The Miami Dolphins defeated the Tennessee Titans 16-10 on their home opener Sunday afternoon. The defenses ruled the day as both teams combined for 366 yards. Miami recorded a season-high six sacks. Andre Branch lead the way with two sacks and rookie Charles Harris earned his first career sack. Kiko Alonso and Ndamukong Suh both earned sacks as Reshad Jones and Cameron Wake shared one. Reshad Jones recovered two fumbles and returned one for a touchdown which turned out to be the difference in the game.
Miami’s rookies performed well against the Titans. Charles Harris had one sack, two quarterback hurries and a tackle for loss. Davon Godchaux recorded two tackles and forced his first career fumble and Cordrea Tankersley had another strong showing with two tackles and a pass deflection. Perhaps the strongest showing of the day was at the linebacker position. Rey Maualuga made his Dolphins debut after missing the first three games due to a hamstring injury. Lawrence Timmons is getting into form with six tackles and a deflection as Kiko Alonso had the best game of the season with a sack, forced fumble, pass deflection and six tackles. A solid line backing core is something that Miami has been missing for quite some time. With Mike Hull and Chase Allen coming off the bench, the linebacking position looks strong moving forward.
After being shut out against the Saints and nearly shut out against the Jets, you thought the offense couldn’t get any worse. Miami recorded a season-low 178 yards. Jay Cutler had 92 yards, one touchdown and threw an interception trying to extend a play. Matt Cassel accounted for 141 yards, one touchdown and a lost fumble. Tennessee totaled 188 yards and went 2 for 13 on third down. Tennessee’s best moment came when they drove 69 yards for a tying touchdown to start the second half. Backup tight end Phillip Supernaw caught an 11-yard pass for his first career touchdown. Miami’s only offensive touchdown came on a 58-yard drive capped by a six-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry. DeVante Parker suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return.
While the game may have lacked offense, it certainly showcased some elite punting. Brett Kern had a gross average of 54.9 yards and a net of 50.2, while Dolphins rookie Matt Haack had a gross of 51.0 and a net of 49.4 Both of those were season highs for the rookie.
Despite the offensive woes, Miami stands with an even 2-2 record. They are just .5 games back of first-place in the AFC-East. Even though the Patriots don’t look as dominant as projected, they are right in the middle of the division race at 3-2. The Bills and the Jets have surprised the league with their 3-2 records. Miami is approaching the bulk of their schedule and 8.3 points a game will not cut it.
A date with Matt Ryan and the Falcons awaits Miami.
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