- Ryan Tannehill’s down and distance splits: Throughout his career, from the very beginning into the Adam Gase era and even into last Sunday, Tannehill has had some stark splits based on down and distance.
In short yardage situations and on favorable early downs, Tannehill has played extremely well. For his career, with 3 or fewer yards to go, he has completed 67% of his passes for 32 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, culminating in a 114.4 passer rating. Among the 22 quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts in that situation since 2012 (his rookie year), only Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Peyton Manning have a higher passer rating.
Confine Tannehill to a tough situation, and he has failed to respond. For his career, on 3rd down & 10 or longer, Tannehill has completed only 58% of his passes for 0 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 51.5 passer rating. It’s easily the worst TD-INT ratio among any player during Tannehill’s career, and of the 24 quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts in that situation since 2012, only Blake Bortles has a worse passer rating. His career 29-27 TD-INT ratio on all 3rd downs is better than only Bortles, Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Brandon Weeden, Matt Schaub, Blaine Gabbert, and Brock Osweiler. That’s not good company.
Both splits showed up against Tennessee. Tannehill threw of 1 of his 2 interceptions on a 3rd & long. He thrived on 1st & 10 (7 for 9, 113 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 picks) but on all other throws he was pedestrian (13 for 19, 100 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 picks).
Let Miami win the run game on the early downs and allow Tannehill to throw in high leverage situations, and he becomes nearly as dangerous as a Hall-of-Famer. Stuff the early down run game and make him put the team on his back, and he becomes a practice squad quarterback.
- Kenny Stills: Don’t sleep on Stills. Since 2016, he’s 5th in the entire league in total receiving TD (17) and 1st in receiving TD of 20+ yards (13). He’s a more proven Robby Anderson - a quality deep threat for a long time running now. He had 4 catches for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns last week.
- How the Jets have defeated Tannehill’s Dolphins: Tannehill is 3-5 against the Jets in games he played start to finish.
The Jets are 3-0 when sacking Tannehill 3+ times (2-3 otherwise).
They are 4-0 when forcing 2+ Miami turnovers (1-3 otherwise).
And, they are 4-0 when Tannehill completes below 58% of his passes (1-3 otherwise).
- The explosiveness of the Jets’ backs: I was stoked to see Isaiah Crowell pump out that 62-yard touchdown, not just because it was plain awesome and put the Jets up by over 30 points, but because it supported my findings that he is an elite big play threat. Both Crowell and Bilal Powell are among the best big play running backs in the league.
Since 2014 (Crowell’s rookie year), here is a look at the big play frequencies (percentage of carries for 20+ yards) of all backs with at least 400 total carries. This chart subtracts red zone carries to put all players on an even playing field.
Powell places second on the chart to only the retired Justin Forsett, giving him the highest frequency on the chart among active players. Crowell’s total of 24 runs of 20+ yards places him 6th in the entire league.
- Todd Bowles splits: In 2015, Bowles went 3-1 coming off of a road win. Over the last two years, he’s gone 0-4 in those games.
It’s very specific, but I might have unearthed Todd Bowles’ best split that transcends 2015 and includes 2016-17 as well. Bowles has gone 10-3 in home 1PM games against AFC opponents. The Jets were 5-0 in those games in 2015, 2-1 in 2016, and 3-2 in 2017.
- Josh Sitton and the Dolphins run game: Dolphins veteran left guard Josh Sitton, who has has spent most of his solid career in Green Bay, went down for the year following the Dolphins’ Week 1 win over the Titans. Prior to his injury, I watched the Dolphins run game and was impressed with the space Sitton was opening up on the left side.
Against the Titans, the Dolphins gained 6.4 yards per carry and a total of 4 first downs running the ball left, 5th and 4th in the league that week, respectively.
Going right, they averaged a league-worst 0.7 yards per carry.
As noted, stopping Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, and the Miami run game will be key to keep Tannehill out of the situations he has thrived in and force him into the situations in which he has been unproductive. The loss of Sitton will certainly not assist the Dolphins in putting their quarterback in favorable positions. Can the Jets make it two straight strong performances against the run?