Fresh off their bye week, last Sunday afternoon, newly appointed interim Head Coach Dan Campbell and the Miami Dolphins came to town and gave the Tennessee Titans a homemade whooping. Campbell wanted Miami to have fun again and play physical football. Well they nearly ran out of ways to celebrate, as the Dolphins devoured the Titans, 38-10.
“Those guys were dying for something like that,” Campbell said of the win. “Everybody’s having fun and they’re playing hard.”
The Dolphins (2-3) had lost three in a row, costing coach Joe Philbin his job. After Reshad Jones made a twisting leap into the end zone while finishing off a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown that made it 24-3 early in the third quarter, it was clear that this was a rout.
“There’s no defense for today,” Ken Whisenhunt said. “We didn’t get the job done.” Miami has won four of the last six in the series.
Cameron Wake got his first four sacks this season, all in the first half. He also forced two fumbles. Wake became the first player in the NFL with four sacks in a half since Chris Clemons had four for Seattle against Green Bay in 2012.
“Winning is always fun,” said Wake. The Dolphins finished with six sacks and intercepted Marcus Mariota twice.
Miami had been outscored 37-3 in the first quarter. They’d also been one of two teams in the league without a rushing touchdown, but Jarvis Landry put an end to that on the opening drive (on an old Statue of Liberty play) when Tannehill faked a pass, then handed off to Landry who ran up the right side for a 22-yard touchdown—giving Miami the lead for good. Also, Lamar Miller ran for 113 yards and a TD.
The Titans (1-4) lost their fourth straight, and their home skid is up to eight dating back to last season. Fans booed heavily before departing to the exits. Coach Whisenhunt is now 3-18 at home since taking over last season.
The Dolphins out gained Tennessee in yards, 434-299. In between time, they pounded Mariota. Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon was flagged twice for roughing the passer. The first came when he hit the rookie low in the left leg. Mariota wore a brace over his left knee before being replaced late in the game by Zach Mettenberger. Whisenhunt criticized the hit.
“That’s not the way you play football. I think it was done with the idea of trying to hurt our quarterback,” Whisenhunt said.
“I’ve never been a dirty player in my whole career. Why would I start now?” said Vernon.
Whisenhunt benched rookie right tackle Jeremiah Poutasi—not that veteran Jamon Meredith fared much better. The Titans also lost center Brian Schwenke to a dislocated left ankle in the second quarter. He was carted off the field, straight to the locker room and replaced by rookie Andy Gallik.
The Titans did try to rally, but shortly after Mariota hit Dexter McCluster for a touchdown to end the third quarter, that rally came to a halt. Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes intercepted Mariota near the goal line early in the fourth quarter. The Titans wouldn’t get in the red zone again. Mariota finished the game 21 of 33 for 219 yards and a TD.