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Can't blame Tannehill for Miami's slump

10/22/2013
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins have lost their last three games, including to the Bills on Sunday.After a 3-0 start and peaking at No. 7 on the ESPN.com NFL Power Rankings, the Miami Dolphins have lost three straight and fallen to 16th in the Week 8 rankings.

With upcoming games at the 5-2 New England Patriots and at home against the 5-2

Cincinnati Bengals, the Dolphins will have to right the ship quickly, but what exactly needs righting?

Ryan Tannehill This Season

At first glance it’s easy to put the blame on second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. His play has suffered over the last three games, with a near 30-point dip in his Total QBR.

But a deeper look at the Dolphins this season suggests that Tannehill’s supporting cast has been letting him down, including his coaches.

Play calling

After gaining 20 yards on 23 rushes in Week 1, the Dolphins may have been too quick to abandon the running game.

Since Week 1, the Dolphins have averaged 4.6 yards per rush, which is sixth-best in the NFL during that time.

Despite a successful rush attack, the Dolphins have dropped back to pass at the third-highest rate this season (69 percent of plays).

All of the dropbacks for Tannehill have been a problem, especially with the issues the Dolphins have had with pass blocking.

The offensive line

Highest Sack Rate
In NFL This Season

The Dolphins traded for tackle Bryant McKinnie this week to help shore up the line. McKinnie, however, lost his starting job with the Baltimore Ravens earlier this season and was an inactive for the first time in his career since.

The Dolphins’ current offensive line has yielded a league-worst 26 sacks this season and most of the burden falls on the line.

Tannehill has only averaged 3.3 seconds before passing, scrambling or taking a sack this season, sixth-lowest in the NFL. Despite this, Tannehill has the second-highest sack rate.

Even when given time to throw, Tannehill has been let down by the Dolphins’ big offseason acquisition.

Mike Wallace

Tannehill and Wallace have yet to find a connection this season, as the duo has completed 50.9 percent of their attempts. Only four quarterback-receiver combinations with at least 40 attempts have been worse this season.

Ryan Tannehill Comp Pct
By Distance This Season

Wallace is frequently used to stretch the field for the Dolphins, as his average target depth has been a team-high 14.3 yards downfield. This will certainly contribute to a lower completion percentage, but Wallace and Tannehill have struggled all over the field.

Also contributing to the low completion percentage are drops. Wallace has dropped nearly eight percent of his targets this season, highest among Dolphins wide receivers.

Wallace is still new to the team so chemistry may develop, but Brandon Gibson is new to the team as well and Tannehill has completed 70.7 percent of his attempts to him this season.