10:00 a.m. ET
88 degrees / Humid and mostly cloudy
Key Coaching Decision #1: (TEN ball, leading 3-0 / fourth-and-goal at MIA 3 / 1:42 Q1)
• The Titans had the opportunity to add to their early lead. This was a road game where points might be hard to come by because of the inclement weather in Miami. The Titans elected to attempt to score a touchdown and came away without points.
• Marcus Mariota’s fourth-down pass attempt was completed but fell short and the Titans turned the ball over on downs. Earlier in the set of downs, Mariota had thrown a one-yard completion and on third down, the pass attempt fell incomplete.
• Miami took over with momentum and with good use of the quick game and a punishing ground attack led by Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake, went 98 yards for a touchdown.
• The uncertainty of weather and field conditions later in the game suggests that kicking a field goal here would have been the prudent thing to do.
Key Coaching Decision #2: (MIA ball, leading 7-3 / fourth-and-1 at TEN 15 / 1:55 Q2)
• After forcing Tennessee to punt, the Dolphins drove from their own 15-yard line to the Titans’ 15-yard line. Facing the decision to attempt a field goal to put them up seven points or a one-yard conversion, the Dolphins decided to try and convert for a first down. They came up short.
• Miami had all their timeouts and in a best-case scenario, could have kicked a field goal, and still had an opportunity to use their timeouts on defense to get the ball back had they stopped the Titans, whose offense had slowed down after a decent start. (The Dolphins actually did force the Titans to punt.)
Key Coaching Decision #3/4: (TEN ball, trailing 7-3 / first-and-10 at TEN 47 / 6:22 Q1 … then: third-and-5 at MIA 48/4:05 Q1)
• After a 17-yard completion from Mariota to wide receiver Tajae Sharpe for a first down, Tennessee needed to call a timeout. Three plays later, Tennessee had to use their second timeout. Both of these timeouts could have been useful at the end of the half and the Titans could have attacked the end of the half differently had they had more than one timeout remaining.
Key Coaching Decision #5/6: (TEN ball trailing 7-3 / second-and-6 at TEN 31 / 9:04 Q3 … and fourth-and-7 at TEN 43 / 3:07 Q4)
• Head coach Mike Vrabel used a timeout on a play that would have resulted in a gain of only 4 yards had the play been overturned. The play was upheld. Thus, the Titans lost a timeout.
• Later in the half, the Titans called a timeout after an incomplete pass (the clock had already stopped) and before a fourthdown. The fourth-down conversion attempt was not successful.
• Both of these timeouts could have been utilized in a more responsible fashion towards the end of the game as the Titans had no timeouts left on their final possession of the game which resulted in a field goal that cut the Dolphins lead to 7.
• This was a game completely marred and lengthened by two weather delays, both at about two hours each. This was a low-scoring game for the first three quarters. At the end of the third quarter, the teams were deadlocked at 10. The points came in bunches, including a special teams touchdown from each team. It is just a hunch, but the two long delays and the subsequent waiting in the locker room for play to resume must have taken a toll on the coaches and especially the players. This was a long day at the office for both teams.
• Even without personnel such as Mike Pouncey and Jarvis Landry, the 2018 Dolphins offense looked decent against a solid Titans defense.
• Miami ran the ball well, and it was Frank Gore that did most of the damage. This opened up the passing game and the Dolphins used play-action passes well.
• They game planned successfully to get the ball to get Kenny Stills.
• The gameplan was successful at first as it was obvious that their goal was to get Mariota comfortable and into a rhythm. It worked as RPOs, short passes and the quick game helped the Titans get in Dolphins territory on the first two drives. However, the Titans got away from it. We are not sure why.
• In the third quarter, Mariota threw back-to-back interceptions and came out of the game after the second interception. The team cited an elbow injury.
• Blaine Gabbert came in and the offense changed to more five-step drops and a more conventional NFL offense.
• Both sides used their personnel well. The Titans chose to use Dion Lewis at running back more than Derrick Henry as the game wore on.
• This was a costly game for the Titans as Delanie Walker was lost for the year while Mariota injured his elbow and tackle Taylor Lewan was knocked out, left the game and did not return. That’s a lot of firepower lost for a team that was 19th in offensive points scored a season ago.