Ryan Tannehill has hit his rookie slump hard the last two weeks. The entire Miami Dolphins team looked completely terrible in Thursday night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. The game was only close because the Bills committed so many penalties. So despite playing a team that seemed determined to beat itself the Dolphins still found a way to lose. The match-up was Tannehill’s first prime time game.
Perhaps the most depressing part of the loss the fact that Tannehill had a chance to carry the team to a comeback win and did not step up. Even worse he got a second chance and failed again. Both of the drives late in the fourth quarter ended with Tannehill interceptions.
Tannehill has been asked to come up in the clutch in three prior games. The Dolphins lost all three, though Tannehill did enough to win against the New York Jets and the game was lost due to a missed field goal by Dan Carpenter in overtime. Tannehill’s failures include games against the Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and most recently the Bills. The Cardinals and Bills games were lost by Tannehill turnovers.
One of the most important traits of a franchise quarterback is to step into situations where the game is on the line and put the team on his back. It is extremely depressing for fans to see the Dolphins in these situations and failing to step up.
This is not, however, reason for Dolphins fans to write Tannehill off. Performing in clutch time is something that develops with experience. Most of us did not expect Tannehill to be starting this season due to his lack of experience. For most games this year he exceeded expectations.
The Dolphins managed to overachieve during much of the first half of the season. The team was able to overcome its lack of talent at receiver and tight end, but the rest of the league has now figured out the Dolphin offense. And with the running game declining fast, the Dolphins offense has become one of the league’s worst.
The three game losing streak has all but doomed Miami’s playoff hopes. From here on out, the Dolphins are playing for the future and that future is Tannehill. Dolphins fans can get a little optimism for the future if Tannehill shows improvement on the issues hes shown in the last couple of games. If he can learn to put hard losses behind him, then hes taken a big step towards being a true franchise quarterback.