Bet­ter ev­ery day

Tan­nehill: Shoul­der ‘not 100 per­cent, but trend­ing in right di­rec­tion’

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - SPORTS - By Safid Deen South Florida Sun Sen­tinel

DAVIE — Mi­ami Dol­phins quar­ter­back Ryan Tan­nehill felt the pres­sure com­ing from Bills safety Jor­dan Poyer and stepped into the pocket for a deep pass to re­ceiver DeVante Parker dur­ing last week’s 21-17 win over Buf­falo.

Although Tan­nehill’s third-down pass was in­com­plete, he was able to avoid a sit­u­a­tion sim­i­lar to the one that re­sulted in his se­ri­ous shoul­der in­jury two months ago.

As Tan­nehill wound up to pass, Poyer was in po­si­tion rem­i­nis­cent of where a Ben­gals line­man was when Tan­nehill’s shoul­der got pulled back­ward midthrow on Oct 7. Tan­nehill suf­fered an in­jury to his shoul­der cap­sule and missed the next five games.

Af­ter his sec­ond start since his re­turn, Tan­nehill said on Wed­nes­day his in­jury con­tin­ues to grad­u­ally im­prove each day.

The Dol­phins (6-6) hope Tan­nehill can be the cat­a­lyst for a late push for an AFC play­off spot dur­ing Sun­day’s game against the Pa­tri­ots (10-3) at Hard Rock Sta­dium.

“The shoul­der is def­i­nitely feel­ing bet­ter,” Tan­nehill said.

“It’s still not 100 per­cent, but it’s def­i­nitely trend­ing in the right di­rec­tion. Ev­ery day that goes by, it feels a lit­tle bet­ter. Ev­ery week that goes by, it feels a lit­tle bet­ter. I’m ex­cited with how things are pro­gress­ing there.”

Tan­nehill’s passer rat­ing in his past two games — a 111.5 av­er­age — may not tell the whole story, but it is a nice in­di­ca­tion of his per­for­mance since mak­ing his re­turn. His passer rat­ing was 94.72 in five games be­fore the in­jury.

The Dol­phins saw a 10-point lead evap­o­rate in a loss to the Colts in In­di­anapo­lis on Nov. 25 af­ter de­fi­cien­cies on both sides of the foot­ball.

Against the Bills last week, Dol­phins with­stood rookie quar­ter­back Josh Allen’s fourth-quar­ter charge af­ter Tan­nehill threw a go-ahead touch­down pass to Kenny Stills with 8:42 left in the game.

“I have a long way to go to get where I want to be,” Tan­nehill said. “I think I’m do­ing all right, but [there are] a lot of plays that I’d like to be bet­ter at. I think we have a lot bet­ter foot­ball in front of us as an of­fense.”

Tan­nehill will play his first home game against New Eng­land in three years, af­ter knee in­juries robbed him of the op­por­tu­ni­ties in 2016 and 2017.

Tan­nehill has a 3-7 record all time against the Pa­tri­ots, with all three of the vic­to­ries com­ing at home.

Tan­nehill said it is im­per­a­tive for the Dol­phins to not com­mit turnovers against the Pa­tri­ots in or­der to keep their sea­son alive.

“I think this team, more than any other team, they’re not go­ing to beat them­selves,” Tan­nehill said. “They’re not go­ing to give you cheap flags, cheap penal­ties, cheap any­thing, re­ally. So you can’t give them any. You have to play clean foot­ball and ev­ery­one has to do their job.”

JOHN MCCALL/SUN SEN­TINEL

Quar­ter­back Ryan Tan­nehill looks for a re­ceiver dur­ing prac­tice Wed­nes­day at Nova South­east­ern Univer­sity in Davie.

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