Blame it on the rain and on the lightning.
Who would’ve known it would take 7 plus hours for the Dolphins to play football, on and off, and send off the Titans with a bitter taste in their mouths.
South Florida football fans, fresh off of a weekend that included a 77-0 drubbing of Savannah State by the Miami Hurricanes in the same stadium several hours before.
The Miami Dolphins opening series was lackluster and the Miami defense was going to have to pick up the slack. Down 3-0 after a Ryan Succup field goal, the Dolphins defense took on the mantra of “bend but don’t break” kind of defense.
Sensing the Titans would go for it on 4th and goal, the Dolphins defense, like a band of brothers, summoned CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick on the outside to make what essentially was a game saving tackle where a pass to Corey Davis could have been a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
Instead Minkah Fitzpatrick showed why he was drafted in round one: his strength shedding a blocker on a pick play and then used his eyes to find Davis and bring him down to the ground well short of the goal line.
Surely, this play would not be seen as the play of the game until the Miami Dolphins marched for 98 yards down the field capping the drive with a 10 yard pass to Kenny Stills who beat his man and lunged for the pylon and the score.
The play capped a 98 yard drive, but more importantly put Ryan Tannehill on the board with his first touchdown after missing time due to two ACL injuries.
Tannehill clearly looked back and ready to roll in Adam Gase’s offense.
After starting the game dominant, Tannehill faltered a bit in the second half throwing a second interception and had trouble hitting his receivers short until the offensive play of the game:
75 yard bomb to none other than Kenny Stills.
Stills shed his man, stretched out his arms, and hauled in the biggest play of the game (offensively) with a huge touchdown catch and run.
Several fans in attendance said the ball traveled 50 yards through the air.
Tannehill said there wasn’t a defender within “4 yards” of him as he had a clean pocket and fired with precision for his second touchdown of the game.
Tannehill finished the game with 20 completions out of 28 pass attempts and coupled with help from his friends, Jakeem Grant (102 yard Kick Return TD), Reshad Jones (2 INTS), and help from yes, rookie kicker Jason Sanders.
For the Dolphins, forcing turnovers became a focus this offseason and the veterans-Reshad Jones and Kiko Alonso (post lightning delay number 2) showed that the players are still buying in to the Matt Burke defense.
Kudos to the Dolphins who won this game by playing better in every phase of the game: Offensive Line play superb (allowed one sack), defense (3 takeaways), offense (2 TDs), and special teams (2 FG and 1 KR TD).
Of note, after two lightning delays, the Miami Dolphins overcame adversity, came out of the tunnel with energy, and solidified their early spot in first place, tied with the Patriots.
15 games to go. A lot of football left to play.
On to the New York Jets.
Photo credit: Palm Beach Post