Dec 2, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) leaps over New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (37) and defensive end Rob Ninkovich (50) for a touchdown in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
The Miami Dolphins were supposed to get beat down today. They were supposed to get leveled and embarrassed. Instead, they came a few bad plays away from stealing one from the high-powered New England Patriot offense. While the Dolphins lost the game, they provided a glimpse of what could be a very promising future.
If anyone has doubts about Ryan Tannehill, they should be putting them away. Tannehill missed on two very big plays that would have likely resulted in touchdowns to Brian Hartline, but time will go a long way to improving those types of passes. The truth is, Tannehill showed a lot of guts with his legs and his arm. Keeping the team in the game all the way to the final ticking seconds.
For Miami it was a game that got away. The Dolphins botched the snap on their first possession punt giving the Pats the ball deep in Miami territory and eventually a 7-0 lead. Tannehill would miss a wide-open Brian Hartline in the endzone deep, a hit from behind caused Tannehill to fumble and turn the ball over, a seriously horrible pass interference call gave New England an extended series while a roughing the punter call allowed the Patriots an out.
Despite the Dolphins shots into their own feet, they hung in forcing the Patriots to and Tom Brady to make bad decisions. The defense surged on a 1st and goal from the 2 to force a field goal after two sacks and a stop behind the line of scrimmage. In the end though, the Patriots took the last drive on a seven minute drive that culminated in the winning field goal.
While the Dolphins are now almost assuredly eliminated from realistic post-season play and the Patriots wrap up the division officially, they showed the Patriots that they are young, hungry, and not intimidated by the more high-profile division rival. Miami simply came up short this season but the future is looking good with 5 draft picks in the first three rounds of Aprils’ draft and 50-60 million in cap space for free agency.
A few players here and there and the Miami Dolphins may just be ready to take over the AFC East again.