National Football League
 
 
                  === Locker returns, Titans rout Dolphins ===
 
 Miami, FL (Sports Network) - What a difference seven days makes.
 
 The  Tennessee Titans  were embarrassed last week at home against Chicago, but
 on  Sunday  welcomed second-year quarterback  Jake Locker back to the starting
 lineup and dominated the Miami Dolphins in a 37-3 rout at Sun Life Stadium.
 
 Locker  had  been sidelined  with a  separated left shoulder  since Week 4. He
 didn't  put up overwhelming numbers in his return, throwing for 122 yards with
 a  pair  of touchdowns on just  9-of-21 efficiency, but the Titans (4-6) moved
 the  ball effectively  and took  advantage of  four Miami  turnovers --  three
 coming on interceptions by the starting linebackers -- to halt a two-game skid
 heading into their bye week.
 
 Chris Johnson ran for 126 yards with a touchdown in the victory, while Kendall
 Wright and Jared Cook each caught a scoring pass. Tennessee opened a 21-0 lead
 just  under 16 minutes into this contest, a complete reversal from last Sunday
 when  the Bears raced  out to a 28-2 advantage after one quarter en route to a
 51-20  blowout -- a  defeat that had franchise patriarch Bud Adams "at a loss"
 to explain.
 
 "I  was really proud of everybody for the way we hung together considering how
 badly  things  went for us  last Sunday," Titans  coach Mike Munchak said. "We
 knew how important this game was, and we came out making plays."
 
 The  Dolphins (4-5) were coming off a 23-20 loss at Indianapolis last week and
 suffered  their worst setback of the season. Miami's last three losses had all
 come  by  just three points  -- two  in overtime --  after the club opened the
 season  with  a 30-10 drubbing  at Houston. It was  also the team's worst home
 loss since a 48-3 shellacking by Kansas City on Sept. 28, 1968.
 
 Miami  rookie quarterback  Ryan Tannehill  completed 23-of-39  passes for  217
 yards  with  three  interceptions --  his  first  picks  since  Week 4  in  an
 overtime  loss  at Arizona. He  was replaced by Matt  Moore late in the fourth
 quarter.  Reggie Bush managed  just 21 yards on the ground and was benched for
 the majority of the first half after a first-quarter fumble.
 
 "I  thought we  played better,"  Dolphins coach  Joe Philbin  said. "I  didn't
 really  see signs  of this  coming, but,  again, you  have to  hold on  to the
 football."
 
 After  a trade of  punts to start the contest, Bush fumbled after picking up a
 Dolphins first down and the Titans recovered at the Miami 28. Tennessee needed
 just  four plays to capitalize, as Johnson ran for 21 yards to set up Locker's
 9-yard TD pass to Wright on third down.
 
 Miami's  defense was torched last week on third down, allowing Indianapolis to
 convert 13-of-19 situations. The Titans were nearly as good, finishing 8-of-17
 on Sunday.
 
 The  Titans made it  14-0 on their next possession with a 65-yard drive helped
 by  a few Miami defensive blunders. Locker fell while trying to fake a handoff
 on  the first  play from scrimmage, but  quickly got up and scrambled past the
 flat-footed  Dolphins  for 20 yards.  Facing 4th-and-2  from the Miami 37 soon
 after,  Locker eluded a  sure sack and ran five yards to keep the drive alive,
 and  two  plays later, Johnson  reversed his field  after being bottled up and
 outraced the Miami defense to the end zone for a 17-yard score.
 
 Things  went  from bad to  worse for  Miami in the  first minute of the second
 quarter,  when Tannehill's  pass was  deflected at  the line  of scrimmage  by
 linebacker Akeem Ayers and intercepted by Colin McCarthy. Shaken up just a few
 plays  earlier, the linebacker from the University of Miami was able to lumber
 49 yards for another score and a 21-0 lead.
 
 The Dolphins answered with a 40-yard field goal from Dan Carpenter, but nearly
 blew that opportunity. Carpenter missed his initial kick, but the Dolphins had
 called timeout just before the snap and gave the kicker a second chance.
 
 Tannehill  was picked  off again late in the second quarter, as Ayers corraled
 the  errant  throw inside the Miami  25 for his first career interception. The
 Titans  were unable to pick up a first down, but still tacked on a 37-yard Rob
 Bironas field goal in the final minute to head to the break with a 24-3 edge.
 
 The  Titans took  the second-half kickoff and converted four third downs on an
 85-yard  drive that consumed more than eight minutes, ending with a 26-yard TD
 strike  from Locker to Cook on 3rd-and-15. The Dolphins had recovered a fumble
 on  the prior play, but officials apparently whistled the play dead before the
 ball came loose and said it was not reviewable.
 
 Miami,  literally, never  recovered, as Bironas added field goals of 38 and 53
 yards  --  the latter after a  pick by linebacker  Zach Brown -- in the fourth
 quarter.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Johnson  recorded his 32nd career 100-yard rushing game and fourth of 2012 ...
 Johnson became the fourth player in franchise history to reach 8,000 scrimmage
 yards,  joining Eddie George, Earl Campbell and Ernest Givins ... The Dolphins
 hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher since Houston's Ben Tate ran for 103 yards in
 Week  2 of  the 2011 season --  a span of 22 games ... McCarthy's interception
 return  for  a touchdown was  the first for  the Titans since Jordan Babineaux
 last Oct. 2 at Cleveland ... Bironas surpassed Al Del Greco's franchise record
 of  229  consecutive extra points  without a miss ...  Miami failed to score a
 touchdown  at  home for the first  time since Nov. 18,  2010 in a 16-0 loss to
 Chicago  ... The Dolphins have a quick turnaround with a trip to Buffalo for a
 Thursday night matchup with the Bills.
 
 
 11/11 21:01:57 ET

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