Written by Matthew Cannata at 11:45 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Sometimes in the NFL, a player just doesn’t do well when he plays against certain teams. For example, Tom Brady never plays well in Miami against the Dolphins. Peyton Manning never seems to play well when he travels to New England.
For Ryan Tannehill, could it be the Buffalo Bills that have had him figured out since he first entered the league in 2012? He certainly understands the history of his play against them.
"Yeah, I hate losing. I don’t play to come out and play close games and lose. You play to win. We haven’t played good football, I haven’t played my best football against them. I don’t know if there is one real reason. Just thinking about the last time we played them, we didn’t play well up at their place. We have a lot of respect for the defense, they’re a good defense, but we didn’t play well as an offense, as a defense, had a turnover on special teams. You can’t win against a good team like that. It’s a big game for us to step up and do that, a night game on national TV. It’s a big opportunity for us.”
Joe Philbin gave more of a coach-speak answer when asked the same question, saying that they are focused on this one game and not all the previous games they lost with him at quarterback.
“To be honest with you, we are just concerned about this one game. What his record is in the previous ones doesn’t matter. Our football team in general, we have to play much better this week than we did last week. So the focus has been just getting our football team prepared to play an excellent Buffalo team. I’m not focused on one individual player’s record against the Buffalo Bills.”
Part of that reason, Philbin said, is because they are a different team now than they were when Tannehill first entered the league and even from Week 2 when they lost to the Bills. He said that Tannehill has continued to improve each week and he’s not concerned about his previous history.
“The quarterback is obviously an important position in our offense. We are not really concerned about how many 20-yard passes he’s had in the past,” Philbin said. “If you look at some of the things that happened in that game in Week 2, first and foremost, you have to give Buffalo a lot of credit. They played a very good defense against us. We didn’t protect the passer extremely well that day, and we didn’t have great detail and precision in our offense. They’ve run the ball better. I think third down has been an issue and then takeaways. We didn’t really produce a whole lot. Since then, our players have continued to work at it. Our staff continues to work at it. There’s been no magic potion or formula. We’ve just kind of come back to work working on the fundamentals, and I think it has shown our team has gotten better since then.”
With all that said and all the explanations out of the way, Lamar Miller put it best when asked about their recent struggles against the Bills.
“I think they’ve just been doing a good job of just playing hard. We just have to match their intensity and come out swinging.”