COMMENTARY | After the Miami Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill put on a football clinic against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, one question has to be asked: Are they a threat to Tom Brady's New England Patriots?
Perhaps, it's a bit of a stretch at this point to wager a bet in favor. Here's why: the Patriots remain undefeated (3-0) even in the face of mounting injuries.
Miami Dolphins' NFL stats don't tell the complete story
My thoughts are when New England gets Danny Amendola and Ron Gronkowski back to form, and Brady gets comfortable with his rookie receivers, the Dolphins' fairy tale race can be measured properly. It's just too early to call.
In his sophomore year with the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill is shaping up to be a formidable quarterback. Miami made quick work of the Cleveland Browns (23-10) and Andrew Luck's Indianapolis Colts (24-20), both on the road.
And with the win Sunday over the Falcons, the franchise improves its record to 3-0, the first time it's done so since 2002.
Atlanta was the heavy favorite going in with 2-1 odds against Miami. Part of the anemic vote of confidence against the Dolphins was likely over their lackluster aggressiveness in their first two starts in the regular season and 2-3 showing in preseason.
With Atlanta leading 23-20 in the fourth quarter, Falcons kicker, Matt Bryant, with just shy of five minutes remaining, missed a field goal from 35-yards out, giving Tannehill and the Dolphins another shot at six or a shot at overtime.
In a series of possessions, Tannehill went to work and found tight end Dion Sims for a one-yard dip for the go ahead touchdown with less than a minute left in the game. What a comeback, right?
Over three starts, Miami is ranked 24th in the NFL with only 211 total rushing yards. However, the difference is in time spent in the air.
By contrast, the Dolphins are 14th in the league with 747 total passing yards, compare to New England at the 22nd position with 653 total yards.
Ryan Tannehill: A star is born?
Not much of a fuss was made around Tannehill in his NFL rookie draft class. After all, he was in the same company of Luck and Robert Griffin III, the anointed ones.
While Luck is enjoying Indy's 2-1 start with a shutout over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday (27-7), RG3's Washington Redskins are struggling at 0-3. It's early, but a case can be made that the Dolphins quarterback should be in the same conversation - or better - as his peers.
Against the Falcons, Tannehill ended up with 24/35 for 236 yards, and threw two touchdowns and one pick. It wasn't a pretty win for Miami, but the combustible team made it count when it was needed most.
Despite the pick and five sacks from snaps, Tannehill sent a message: he must be respected.
He has the NFL goods and has the potential to create enough noise to rebuild the fledgling South Beach team. Granted, the defense is not impressive and Atlanta made a ton of missteps. However, the Dolphins show promise.
Obviously, as crummy as Miami has been over the years, the win over Atlanta and the 3-0 start, qualifies as an improvement. Admittedly, I was in the camp that things were falling apart at the seams. And short of a total makeover, from the secondary to the front office; I held that it would take a miracle to revive the Dolphins.
Enter Ryan Tannehill in tandem with Joe Philbin, and things suddenly look promising.
Bradley is a professional writer, journalist, sportswriter and avid fan of the NBA, NFL, NCAA, PGA and tennis. He keeps a watchful eye on Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins developments.
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