Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins entered Sunday’s matchup with the Tennessee Titans as a possible playoff hopeful. By the end of the Titans’ complete demolition of the Dolphins, Miami looked like a broken team.
The Titans won the game 37-3, handing the Dolphins their worst home loss since 1968. This is the same Tennessee team that was obliterated the week before by the Chicago Bears, 51-20. Miami came in winning three of their last four games before running into the Titans’ buzzsaw.
The stats from the game don’t tell the full story. From a pure yardage standpoint, both offenses were close, with the Titans’ offense gaining 293 yards and Miami’s offense gaining 255 yards. But between bad penalties and turnovers, the Dolphins never had a chance.
Miami’s rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill played his worst game since the opening weekend by throwing three interceptions in the game. Tannehill completed 23 of 39 passes for 217 yards, but had no touchdown passes and the three costly interceptions.
What may stun Dolphins fans who didn’t notice it in the game was that Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, and Lamar Miller combined for 12 carries in the game. Bush had just four rushes for 21 yards in the entire game. He was not used a lot after a costly early fumble in the game.
Titans quarterback Jake Locker didn’t light up the Dolphins for a lot of stats, he completed just nine of 21 passes for 122 yards, but did throw two touchdown passes, including a 26-yard pass to tight end Jared Cook in the third quarter.
The Titans, unlike the Dolphins, ran the football with relative ease in the game. Titans running back Chris Johnson ran the ball 23 times for 126 yards and a touchdown, while Locker contributed four carries for 36 yards against the once stout Dolphins defense.
With the loss the Dolphins dropped to 4-5 on the season and the Fins are now two games behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
Tannehill’s passer rating of 42.4 against the Titans was the worst he has had since week one when he also threw three interceptions against the Houston Texans and finished that game with a quarterback rating of 39.0.
For the season, Tannehill has thrown for 1,979 yards, five touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He’s also lost one fumble on the season and been sacked 17 times.
But where the Dolphins are really struggling is in the running game. Reggie Bush has managed just 14 carries for 62 yards in the last two weeks and dating back to week two, hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards since then. For the season, Bush has rushed for 55 yards and is averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
Bush has also only scored two touchdowns in the last seven games.
Overall, the Dolphins offense is ranked 25th in the league in scoring and 26th in the league in yards gained. That’s left a lot of weight to be put on the defense, which most weeks has responded and for the season is ranked eighth in the league in points allowed.
But, in the last four weeks, the Dolphins defense has given up yardage in chunks to opponents. The Fins defense has given up 462, 363, 516, 293 yards over the last four games. Still, the Dolphins are 2-2 in those games, which explains how the Fins are eighth in scoring defense, but 22nd in yards allowed.
Still, after giving up 516 yards in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and 293 yards in a blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans; the Dolphins defense needs some help heading into the rest of the season.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins schedule is about to get a lot tougher. The Dolphins visit Buffalo this weekend and then play back-to-back games against Seattle and New England and then travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers.
If the Fins don’t win against Buffalo and at least get one victory against either Seattle or New England, any hopes of the playoffs could evaporate quickly for the Dolphins.