BY SEAN DONOVAN
With his team down a score late in the fourth quarter, Ryan Tannehill had a chance to begin writing his legacy as the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins.
And, as has sparingly been the case in South Florida in recent years, the quarterback delivered.
Tannehill led a 13-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dion Sims with 38 seconds left in the fourth quarter, giving the Dolphins a 27-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the team's home opener on Sunday.
The win improves Miami to 3-0 for the first time since the 2002 season.
The Dolphins overcame an otherwise very sloppy performance to pull out the victory, one that featured an offensive line giving up five sacks, a defense that allowed 146 yards rushing and an early 10-point deficit.
But Miami played well enough in all three phases to keep the game close, allowing Tannehill to play hero at the end and record the second game winning drive of his career.
"It certainly wasn’t classic or textbook," head coach Joe Philbin said, according to the team website. "We made enough plays to win the game."
The storyline will be Tannehill, who had impressive stats, completing 24-of-35 passes for 236 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but was most impressive down the stretch against one of the NFL's better teams. The performance had his teammates raving after the game.
“He’s taken the next step,” center Mike Pouncey said, according to the Palm Beach Post.
"He just took control," tight end Michael Egnew, who made his first career catch on that final drive, said. "Ryan [Tannehill] played one hell of a game. His leadership, his command of the field, making all the right calls. He just took control of it."
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