Story courtesy of The Associated Press
All those distractions didn't seem to fluster Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins quarterback, who was in the middle of a storm all week because his coach declined to endorse him as the starter, led the way Sunday as Miami (2-2) beat the Oakland Raiders 38-14 at Wembley Stadium. Tannehill took advantage of a depleted Oakland defense, throwing plenty of short passes for big gains. The third-year quarterback completed 23 of 31 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns.
"I know I wasn't playing up to standards the last few weeks, so I wanted to come out and personally play better," Tannehill said. "My teammates demand that from me and they expect that from me, and to finally come out and do that felt good."
Tannehill threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace and an 18-yarder to Dion Sims. Lamar Miller rushed for two more TDs, and cornerback Cortland Finnegan ran back a fumble 50 yards for another. But the star was Tannehill.
"I thought he had good rhythm. He had good tempo. He had good command. He was very decisive out there," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said.
The Raiders (0-4) scored on their opening drive but struggled after that. And starting quarterback Derek Carr was injured in the third quarter, replaced by third-stringer Matt McGloin. Oakland began the game without linebackers Nick Roach and Sio Moore, who were both inactive. Kaluka Maiava, who started in place of Moore, was then injured on the first Dolphins series, allowing Tannehill and his receivers to take even more advantage of the short pass.
The Dolphins opened the season with a win over the New England Patriots, but back-to-back 19-point losses to Buffalo and Kansas City put Tannehill's starting job at stake. Philbin was repeatedly asked who his starter would be against the Raiders in London, but he declined to utter the name "Tannehill." That only seemed to spur Tannehill on.
"I felt like, regardless of what people were writing or talking about me for whatever reason, I still wanted to play well," Tannehill said.
But it was the Raiders who jumped out to a quick lead. Carr completed a 30-yard pass to James Jones on the first play from scrimmage and soon after went ahead 7-0 on a 3-yard catch by Brian Leonhardt. The Dolphins took the lead for good early in the second quarter, with Tannehill completing six passes in a seven-play drive that culminated with Wallace's TD. Miller then scored the first of his touchdowns to make it 17-7, running in from 8 yards out, and Tannehill was soon at it again with the TD pass to Sims for a 24-7 halftime lead.
"Ryan is a guy who rarely shows any fluster, who rarely shows that he is out of his element," Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline said. "He handles everything on the go."
Things got worse for the Raiders when Carr injured his left ankle and knee in the third quarter and was replaced by McGloin. Backup Matt Schaub did not make the trip to London. On his second play, McGloin watched a bad snap fly by and then saw Finnegan snatch it up and run it in. The Raiders have lost 10 straight dating to last season, putting the pressure on coach Dennis Allen.
"Obviously, we did not play well," Allen said. "We turned the ball over; we did not stop them on defense. We gave up too many explosive plays."