This is the perfect opportunity for Ryan Tannehill.
For a while I thought the game following the height of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal, the one we ultimately lost to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was the time for him. His stat line of 27-of-42 for 229 yards, an interception, and two touchdowns proved that it wasn’t, but I think this could be it.
The stage is set. It’s a matchup against a perennial playoff team, who desperately needs this win too. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a hard-grit team with a great coach and a strong quarterback, but are at the tail end of a dominant defensive reign.
This is the chance for the Miami Dolphins to make a statement. This is an opportunity to prove they aren’t the same old mediocre team that shows flashes at times, but ultimately falls short. This is the time for the second-year quarterback to take a leap and prove he was worth the risk of the number eight pick.
The stage is set, but the variable is Tannehill.
As of right now, Tannehill has more passing yards than Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson. He also has more touchdowns and a higher completion percentage than Luck, Griffin III, and Kaepernick. Those stats don’t mean much, as Tannehill said yesterday in his press conference, because the only stat that really matters is wins.
So can Tannehill show that on Sunday? In a matchup, where if Miami can come away with a win, it will put less pressure on the squad when the New England Patriots come to town the following week. A win for the Dolphins would also mean they are in the serious playoff conversation and might actually stop being an after thought.
Yes, the defense will need to keep playing well, and it doesn’t hurt that Mike Wallace has started to join Brian Hartline as an actual threat this season. The path-work offensive line is doing a better job of blocking, and Charles Clay has been invaluable. But at the end of the day, this is Tannehill’s moment and he needs to grab the team’s offense by the reigns and begin what we hope will be a storied career.
This could be the game we point to, the game that put the Dolphins on the map, and the game where we stop wondering whether we need a quarterback, again.
So in the words of Tannehill, “I like wins as a stat.” So do we Ryan, so do we.