Sunday, November 11, 2012
Wrap-up: Titans 37, Dolphins 3
By Paul Kuharsky
Thoughts on the Titans' 37-3 win over the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium:
What it means: The Titans are 4-6 heading into their bye. Their past two games show what they are capable of being, both bad and good. They lost at home by 31 to Chicago and they won on the road by 34 at Miami.
What I liked, offense: Chris Johnson was reminiscent of his best days, gaining 126 yards and scoring a touchdown. His performance ended a 22-game streak in which the Dolphins had not allowed an individual back to gain 100 yards. That dated back to Week 2 of 2011, when Houston’s Ben Tate ran for triple figures. After a five-game layoff with an injured left shoulder, Jake Locker made a great comeback, running with great effectiveness (four carries for 36 yards) that helped open things up for big pass plays to a number of different targets, including touchdowns to Kendall Wright and Jared Cook. Locker was just 9-of-21, but those nine completions produced 122 yards.
What I liked, defense: All three starting linebackers had interceptions. Akeem Ayers had his first career interception to set up a field goal. Not long after Colin McCarthy hobbled off the field hurt, he grabbed a pass batted into the air by Ayers and took it 49 yards for a touchdown. Later, Zach Brown picked off Ryan Tannehill and set up a field goal with a 47-yard return. The Titans also benefited from a Reggie Bush fumble.
Could have been even better: Locker’s timing with his targets was off on a couple of occasions. Early on, he underthrew Darius Reynaud, who was open deep down the right side, and a defender was able to break it up. Later, he found Kenny Britt with a rainbow for a 28-yard gain, but the ball was short and Britt had to slow down for it or he might have had more.
Major highlight: Johnson had an 80-yard scoring run this year, but his 17-yard TD in this game might have been his best of the season. He started moving right, and went all the way right of the numbers. But he found a wall and no room. Showing patience, he reversed course, found a lane, cut up and high-stepped into the end zone.
Got away with one: Running back Jamie Harper looked like he lost a third-quarter fumble, but officials ruled he was down by contact, rendering the play nonreviewable. Looking at replays, it appeared it was a fumble.
What’s next: The Titans finally get their week off. They return to action the Sunday after Thanksgiving on Nov. 25 with a trip to Jacksonville for their first game of the season against the AFC South rival Jaguars.