Nashville, TN – In their first game under interim head coach Dan Campbell, the Miami Dolphins built a commanding lead in the first half over the Tennessee Titans and never looked back, ultimately prevailing by a final score of 38-10.
The Dolphins defense rarely allowed the Titans and rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota to get comfortable. They forced a total of four turnovers – two fumbles and two interceptions – and sacked Titans quarterbacks six times, including five sacks in the first half. Left defensive end Cameron Wake was the primary antagonist, recording four sacks in the first half and forcing two fumbles, both of which were recovered by the Dolphins.The Titans were outgained in total yardage 434 to 299 and lost the time of possession battle for the first time in 2015 (31:53 to 28:07). On third down, the Miami defense limited them to two conversions on 10 attempts.
The Dolphins rushing offense also keyed their efforts in taking control from the beginning. Miami ball carriers combined for 180 yards on the ground, including 113 rushing yards on 19 carries by tailback Lamar Miller. Miller’s first half alone consisted of 13 attempts for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill engineered five scoring drives, including a 97-yard touchdown march in the fourth quarter that helped finally put the game out of reach. He was 22-of-29 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns, although the Titans were able to victimize him for two interceptions to help stay within striking distance for through three quarters.
But in the end, the Dolphins’ attack proved too much on both sides of the ball.
Each team scored on its first possession of the game, beginning with Miami’s seven-play, 80-yard series, which featured a 22-yard pass from Tannehill to wide receiver Rishard Matthews and a 22-yard touchdown run on an end-around by wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
The Titans followed with a 10-play, 61-yard series. Running back Dexter McCluster gained 22 yards on a run before the drive stalled, and the Titans settled for a 37-yard field goal by Ryan Succop. They would not score again until the end of the third quarter.
Following a 30-yard field goal by Dolphins kicker Andrew Franks, the two teams combined for three straight turnovers in the second quarter. The Titans drove into Miami territory, but a strip-sack by Wake led to a Dolphins recovery.
Three plays later, Tannehill was intercepted by Titans safety Michael Griffin, only to have Wake’s second forced fumble come moments later to return possession to Miami. Miller’s subsequent seven yard touchdown run made the score 17-3.
The Dolphins were positioned to add to the lead late in the first half, but nickel cornerback Coty Sensabaugh ended the threat with an interception at the Tennessee 26-yard line.
Late in the third quarter, the Titans took advantage of good field position to finally get back on the scoreboard. Scrimmaging from their own 48-yard line, Mariota found wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham for a 32-yard pass, leading to a three-yard touchdown toss from Mariota to running back Dexter McCluster.
With momentum on their side and trailing by 14 points, the Titans once again found themselves in Miami territory early in the fourth stanza.
However, when Mariota tried to connect with tight end Anthony Fasano down the field, Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes made a leaping interception at the three-yard line.
As a result, Tannehill directed a nine-play, 97-yard drive, culminating with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dion Sims. On their next series, the visitors tacked on a final 12-yard touchdown from Tannehill to tight end Jordan Cameron to provide the final score of the afternoon.
Miami Dolphins 38 at Tennessee Titans 10
Sunday, October 18th, 2015
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN