Published November 13, 2012
DAVIE, Fla. – Ryan Tannehill's best play of late was a tackle, which for a quarterback is not good.
Tannehill's teammates were still laughing Tuesday about his touchdown-saving, open-field stop of linebacker Zach Brown, which was the best moment for the Miami Dolphins in their 37-3 loss to Tennessee.
"Ryan showed some speed," tight end Anthony Fasano said. "He wrapped his arms around him and kind of twisted him down. It was impressive. Maybe we should get him on some special teams."
That won't happen. Tannehill will keep concentrating on quarterbacking, especially this week as the Dolphins (4-5) prepare to play Thursday night at Buffalo (3-6).
The rookie hopes to rebound from his worst performance since the season opener. Tannehill threw three interceptions Sunday against the Titans, including one returned for a score and another that forced him to corral Brown with Miami trailing 34-3.
"I shouldn't be making the tackle; that's my fault to begin with," he said, flashing a sheepish grin. "At that point there was a lot of adrenaline and anger built up, so it's not too hard."
The drubbing was the worst endured by Tannehill as a quarterback since high school. His losses at Texas A&M all came in close games.
Not that Tannehill was the lone culprit. A collective meltdown resulted in the Dolphins' worst home loss since 1968, which made them glad they must wait only until Thursday for another game.
"It's a good thing for us," Tannehill said. "We can spin it into a positive. We had a tough game and we have to bounce back quickly. We can't sit around and mope."
Dolphins coaches are optimistic Tannehill will resume making the steady progress he had showed. His passer rating of 98.3 in October ranked seventh in the NFL, and he had a streak of 107 throws without an interception before the flurry of turnovers against the Titans.
"He is doing amazingly well for a rookie," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "He is still learning and growing as a quarterback, but he has done a good job thus far."
Tannehill is well aware there's room for more growth. He ranks last among all starters in the league with five touchdown passes, trailing even Tennessee backup Matt Hasselbeck. Tannehill is 29th in passer rating, and he's still learning how costly turnovers can be.
All nine of Tannehill's interceptions have come in defeats. In the four games they've won, he hasn't had a single pass picked off.
"You have to learn from your mistakes, but you can't dwell on them," he said. "You've got to look forward."
In assessing the interceptions against Tennessee, Tannehill said there was no common thread. All came on third down and none came against a blitz, but the Titans' coverage was different each time.
One ball was tipped. One was thrown into tight coverage. The last came during garbage time.
Afterward, teammate Reggie Bush offered words of encouragement.
"I told him these types of games build character," Bush said. "They are going to make him stronger in the long run, and you need these types of games, especially as a rookie."
Tannehill declined to use his health as an excuse, but he hasn't been rolling out or scrambling as much since leaving a game against the New York Jets two weeks ago with left knee and thigh injuries
"I'm just starting to get back to 100 percent," he said. "I feel really good this week."
The former college receiver's mobility is one of his strengths, and a concern for the Bills.
"He's a guy who can get out of that pocket and run," Buffalo linebacker Nick Barnett said. "And when he runs, he's still looking downfield for his target. He has done a lot of good things this year as a rookie. And our job is to make him look like a rookie instead of a vet."
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y., contributed to this report.
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