If the Miami Dolphins are going to regain relevance in the AFC East then QB Ryan Tannehill is going to have to greatly improve versus division foes. This weekend Tanny gets his first crack at the New England Patriots (detailed Miami vs New England game preview is HERE). The Pats are on a different level, but let’s take a look at how Tannehill has done so far vs the division.
In his 2nd game vs the New York Jets we saw Tannehill leave the game early. He was just 2 for 5 for 18 yards at the time. In that game the Jets defense committed penalties early which gave Miami a pair of first downs. Tanny then hit Brian Hartline for a dozen yards, but that was the only good sign in that brief appearance. He would follow that Hartline hook-up with a three-and-out, and the next possession was a three-and-out. Tannehill was on the field for a dozen plays, and just 1 went well.
In his other games (full games) vs the Jets and Buffalo Bills (still has 1 more with the Bills, plus both games vs the Pats are coming too) he is a combined 32 for 69 which is a poor 46% completion percentage. He has just 355 combined yards in those games.
Against the AFC East so far Tannehill has just 1 touchdown pass, and has been picked off 3 times. The Dolphins are currently 1-2 vs their division foes, and in games where Tannehill plays the entire game they are 0-2.
Dan Marino has the best record vs the AFC East at 47-43. Jay Fiedler was 13-12 in the division. Chad Henne was 6-7. Miami won the game that Matt Moore came in to relieve Tannehill vs the Jets this season, and in 2011 Moore was 3-2 vs the division.
Miami has won the AFC East twice in the 2000’s (2000 and 2008). This season will be the Patriots tenth title in the 2000’s (wow). If Tannehill is going to be the future of this franchise then he needs to get significantly better vs AFC foes. His first shot at the beasts of the AFC East is a matter of days away.
Miami will need to start going 4-2 (at worst) in the division. For that to start this season then Miami will need to beat the Pats, twice, and beat the Bills (week 16 the Bills are at Miami). Tall task.
The other AFC divisions are getting packed with wild-card contenders so Miami’s best playoff chance is actually to win the division (going forward I mean, not 2012). For that to happen Tannehill has to lead the way.
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