Yesterday's victory will be remembered as the mile post that Ryan Tannehill finally became an NFL quarterback to be considered amongst the league's elite.
He engineered 2 critical TD drives, with the help of some big catches, at the end of both halves.
That's what elite QBs do. Despite what may have happened previously in the game, they find a way to make plays and put points on the board when everything is on the line.
Ryan Tannehill did just that and now deserves this recognition!
In the first half, trailing 10-0, with 1:23 left and facing a 3rd and 10 from our own 18 yard line, Tannehill found Rishard Matthews for 24 yards and a first down at our 42 yard line. This play was huge, not only to extend the drive, but we all know what Tom Brady can do with 1:10 left and 3 time outs in his pocket.
Five plays later, facing a 3rd and 2 from the NE 39 with only 40 seconds left, Tannehill fired a strike in stride to Mike Wallace on a skinny post, resulting in a TD and giving the Dolphins some much needed momentum going into the second half.
Tannehill took us 82 yards on only 4 completions in 8 plays in only 59 seconds, without needing a time out.
That brings us to the most important drive of his career to date.
After NE scores a go ahead TD with 4:07 left, we get a gift from NE kicker Stephen Gostkowski as he boots the ensuing kick off out of bounds setting us up on our own 40 yard line.
The Dolphins need to gain about 35 yards to get Dolphin kicker Caleb Sturgis a realistic shot at a game tying field goal.
After an incompletion on 1st down, Tannehill gets sacked for a 6 yard loss. With the clock ticking, he finds Brian Hartline for 11 yards at our 45 yard line.
Facing a 4th and 5, with 3:20 left, Coach Philbin decides to go for the 1st down rather than punt the ball back to NE despite having 3 time outs in our pocket. I couldn't have agreed more with this strategy.
And it pays off! Tannehill, facing a NE blitz, fires the ball outside to Charles Clay on a screen and Clay maneuvers his way through a few Patriots for a much needed first down at the NE 49.
What a great call by our Offensive Coordinator, Mike Sherman!
With 2:10 left, 1st and 10, Tannehill hits Matthews for 3 yards and we hit the Two Minute Warning.
Tannehill next finds Hartline for 8 yards and a first down at the NE 38 yardline. The clock continues to tick.
Now comes the catch of the game.
Needing another 13 yards to get Sturgis a 42 yard field goal attempt with 1:30 left, Tannehill looks for Matthews against press coverage down the left sideline. Tannehill puts the ball perfectly were only Matthews can grab it and Matthews makes a gem of a catch keeping both his feet inbounds.
Gain of 24 yards and a big first down for Miami at the NE 14 yard line!
We are now well within field goal range and I like Philbjn's decision here. With 1:25 left, he could have run the ball 3 times forcing NE to burn TOs and then kick a game tying field goal.
But Philbin trusts his QB. And it pays off again.
After an incompletion, with 1:21 left, Tannehill comes to the line and recognizes the coverage. He knows he will get Marcus Thigpen one on one with a linebacker and that is a mismatch to heaven.
Sure enough, 8 seconds later, Thigpen beats his man and makes an adjustment to the ball for the game winning TD.
On this drive Tannehill was 7 for 9, hitting 4 different receivers for 60 yards. Philbin showed complete trust in his quarterback and tremendous patience as well by not burning any time outs.
In both drives, Tannehill completed 11 of 17 passes for 142 yards and 2 TDs without running the ball once.
Despite 4 sacks, Tannehill finished the game 25 for 37 to 10 different receivers for 312 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions. And get this, his career best 120.6 qb rating!
2 huge drives for TDs, with complete trust from his head coach to lead his team to a comeback victory in a game against a first ballot Hall of Fame QB and keeping your team in the playoff picture.
If that doesn't sound elite, then what does?
Dolfan since 12/25/1971