In what became the longest game in the history of the NFL, the Miami Dolphins defeated the Tennessee Titans 27-20. Thanks to two separate 2-hour lightning delays, the game ended at about 8pm local time after a 1pm kickoff.
We can dwell on the fact Ryan Tannehill threw two interceptions that were admittedly awful passes, and we can also point to the fact the middle of the field was wide open on numerous occasions for the Titans mediocre receiving corps. The main point is- overall the Dolphins put on a good performance and took a vital first step toward potential contention this season.
The game turned when the Dolphins defense rose up and stuffed the Titans on a 4th and Goal from the 2 yard line. Minkah Fitzpatrick, who played a tremendous first game as a rookie, read the play and made an excellent open field tackle to keep the score 3-0 Titans. Fitzpatrick just missed his first career interception as well. Reshad Jones was everywhere in this game, making game changing play after game changing play.
— David Eversole (@MiamiSportDave) September 9, 2018
Jones finished with a ridiculous stat line- 7 tackles including 1.5 for loss, two passes defended, and two crucial interceptions. Kiko Alonso added a third which allowed Miami to win the all important turnover battle 3-2.
The Dolphins offense then put together their longest touchdown drive since 1989. A 12-play, 98-yard drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Kenny Stills gave the Dolphins a 7-3 lead.
After a 2 hour delay which started at 1:11 left in the 2nd quarter, the game then featured an abbreviated halftime while the players stayed on the field. Both defenses traded turnovers before the Titans tied the game at 10 on a Dion Lewis touchdown run.
Another 2 hour delay midway through the 3rd quarter, and then the long touchdowns came fast and furious. Jakeem Grant, who saw extended playing time filling in for Devante Parker, returned a kickoff 102 yards to give the Dolphins a 17-10 lead.
Tannehill found Stills again for a 75 yard touchdown, on a beautifully thrown deep ball when Stills got behind the secondary.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 10, 2018
The Titans took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown to immediately cut the Dolphins lead right back in half.
And after a Jason Sanders FG (he was 2-2 on the day, turned evening) to make the score 27-17, the Dolphins defense kept the Titans from threatening much, and recovered a final onside kick to seal a 27-20 win.
The Titans suffered what appear to be three major injuries during the game. Blaine Gabbert replaced Marcus Mariota for the second half, after Mariota suffered an elbow injury on a hit from William Hayes. Tight end Delanie Walker suffered a gruesome looking ankle injury after making a catch late in the game. Star left tackle Taylor Lewan left with a concussion after he was hit by Andre Branch during a Dolphins interception return.
The Dolphins appear to have escaped the game relatively unscathed on the injury front. Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake carried the ball 23 times for 109 yards, which should be a recipe for success all year. Tannehill looked mobile and the new look offensive line protected him well most of the afternoon. He made several crisp, strong throws outside of two ugly picks.
Jakeem Grant led the team with five receptions and seven targets. Kenny Stills had a game high 106 yards and the two huge touchdowns. He appears set to be the Dolphins’ number 1 wideout this season.
Up next for the Dolphins: Sunday Sept 16 at 1pm vs the New York Jets, who play tonight on Monday Night Football.