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Joe Philbin, Ryan Tannehill showing progress in Miami

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Progress has been slow to come by in Miami for Ryan Tannehill and Joe Philbin. But the progress exists, and Thursday's 22-9 victory over Buffalo is another example of this franchise at a crossroads making strides.

Seven wins in Philbin's first season turned to eight last season, albeit with an excruciating final two weeks. Miami is up to 6-4 after their win over the Bills on Thursday night, and we don't see a collapse coming. This was a game that a playoff contender had to win, and the Dolphins took care of business with a complete team effort. All six of their wins have come by double-digit margins. The Bills, now 5-5, have a nearly impossible path to the playoffs. 

Tannehill and the offense have made strides. They smartly dodged the strong Buffalo pass rush with quick throws, and were able to run the ball well enough with Lamar Miller. They averaged 5.2 yards per play overall, a solid effort against one of the most dangerous defenses in football. They nearly doubled the Bills in first downs, 24 to 13. Tannehill was mostly accurate and knew where to throw the football. He's doing a better job going to his secondary reads and keeping the offense moving. He's not playing a flashy brand of football, but he doesn't need to.

The Dolphins have an improving group of playmakers around Tannehill: Mike Wallace, Jarvis Landry, Lamar Miller and Charles Clay. Landry is a keeper; he makes a few eye-opening plays each week, including his touchdown Thursday. More importantly, the defense is good enough to carry this team.

Miami's front seven bent, but they didn't break while giving up some long early drives to Buffalo. Led by Olivier Vernon's lightning quick speed around the edge, the Dolphins put a sleeper hold on Kyle Orton down the stretch. Buffalo's last five drives over the last 20 minutes added up to 23 yards, zero points and a safety that Vernon forced due to quick pressure.

In short: Tannehill and the improved Dolphins' offense didn't need to do much to win a crucial division game in November. That's a recipe for success deep into the season. That's progress.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 11 game and recaps the Dolphins' key victory over the Bills. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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