Final Score: Tennessee 37, Miami 3
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"
"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
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
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
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 21:00:47 ET
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