"It’s huge," Ryan Tannehill said. "We’ve had a couple situations this year where we had a chance to do it and we weren’t able to do it. To finally go out and execute it and come away with a win, it feels great." Tannehill completed 7 of 9 passes for 156 yards and the Dolphins scored 17 points, overcoming 14-7 and 21-14 deficits, in a 4th quarter barrage that left Miami fans wondering where this team was hiding for almost 4 weeks.
Joe Philbin said it best, "You need to win some games like this. I think it's important for a quarterback to do this, any quarterback. Ryan Tannehill certainly, but any quarterback in this league, I think has to demonstrate an ability to do this." As Riverdog pointed out in a comment earlier, it was the first time the Dolphins won in 49 opportunities when trailing by seven points or more entering the fourth quarter.
This has been the missing link in Miami since 12/18/2005… The starting QB in that game against the Jets was Gus Frerotte, but Sage Rosenfels stepped in for the injured Frerotte and threw a 50-yard TD pass to Marty Booker to clinch the victory. Sage Rosefels, not Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Daunte Culpepper, Trent Green, John Beck, Cleo Lemon, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen or Matt Moore, ten QBs and none could pull off the illusive come-from-behind victory.
All elite quarterbacks in the NFL are judged on the ability to bring a team from behind in the fourth quarter and win. This trait separates all ten wannabe QBs listed above from names like Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Payton Manning and Tom Brady. The first and foremost stat defining a great quarterback is wins. At the end of a game when a crucial plays are the difference between winning and losing, the great ones find a way.
One come-from-behind victory does not place Ryan Tannehill in the elite status, but it does bring hope the rookie has what it takes to carry a team when the pressure is on. For the entire season, fans in Miami have been waiting for a sign that Tannehill has the special something missing since 2005 and more realistically since Dan Marino retired in 1998. Sage Rosenfels is never going to be associated with the word "elite" but perhaps Ryan Tannehill will.
There were many other reasons for the Dolphins victory, the running game finally got on track with 189 yards and a 6.8 average. Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas finally developed continuity as a tandem gaining 147 yards. The defense held Marshawn Lynch to only 46 yards on 19 carries for a season low 2.4 yards per carry.
The Seahawks had every opportunity to beat Tannehill and Miami. Russell Wilson went 21 for 27 for 224 yards and two scores, increasing his season total to 17 TD passes. He also ran for 38 yards. Old Dolphin nemesis Leon Washington took a kickoff untouched for a 98-yard touchdown. The return came after Tannehill threw an awful interception across his body in the endzone that was fortuitously nullified by a roughing the passer penalty on Seattle safety Earl Thomas leading to a Miami score.
The Dolphins and Tannehill could have thrown in the towel, but the 4th quarter showing was the rise from the ashes Phoenix game Tannehill and Miami needed after losing twice in overtime and once by 4 points. These are the defining games that set great quarterbacks apart.
Seattle entered the game with a defense ranked No. 2 in points allowed and No. 3 in total yardage. It was not a victory against a lowly defense and once Miami reverted to the fast paced, no huddle offense that served the Dolphins so well early in the season, the Seahawks quickly wore down and had no answer.
There is talk of playoffs still alive in Miami, but those words mean nothing with the Patriots looming on Sunday. The Dolphins and Tannehill have won one game under come-from-behind 4th quarter pressure, the real test is when Tom Brady is slinging the rock on the other sideline. Great QBs do not shy away from these games, they seek them out, the great ones know, to be the best, they must beat the best.
The Dolphins will know Ryan Tannehill has arrived when games against the Tom Brady’s of the NFL are no longer viewed as easy Patriot victories. It will come, when Tannehill and his Miami Dolphin 4th quarter comebacks are feared in a league where seven points or less is most often the margin of victory.
The first step came Sunday, the next step will be huge…
Forget Seattle, bring on the Patriots!