Sun Sentinel Columnist
4:46 PM PST, November 11, 2012
MIAMI GARDENS –
Maybe Dolphins owner Steve Ross should tell everybody in his organization they are being "closely evaluated."
That certainly seemed to work for 89-year-old Titans owner Bud Adams, who saw his team produce a 65-point turnaround one week after his tirade.
Coming off a blowout loss to the Bears, the Titans dominated the Dolphins from the start in handing them a 37-3 whipping. It was the worst home loss for this franchise since 1968 – two years before Don Shula's arrival.
Offense: Not since J.J. Watt was playing volleyball with his passes in the season opener has Ryan Tannehill played this poorly. The rookie quarterback matched a career low with three interceptions, including one that former University of Miami standout Colin McCarthy returned 49 yards for a 21-0 Titans lead. The Dolphins offense went 2 of 13 on third-down conversions as only Brian Hartline could seem to get open with any consistency. Grade: D
Defense: Nose tackle Paul Soliai was hobbled by an ankle injury, and it showed as the Titans were able to send Chris Johnson (123 rushing yards) up the middle with impunity. That ended a 22-game streak without a 100-yard individual rushing game against the Dolphins' proud rushing defense. Jake Locker broke off a 20-yard scramble after falling on his face trying to execute a play fake. For the second straight week, third down was a disaster for the pass defense (8 of 17 allowed). Grade: D-minus
Special teams: Dan Carpenter hit from 40 yards. Brandon Fields punted one 67 yards. That about wraps up the Dolphins positives in this area. Marlon Moore, Jimmy Wilson and newcomer Bryan McCann all were whistled for penalties in this phase. In fact, the only core area in which the Dolphins failed to get flagged was kickoff coverage, maybe because they only had to kick off twice all day. Grade: C-minus
Coaching: Mike Sherman's offense was held without a touchdown for the second time this year. Kevin Coyle's defense pushed around up front and, for the second straight week, lit up on third down in the secondary. Joe Philbin wasn't able to push any of the right buttons to jolt a strangely flat team out of its funk. Grade: D
Turning point: The Dolphins were trailing 14-0 and facing third-and-1 near midfield when McCarthy picked off a batted Tannehill pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. McCarthy is no speedster, yet the Dolphins somehow failed to run him down before he ambled the distance down the left sideline.
Second guess: Joe Philbin said it was "not necessarily" out of punishment that he decided to sit Reggie Bush for the final six series of the first half after his early lost fumble. Still, leaving one of the Dolphins' few legitimate playmakers on ice while the Titans built a 24-3 halftime edge was odd, to say the least.
Tannehill Take: Tannehill has shown remarkable resilience through the first half of his rookie season. He'll need to show it again after posting the second-worst quarterback rating (42.4) of his young career. His streak of 107 passes without an interception ended early in the second quarter and he was pulled with five minutes remaining.
Honorable Mention: Wilson produced the Dolphins' only sack and made four solo tackles.
Overall: Whether it was Andrew Luck hangover or some odd strain of overconfidence, the Dolphins just weren't right from the opening coin flip. This was a clunker of epic proportions. Oh, well, at least nobody got seriously hurt. Grade: D-minus
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