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Week 1 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 20, Miami Dolphins 27
What you need to know
In the longest game in NFL history due to nearly four hours of lightning delays, the Titans suffered a multitude of losses not reflected on the scoreboard. Marcus Mariota
looked sharp until taking a hard hit to his throwing elbow and throwing interceptions on back to back pass attempts thereafter before exiting the game. The Titans started with Derrick Henry
in the backfield, but quickly shifted that workload to Dion Lewis
, who was much more effective both on the ground and through the air. Corey Davis
was the center of the passing attack with a career-high 13 targets, but the Titans may have lost Delanie Walker
for the season due to a late-game ankle injury.
This was a very sloppy game featuring two teams who did not quite look ready for the season to start. Tennessee was favored but Miami was able to claw and fight its way to a victory. Both teams had to combat two weather delays and wet field conditions. Miami knocked out Titans' starting quarterback Marcus Mariota
but still almost allowed them back into the game. Had it not been for a monster game by Kenny Stills
, the Dolphins would be 0-1 right now. The defense created 3 turnovers, but the offense gave the ball right back twice. The Dolphins will travel to New York to face the Jets next week.
|QB Blaine Gabbert, 33 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 22 - 117 - 0 TD / 1 INT|
was thrust into the game early in the second half due to an elbow injury sustained by Marcus Mariota
. Gabbert completed just 50 percent of his pass attempts while throwing an interception. He did not look sharp in this limited playing time and may need to start next week depending on Mariota's injury status.
|QB Marcus Mariota, 36 offensive snaps, Pass: 9 - 16 - 103 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0|
started out hot in his season debut, completing seven of his first eight pass attempts while moving the Titans down the field on two solid drives. He was making great decisions while hitting his targets routinely on these first couple of drives. On his second possession, Mariota did a great job picking up on an incoming blitz to get the ball out quickly to an uncovered Tajae Sharpe
for a 17-yard gain. On that same drive, Mariota would hit Luke Stocker
with a 33-yard bomb over the middle as he perfectly lofted the pass after a well-executed play action. Mariota and team would fail to convert that drive into any points though as they fizzled out on downs near the goal line. Near the start of the second half, Mariota would take a hard hit to his throwing arm elbow that sidelined him until the next offensive series. Things would then go downhill fast for Mariota. On his very next throw, Mariota would overthrow his intended target for his first interception of the game. After returning from a second lightning delay of nearly two hours, Mariota would throw yet another interception before being pulled for the remainder of the game. With his only two pass attempts after the hit to his elbow resulting in interceptions, it was clear something was not right with Mariota. His status will require monitoring throughout the week.
|RB Dion Lewis, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 75 - 1, Rec: 5 - 35 - 0 (8 targets)|
did not see his first touch until the Titans' third series, a few minutes into the second quarter. His first carry actually went for negative yardage as Lewis made a poor attempt to cut back on a toss before being smothered behind the line. Lewis would haul in a dump-off and make some nice juke moves to gain 12 yards on the next play though.
On the next drive to close out the first half, Lewis shot out of the backfield and plowed over a defender on his way to a powerful 9-yard gain. This would be the last play prior to the first lightning delay of nearly two hours. Lewis looked unstoppable on his longest run of the day near the end of the third quarter as he cut back to find a hole before spinning to avoid a defender and powering his way 26 yards downfield requiring two defenders to take him out of bounds. Later on that drive, it was Lewis who got the nod from within the five-yard line for his first rushing touchdown of the season. This was a big carry for Lewis, as everyone expected Henry to be the primary goal-line back. Lewis ended the day as the Titans' second most targeted receiver with 21 overall touches.
|RB Derrick Henry, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 26 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)|
started the game as the lead back and put together a few decent runs behind good blocking, but his efficiency was lackluster overall with only two of his runs resulting in more than three-yard gains. Henry was targeted once and hauled it in for five yards. After his high usage in the first quarter, Henry was basically an afterthought to Dion Lewis
, who out-touched him 21-to-3. The game script may have played a role here with the Titans being behind and Lewis the better pass-catching back.
|WR Corey Davis, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 62 - 0 (13 targets)|
was a very big part of this Titans offense early and often, finishing with a career-high 13 targets. The issue here is that Davis really didn't do much with those targets as he only managed to haul in six of them for 62 yards. His first catch of the game was a great wheel route across the middle for a 17-yard pickup. Davis then led off the next drive with a 10 yard gain from a short pass. Davis seemed to struggle under solid coverage from rookie cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard throughout the day, as they were instrumental to some of his missed targets. Davis had a chance to score near the goal line during the first half, but he simply could not overcome the coverage from Fitzpatrick to haul in the catch.
|WR Tajae Sharpe, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (3 targets)|
saw some significant playing time with Rishard Matthews
still learning the new offense after missing the preseason. Sharpe was targeted three times but hauled in just one reception for 17 yards coming off a cornerback blitz where he was left wide open.
was not targeted in Week 1 as he is still learning this new offense after missing the entire preseason. Matthews did see some snaps on special teams as he returned a punt while also playing limited offensive snaps.
was targeted seven times, hauling in four receptions for 52 yards. He got off to a slow start though, with only eight of those yards coming from Marcus Mariota
before yielding to Blaine Gabbert
after injury. The big news here, however, is the gruesome injury Walker suffered late in this contest as he had to be carted off with only a couple minutes remaining in the game. Early reports indicate Walker suffered a dislocated ankle along with a likely fracture, which should sideline him for the remainder of this season.
|TE Jonnu Smith, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)|
was targeted only three times in limited snaps, with two of those targets coming after the injury to Delanie Walker
. Smith hauled in one target for 12 yards on a nice route across the middle. Smith will assume the role as a starter with Delanie Walker
|QB Ryan Tannehill, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 28 - 230 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0|
This was a very up and down game for Tannehill. He showed some flashes of brilliance and the ability to make the big play, but also the rust that comes from a lost season due to injury and poor decision making. He was able to connect with Kenny Stills
for two touchdowns and had a run game that supported him to the tune of just over 4 yards per carry, but he could not put the Titans away late in the game. Tannehill also threw two interceptions that almost cost them a victory. The first touchdown was a 10-yard strike to Stills who took a quick out up the sideline for a touchdown. The defense doubled the inside receiver and left Stills open to the outside for the easy score. The second touchdown came on a deep ball right down the middle of the field that Stills took for 75 yards and a touchdown. He ran right between the safeties and was not touched all the way to the end zone. Tannehill did just enough for the Dolphins to win today but he is going to have to play much better if they want to fight for a playoff spot this season.
|RB Kenyan Drake, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 48 - 0, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (4 targets)|
The Dolphins started out with Drake as the clear-cut lead back, but as the game wore on he seemed to lose steam and Frank Gore
seemed to get going. Drake had 5 more carries than Gore and 13 fewer yards overall. He had one long run of 16-yards where he managed to break into the second level, but outside of that he was stopped at the line time and time again. Drake also did not contribute much to the receiving game either as his 3 receptions accounted for less than 20 yards. It was a very sloppy game for all parties involved and the weather really did not help things. Drake is still going to be the feature back going into next week, but if Gore continues to perform well, he may push the workload split closer to 50/50.
|RB Frank Gore, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 61 - 0|
It looked like it was turn back the clock night for Gore as he rushed to the tune of more than 6 yards per carry serving as the backup to Drake. Gore lead the team in rushing and looked like the most competent player not named Kenny Stills
. He broke a 21-yard gallop through the second level and looked poised in pass protection on third down situations. It may not be time to abandon Drake yet and buy in stock for Gore, but he certainly did not do anything to hurt his cause today. If he continues to find success, look for his workload to increase in the coming weeks.
|WR Jakeem Grant, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 38 - 0 (7 targets)|
Grant was the second leading receiver this week but made more of an impact on special teams than he did with the first team offense. He was targeted 7 times but made minimal gains with all his catches. His big contribution was a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. This came right after the Titans had tied the game 10-10 to start the 4th quarter. Grant will have to continue to contribute on special teams if he wants to see a role in the offense, especially with the return of Davante Parker looming.
The Dolphins' offense was a one man show this week with everything going through Stills. Amendola played in the slot and caught short passes. Tannehill was a little late with the ball and never quite hit Amendola in stride. His longest reception came out to be 8 yards and he had no chance to move the ball any further. Amendola has a very similar skill set to Stills and it will be hard to compete if Stills continues to excel. There should be ample YAC opportunity for Amendola as Tannehill gets more accurate and builds more rapport with his receivers.
|WR Kenny Stills, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 106 - 2 (5 targets)|
The entire offense seemed to run through Stills this week even though it was only two big plays. He had 5 total targets but surpassed 100 yards and two touchdowns. The first touchdown came when Tannehill noticed the defender jumping an inside route that left Stills breaking the outside wide open. The two receivers crossed in front of one another, giving just enough time for Stills to cut the corner and dive at the pylon for a 10-yard touchdown. The second touchdown was a beautiful bomb right down the middle of the field. Stills split the safeties and ran untouched for 75-yards and into the end zone. With Davante Parker out of commission with a broken finger, Stills stepped up to lead the team. The run game did just enough to open things up for Stills. It will be tougher for Stills to duplicate this performance due to the skewed number put up with the one big play. He serves best running routes underneath and in traffic. Look for his numbers to regress significantly next week.
|TE Mike Gesicki, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)|
It was a very quiet day for any receiver not named Kenny Stills
. Gesicki was only targeted twice and hauled in one. The athletic rookie tight end was not utilized as much as many people thought he would be, but Tannehill struggled to get a rhythm going with any of his receivers. Gesicki's value comes in the red zone and the Dolphins did not spend a lot of time there this week. Look for his numbers to increase as the season wears on.