QB rating jumps from 81.5 to 87.7 thanks to his performance today. Here are Tannehill's stats the first three weeks of the season:
70 of 124, 56%, 624 yards, 4 TDs 2 INTs, 74.12 QB rating.
Here are Tannehill's numbers the last three weeks:
68 of 94, 72%, 799 yards, 6 TDs 3 INTs, 105.76 QB rating.
This is evidence that Tannehill is becoming more comfortable in Lazor's system.
Additionally, as I have been saying for a couple of weeks, it appears that when Tannehill gets a nice run out of the read option, he plays better the rest of the game. Good strategy by the Dolphins coaches to get the read option going early and get Tannehill into the flow of the game quicker.
Chares Clay - Welcome back Mr. Clay, you were missed. 4 catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. The Bears had no answer for Clay. He also had some nice blocks on those Tannehill runs.
The Offense - They held the ball for over 37 minutes and did not turn it over. They also had almost 400 yards on offense and scored 27, although some points were left on the field due to penalties and missed field goals.
The Defense - Where to start? Oh of course, Cameron Wake had a hat trick on the sack, strip, recovery on Jay Cutler. One of those game changing plays Wake is known for. Reshad Jones had 7 tackles and a big interception that he returns 50 yards. Cortland Finnegan was all over the place with 4 tackles, 4 passes defensed and a forced fumble. The defense held the Bears to 52 yards rushing and 224 total yards.
Jeremiah Ratliff had 3.5 sacks. The Dolphins interior offensive line had trouble blocking Ratliff.
The field goal unit had a rough day. Caleb Sturgis missed a 50 yard field goal and had another field goal blocked.
Not much ugly in this game for the Dolphins. But as I mentioned before, there were some points left on the field due to penalties and botched field goal attempts. So despite a dominant win, the Dolphins still have work to do.
The loss against Green Bay makes this week bitter sweet as the Dolphins won but could have been in stronger position if they had finished the job last week. When this team is clicking on all cylinders, from QB to the running game to defense and special teams, they can beat anyone. The problem with this team is consistency. Today they showed consistentcy for 4 quarters against a good team on the road. The Dolphins slowed down an offense with several explosive weapons, but the Dolphins holding onto the ball for 37+ minutes certainly helped.
The Dolphins get as close to a gimme as possible as they go into Jacksonville next week before facing a brutal stretch against San Diego, Detroit, Buffalo and Denver. They need to take care of business and get back to Miami to play the Chargers with a 4-3 record.
The Miami Dolphins seem to be in a perpetual state of limbo, are they good, are they bad, who knows, each week and sometimes each half brings something different from this team. The lack of consistency is what brings on this feeling of limbo, it's hard to say that they're just mediocre, because they play good teams well at times and play bad teams badly at times.
They don't play OK all the time, which is what you normally get from a mediocre team, they usually play well or poorly, and this is due to a lack of leadership. Not getting leadership from the head coach Joe Philbin, not getting leadership from inconsistent QB Ryan Tannehill and not getting leadership from anyone on defense.
It becomes difficult then to rally the troops, or circle the wagons without leadership and you get a team that you don't know how to categorize, a team in limbo.
Philbin is too desperatly clinging on to his hope of a job to be the leader, but he isn't a natural leader in this capacity anyway. Joe is a "ducks in a row" leader, he can get things organized for you, he can remind people of their duties and responsibilities, but he is not a leader of men so to speak.
Ryan Tannehill is young and inconsistent as a QB, so naturally it's hard for him to become the leader. Especially if he isn't a born leader, he first has to build a platform to stand on, that platform is his play, his platform is not sound right now, so it's difficult to be a leader without sound footing beneath your feet.
The defense has some really good players but none has emerged as a real leader. They are apparently losing faith in defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, with good reason in my opinion, so there is no leadership coming from there. They play well, but during crunch times there is no one carrying the banner for which to rally around.
So here are the Dolphins right now, in limbo, a very uncomfortable place for us fans to be in, a sound ship with a malfunctioning rudder. Staying afloat but not having full control of their direction. The team sorely needs someone to go over the side and fix that rudder, a leader, someone to rally around, someone to put on their shoulders, someone who is willing and has the ability to to put the team on their back.
The Dolphins go to Chicago this week, and this game is much like any other game the Dolphins go into, winnable, losable,... limbo. Leadership is the only thing that can pull them out of this limbo, I'm looking for someone, anyone, to climb over the rail and fix that rudder, no team ever needed that more then the Dolphins do right now, someone to lead them out of limbo.