Ryan Tannehill's maturation process is not going as quickly as it originally seemed.
And that is okay.
His night looked pretty ugly on the stat sheet, but it wasn't actually that bad until the final two drives, which both ended in interceptions.
Week-to-week evaluations are not necessarily fair, but they are the nature of the NFL. In this instance, Tannehill had a bad week.
Actually, he's had two bad weeks now, with a combined 55.2 completion percentage, 5.3 yards per attempt and 44.2 passer rating over the past two games.
''It's really frustrating, especially with the success earlier in the year,'' Tannehill said. ''Being in situations where we're going three-and-out or six-and-out, it's frustrating. We have to be able to find a rhythm and get things going early on.''
The Dolphins couldn't get things going early on, or later on. They failed to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter and then failed on their final two attempts at a comeback in the fourth quarter. Tannehill's touchdown pass snapped their streak of nine consecutive quarters without an offensive touchdown.
It's easy to point to the quarterback play as the missing piece, but the running game belongs on the side of a milk carton. The Dolphins were running the ball so well to start the season, but since then, they've thoroughly disappointed. They haven't gained 100 yards rushing since Week 3 against the Jets, and they have gained just 2.9 yards per carry on average.
We know the Dolphins don't do well when they lose the turnover battle; they now move to 0-6 in games where they do not win the turnover battle outright. Tannehill's two interceptions look damning in that sense, but what about Brian Hartline's fumble on the first play of the team's third possession?
More importantly, the Dolphins haven't played their brand of defense since Week 8, and they didn't do it on Thursday night, either. They've now given up an average of 363.3 yards per game over the past three weeks, along with 26.3 points per game. Specifically, their run defense has been a sieve, giving up 661 yards on the ground in the past five games after allowing just 307 in the first five games.
Accountability is a team effort, and head coach Joe Philbin proved that when he benched Reggie Bush last week, and again this week when he benched cornerback Nolan Carroll after committing three penalties in coverage in the first half alone.
Tannehill may very well get where it seemed he was headed in the earlier part of the season, or he may not. Defenses may have begun to adjust to him a bit, as well; now, with nine games worth of film on Tannehill, teams can begin to see what works and what doesn't work. He's great when under pressure, so why bring the heat?
This is just one example, but there are several aspects of Tannehill's game where he'll have to become more well-rounded (deep passing and quick decisions, for starters), and although good quarterbacks make those around them better, the best quarterbacks have help in reaching that status.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained via team press releases.
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