West Texas Native Ryan Tannehill Has Breakout Performance as Miami Dolphins Lose in Overtime to Arizona Cardinals 24-21
Going into the season, most folks would assume that Ryan Tannehill's role as a rookie starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins would be basic. Hand the ball off to running back Reggie Bush a lot and throw rarely while learning the team's offense. After Tannehill's 431 yard passing performance against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals Sunday, that conservative game plan does not appear to be the case.
Tannehill threw the football in a way that had Dolphins fans flashing back to the days of Dan Marino. He was efficient (26-41), he racked up 431 passing yards, and looked as poised and confident as a veteran NFL quarterback most of the game. This, in only his fourth professional game. Tannehill said in the post-game press conference:
"You get a sense of what the game’s going to be early on and just going back to what they had done in previous games. The last time they played a rookie quarterback they brought a lot of pressure and did the same thing this game early on, bringing a lot of pressure, so you get a sense of what the game is going to be like early on."
Tannehill led his team to a 13-0 halftime lead, before Arizona finally scored a touchdown with 10:00 to go in the 3rd quarter. The Dolphins gave up the lead in the fourth quarter, but Tannehill rallied his team back with an 80-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hartline, followed by a 2-point conversion, putting them up 21-14 with 7:00 to go. However, Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb hit Andre Roberts with a 15-yard touchdown pass with :22 left in regulation, forcing overtime.
Unfortunately, Tannehill's last pass proved to be the deciding one. It was an interception that led to Arizona kicker Jay Feely's game winning 46 yard field goal, hanging the Dolphins with a 24-21 loss.
Wide Receiver Brian Hartline was the recipient of most of Tannehill's accuracy, racking up 12 catches for a Dolphins franchise record 253 yards.
But Miami head coach Joe Philbin saw a lot of positive in the performance of his young signal caller.
"He made some big-time throws, threw the ball pretty accurately it looked like and I think he had a good demeanor during the course of the game. I was pleased with what he did."
Losing stinks, especially a game that you led 13-0. But the silver lining of a breakout performance from Tannehill, the Dolphins' first round pick in the NFL draft, shows fans that the future is bright, and they may have their first legitimate superstar quarterback since Marino retired in 1999. Miami's record may be 1-3, but it's the most promising 1-3 in the NFL.