As many of us watched in horror as Ryan Tannehill, who has taken so many monster hits over the course of his 5 year career, thought nothing of the hit he took from Calias Campbell at the end of the third quarter. As with every time before, Tannehill shook off the hit he absorbed and continued on. Unfortunately, today was different. Today marked the end of the only Quarterback this franchise has seen play for the last 5 years. His 2016 season came to a halt as he has been preliminarily diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee.
So many thoughts to put on paper, but I will start with this. I am heartbroken to have seen his season come to an end. This guy has put up with a lot of crap from the media and fans with his play over the course of 5 seasons. But something was different about him this year. Tannehill started coming through late in games. His deep ball was typically poor, he was hitting them with great frequency this season. He was a vocal leader on the sideline and Adam Gase did something for him that not Philbin or anyone else ever did, Gase believed in his abilities and gave him the reigns. Tannehill responded:
2,995 yards passing
94.3 passer rating
After a dreadful 1-4 start, where some fans (not me or anyone at Dolphinstalk.com) called for his benching and Matt Moore to take over. Then the journey occurred. Miami defeated Pittsburgh a week after a beating from the Titans. They then defeated the Bills for the first time in 4 games. After the bye week, a victory against the Jets. Two straight west coast games were victorious because of Tannehill's great play down the stretch in both. He was near perfect against the 49ers to make it six straight wins. Even after the Ravens debacle, Tannehill responded with a great showing today against Arizona's second ranked defense. He had turned the corner.
But it came to a heart breaking, crashing halt with his knee injury. All things said about Tannehill over the years, came full circle. But those were complete opposite of who the media believed he was. He was tearful on the sideline, he was heart broken. The look on Pouncey's face was one of shock and disbelief. He received hugs from many of his teammates after he broke the news. Instead of sulking in the locker room, he joined his teammates for the final stretch and celebrating with Matt Moore during his on field interview. In the locker room, Branden Albert was tearful knowing his QB, who worked so hard during his time in Miami, go down with an injury he also suffered. Adam Gase embraced Tannehill with a huge hug and one that lasted some time after he was done with his press conference.
What I am getting at, is we didn't just lose our starting QB today, we lost our franchise player. We lost a vital member of that locker room. The next man up mentality for this team has to start tomorrow when they walk into the building. But the man they lost today will be missed down the stretch.
Thank you Ryan Tannehill for continuing to work hard and not give up on this franchise, and more importantly yourself. I have NO DOUBT, he will be even more fired up when he gets back over the summer. Through all the hard times, the light is shining bright on Tannehill. He has faced adversity his whole career but this next challenge will be nothing new. He will overcome this obstacle and get back under center for this team next year.
But for now this is Matt Moore's team. Adam Gase will need to prepare him for the daunting task ahead. Miami is 8-5 and tied for the final wild card spot. The Dolphins need to win and get some help down the stretch. The way this team has played for the last 2 months, I have no doubt, the leader they lost today will stay with them for the rest of the season, and the Dolphins may find themselves in the post season for the first time since 2008.