Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dolphins beat Rams on scoreboard, not stat sheet


Typically, if a team is out-gained in yards by a 2-to-1 ratio, loses the time-of-possession battle by nearly seven minutes and manages only 1.1 yards per carry themselves, that team does not win the game.

But that's exactly what the Miami Dolphins managed to do on Sunday, edging out the St. Louis Rams by a 17-14 margin.

The steady play of rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill paced Miami to the victory and allowed the team to overcome an uncharacteristically abysmal performance by the defense.

For the first time since the 2011 season opener against the New England Patriots, the Dolphins allowed an opponent to gain 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in the same game. The 137 yards gained by St. Louis rushers is the highest total allowed by Miami in 15 contests.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, despite missing his primary target Danny Amendola due to injury, was able to carve up the Dolphins secondary to the tune of 315 yards and complete passes to 10 different receivers.

Despite all the yardage allowed, Miami hunkered down when the Rams entered its territory. St. Louis was forced to settle for field goals on five occasions, with kicker Greg Zuerlein only able to convert two in a stormy Sun Life Stadium.

One of those misses was a 66-yard attempt that would have tied the game as time expired.

Tannehill was able to lead the Miami offense to enough points to win the game, throwing two touchdowns and avoiding a turnover for the second straight game, both Dolphins victories.

The Dolphins may not be winning in the prettiest fashion, but Tannehill now has his team back to a .500 record at 3-3. The young quarterback is not only beginning to convince fans of his abilities, but his teammates are clearly buying in as well.

"We got lucky when we drafted that kid at number eight," Dolphins center Mike Pouncey said after the game, according to Ben Volin on Twitter. "We’re following his lead right now."

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