Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Film Review: Tannehill's momentum-shifting 1st INT


Looking at the box score, the Miami Dolphins' 30-10 loss to the Houston Texans appears to be the wire-to-wire domination that most expected in this season-opening matchup.

But the Dolphins, to the surprise of many, had control of this game for the majority of the first half. Sure, they were down by a 24-3 margin by halftime, but midway through the second period, momentum was on quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins' side.

The game turned for the worse on a single play, Tannehill's first interception.

Nursing a 3-0 lead with 7:35 in left in the first half, the Dolphins' offense was in the midst of another positive-looking drive against a tough Texans' defense.

At its own 47-yard line, Miami lined up in a 4-wide, shotgun formation. Dolphins receivers Legedu Naanee and Davone Bess were lined up to the left.

When the ball was snapped, Bess ran a 10-yard out pattern from the slot position and Naanee ran a 5-yard in pattern. This routine route combination is meant to keep Houston's boundary cornerback off of Naanee as he cuts to the inside for a short completion.

But as soon as he saw Naanee break to the inside, Texans' cornerback Jonathon Joseph jumped the route and Tannehill, having already made his decision to target Naanee, could not react in time and Joseph was able to jostle for position to get the interception.

Joseph would return the pick inside Miami's 15-yard line, and Houston converted a field goal that would be their first score of a 24-point second quarter barrage.

Though these types of plays are a blemish on the quarterback's record, this instance was the fault of the receiver. Naanee's soft route-running allowed the cornerback to read the play quicker, and his inability to be physical enough to prevent the pass from being caught right in front of him were primary factors that led to the turnover.

It certainly wasn't the only first-half turnover that led to Texans' points, but this was the play that swung the momentum from the underdog Dolphins and gave it to Houston, who wouldn't allow Miami a chance to get back into the game again.

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