Was that Ryan Tannehill or Dan Marino playing for the Dolphins Sunday? No one would mistake Tannehill for the Hall of Famer, but the Miami quarterback put up Marino-esque numbers in a 23-3 victory over the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Tannehill completed 28 of 43 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns and scrambled three times for 22 yards. The Dolphins managed only a 6-0 halftime lead despite controlling the ball for just under 25 minutes, but when the Jets' defense needed to put a hammerlock on the second-year quarterback, Tannehill connected on TD passes of 31 yards to Brian Hartline against veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie and 28 yards to Mike Wallace, who stepped out of a missed tackle by first-round rookie cornerback Dee Milliner, who was benched for the third time this season.
"With Dee, we've got to know situations," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "That's where I was disappointed most. We tell you certain things for a reason, and if you don't do it, it just adds to the problem."
Milliner indicated Ryan told him he should have expected a quick outlet pass because the Jets "were in an all-out blitz."
The missed tackle compounded the misplay. "I just didn't go in there," Milliner said. "I should have put my shoulder in there and made the tackle. I tried to go grab him."
Milliner had his good moments, knocking down a couple of deep passes, but it was clear that Tannehill was targeting him for as long as he was in the game.
"Yeah, we knew he was going to do that," Milliner said. "We knew Hartline was going to do some comebacks and hitches, and that's exactly what he did."
Hartline caught nine passes for 127 yards, and Wallace, who more often than not was matched against Cromartie, caught seven for 82 yards. Although Cromartie said his right hip injury is feeling better, Wallace thought it had an impact on him.
Whatever pain Cromartie was feeling was compounded by the Jets' failure to keep the game close in the third quarter when the Jets' offense was struggling. Two plays after the Dolphins recovered a Jets fumble, Tannehill found Hartline against Cromartie for a 13-0 lead. On the next Miami possession, Tannehill hit Wallace for a TD and a 20-3 lead.
"When your offense is not clicking, you know things aren't going to go right when we're giving up touchdowns," Cromartie said. "Field goals are fine. One thing we cannot do is give up touchdowns when our offense is struggling because it's going to be hard [to come back]."