LONDON (AP) — Keeping Ryan Tannehill guessing may have been just what was needed.
Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin again and again last week declined to say that Tannehill would be the starting quarterback against the Oakland Raiders in London, creating a distracting environment for the entire team.
But Tannehill responded where and when it mattered, leading the Dolphins (2-2) to a 38-14 victory over the Raiders (0-4) on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
“I’ve been more excited for this week and this game as this week went on and with all the distractions,” Tannehill said. “To finally leave the country, have a long flight and come over here, I’ve been more excited for this game than I have been for a long time.”
Tannehill completed 23 of 31 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns, and Dolphins coach Joe Philbin even praised him in his own mild-mannered way.
“I thought he had good rhythm. He had good tempo. He had good command. He was very decisive out there,” Philbin said. “I thought he made good decisions in the run game whether to give, whether to keep, whether to throw the bubble screens, etc. It looked like he played a very good football game.”
Both the Dolphins and Raiders have a bye next week, and then get back on the field on Oct. 12. The Dolphins host the Green Bay Packers and the Raiders welcome the San Diego Chargers.
Here are some things we learned in London:
RAIDERS INJURIES: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr left the game in the third quarter with ankle and knee injuries, and coach Dennis Allen wasn’t yet sure how long he would be out.
“I know the X-rays on his ankle were negative, but that’s the extent of what I know,” said Allen, who will be under intense pressure when he gets back to Oakland after the Raiders lost their 10th straight game dating to last season.
On defense, the Raiders started without linebackers Nick Roach and Sio Moore. Then early in Sunday’s game, Kaluka Maiava injured a hamstring.
“We got a lot of things that we got to look at and lot of self-evaluation that we got to go through to get this thing turned around,” Allen said.
INTERCEPTIONS: After three games without an interception, the Dolphins had three on Sunday.
Walt Aikens returned one for 43 yards, Brent Grimes had another for 32 yards and Jimmy Wilson a third for 31 yards.
“Sometimes they kind of come in bundles,” Philbin said. “It was good to see different guys get them and make some plays out there.”
RAIDERS DEFENSE: Although the defense was the bright spot in last week’s loss to the New England Patriots, the Raiders couldn’t seem to stop the Dolphins on Sunday in London.
Ryan Tannehill took advantage of a depleted set of linebackers and passed for 278 yards and two touchdowns, while Lamar Miller ran for 64 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
“They do a good job offensively schematically of making you spread out and having to make tackles in space and we didn’t do enough of that today,” Allen said.
WEMBLEY WAY: The ninth regular-season NFL game at Wembley Stadium packed them in as usual. With an announced attendance of 83,436, the home of England’s national soccer team was full once again for the American game.
And this time, there was even a Brit on the field in Raiders tackle Menelik Watson.
“I try not to be caught in the moment a lot,” said Watson, who this week had said he had always dreamed of playing soccer at the iconic stadium. “It was a little emotional before the game. But as soon as we started and I was coming in the extra tackle package, I didn’t notice the crowd.”
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