Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky
December 24, 2014

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Everything seems to be coming together for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

With one game remaining in his third season under center, his numbers in all significant categories are up. So is the confidence his coaches have in him.

What matters most to Tannehill, however, is wins, not where he rates statistically. A home victory over the New York Jets on Sunday would give him nine on the season, a career best.

But Miami will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season and that weighs on him more than the fact that he's closing in on 4,000 yards passing.

''Honestly, I all I care about is winning,'' said Tannehill, who completed 35 of 47 passes for 396 yards, four touchdowns and one interception against the Vikings last week. ''I wish we could have won some more games and that's what we're working toward in the future. Individual stats don't really matter if you're not getting the wins.''

Tannehill has thrown for a career-high 26 touchdowns and his 93.2 passer rating is nearly 12 points higher than what he finished with last season. His interceptions also are down from 17, and his completion percentage is up from 60.4 to 67.0, all indicators he is getting more comfortable in offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's system.

Lazor, who joined the Dolphins this season, took a close look at the game film from Sunday and saw things in Tannehill's play that creates optimism for the future. It was more than just the types of throws.

''I saw Ryan stand in the pocket with two guys coming off blocks and he stood in there, made the throw while both of the guys were about to hit him, and they did hit him,'' Lazor said. ''I saw a play in the first quarter of the game, we ran a play-action and we tried to take a shot down the field, it was covered. He got some pressure late because it took a while, and he threw the ball away and avoided a sack. For me, as the coach, when I watched the tape, I watch those things that tell me, `Hey, this guy is playing quarterback.'''

Any controversy surrounding Tannehill's role as the starter after the first three games feels so long ago. Coach Joe Philbin would not commit to him as the starter in London against the Oakland Raiders in the days leading up to the Week 4 game. Tannehill responded by completing 23 of 31 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns.

The former college receiver who made the switch to quarterback as a junior at Texas A&M feels he has made the right strides overall and is hoping to further prove that Sunday.

''I feel like I'm better all-around than I've been in the past. Completing passes, I think I've grown through the season and gotten better each week,'' Tannehill said. ''I think I'm just more comfortable in the offense. I think it took me some reps just to get comfortable with the system and the combinations we're using and putting the ball in the right spot at the right time.

''I finally settled down, got comfortable and got the balls to the guys around me and they're making plays.''


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