The Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans have finished their marathon Week 1 NFL game. The game was officially the longest game (time-of-day wise) ever in the NFL, which means the Dolphins have both that record, and the longest playing-time game ever with the 82:40 double overtime game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1971 Division Playoffs.
The Dolphins beat the Titans 27-20 in a game that last 7 hours, 11 minutes.
The obvious story of this game is the almost four hours of delay, almost two hours in the first half and another two hours in the second. While it was not storming that much in the stadium throughout most of the day, there were lightning strikes within a mile of the stadium throughout the game, leading to the lengthy delays. While delays like this are never a good thing, the fact that it is Week 1, and teams are just trying to find a rhythm made this even worse.
After the first delay, both teams looked like they had been sitting in the locker room for two hours. They were not fluid in anything they did and it led to some stiff play. After the 3-minute, 30-second halftime, the Dolphins got the ball, but it still led to three 3-and-outs, two from Miami one from Tennessee. After that, the interceptions started, with both teams ending drives - Miami with a shot at the end zone - with picks.
For what we could see from this game, the Dolphins rushing attack is serious. Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore both looked incredibly strong, averaging over five yards a carry. Tannehill looked good, other than his bad under throw on the interception. The team spread the ball around, with Jakeem Grant, Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson, and Kenyan Drake all recording multiple receptions, while Kenny Stills added a touchdown. Rookie tight end Mike Gesicki made his debut and recorded a nice 11-yard reception for his first career catch.
Minkah Fitzpatrick had a really good game, especially early. He looked fast and made plays all over the field. Reshad Jones looked like Reshad Jones, including two interceptions and a beautiful blowing up of Dion Lewis in the backfield. Of course, he also missed a couple of tackles, but we will chalk it up to being game one, and weird delays.
Ryan Tannehill was solid throughout the day, though his two interceptions were both bad throws. Tannehill finished the game 20-for-28 for 230 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He recorded an 89.9 passer rating.
And Jakeem Grant looked good as a wide receiver, and had the 102-yard kickoff return to push Miami back out to a touchdown lead right after the Titans had tied the game at 10.
The Dolphins won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
Titans Possession 1: The Titans come out looking to run the ball, with Derrick Henry picking up carries on three of the team’s first four plays. The Dolphins rush defense seems to be strong early, but the Titans are able to pick up a couple of first downs through the air. The next set of downs saw Dolphins first-round pick, Minkah Fitzpatrick, make his presence felt, however, as he made a tackle on the left side of the offense on a running play, then was on the right side to break up a screen pass for a loss. The third-down pass to the endzone was incomplete and the Titans settled for a field goal.
Dolphins Possession 1: The Dolphins come out with Ryan Tannehill on the field for the first time since December 2016. On first down, Tannehill found Kenyan Drake on a swing pass for 10 yards and a first down. Interestingly, the Dolphins started the game with both Drake and Frank Gore in the backfield. On the second play, the Dolphins lined up with an empty backfield, spreading everyone out, but then a false start by Laremy Tunsil forced the Dolphins backwards and they were not able to come out of it. Punt.
Titans Possession 2: The Titans came out and moved the ball quickly, picking up 10 yards on a pass from Marcus Mariota, then 17 more on the next play. After a couple of runs, including Derrick Henry for five yards and Mariota scrambling for seven, Mariota called his second time out of the drive, then Henry picked up five more yards. The Dolphins’ struggles with tight ends bit them as Stocker picked up 31 yards to get into the Miami 5-yard line. After that, however, the drive stalled. On 4th-and-Goal, the Titans elected to go for it, but Fitzpatrick made the tackle at the two, and Miami took over on downs.
Dolphins Possession 2: Miami hard counted on first down to pick up a free five yards and get off their own goal line. Tannehill then went to work, using Kenyan Drake and Albert Wilson to pick up 25 yards on five plays before the end of the quarter.
Dolphins Possession 2 (continued): Tannehill found Jakeem Grant for seven yards on the first play of the quarter, then Frank Gore reminded everyone why he is still a dominant runner in the league, picking up 10 yards right up the middle. After Tannehill again found Grant for eight yards, a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Malcolm Butler moved Miami into Tennessee territory. Gore picked up another seven yards, then Albert Wilson lined up in the backfield and picked up five yards. Tannehill appeared to pick up five yards on the next play with a pass to Wilson, but a holding call on Tunsil backed up the Dolphins. Gore took care of the lost yardage on the next play, picking up 21 yards to move to the Tennessee 10-yard line. Miami finished the drive on the next play, with Tannehill finding Kenny Stills for the touchdown pass.
Miami has the Dolpins— Kevin Nogle (@thephinsider) September 9, 2018
The greatest football team
We take the ball from goal to goal
Like no ones ever seen
We’re in the air, we’re on the ground
We’re always in control
And when you saw Miami
You’re talking Super Bowl
Titans Possession 3: Dion Lewis came out first for the Titans but lost five yards on a combined Robert Quinn and Reshad Jones tackle. Mariota then connected with Lewis for a 13-yard gain, followed by Quinn being called for a neutral zone infraction. After a one-yard gain from Lewis and a six-yard scramble from Mariota, a deep pass fell incomplete and the Titans stalled. Punt.
Dolphins Possession 3: The Dolphins running backs came to play, with Drake picking up eight yards up the middle, then another eight yards on the right side, only to see that run negated by a holding call on right tackle Ja’Wuan James. Tannehill found Grant for 13 yards on the next play before going back to the ground and having Drake pick up 16 yards. Gore came in and picked up eight yards, then three yards, then Wilson ran an option play picking up two yards. Tannehill then found Wilson on a short pass, with the receiver breaking a tackle and picking up 21 yards. After Drake lost one yard, Tannehill ran for two yards, then threw to Amendola for eight yards. After the two minute warning, the Dolphins ran a play to try to convert on 4th down, only to have Grant catch the ball but step out of bounds for an incomplete pass. Turn over on downs.
Titans Possession 4: Mariota threw incomplete on the first play after the turnover on downs, then Lewis ran up the middle for 9 yards. The game was then suspended due to lightning strikes one mile from the stadium.
After a 1 hour, 57 minute delay, the Titans picked up the first down on a quarterback sneak. On the next first down, Taylor Lewan was called for a facemark, backing the Titans up to their own 13-yard line and setting up 1st-and-23. Lewis ran three-straight times, picking up 14 yards, with Miami calling time outs to try to get a return on the punt.
Dolphins Possession 4: Miami knelt after Grant could not return the punt and we have reached halftime. The league determined the halftime break should only be 3.5 minutes, so the teams are staying on the field.
Dolphins Possession 5: After the short halftime, Miami got the ball after deferring in the first half. The opened the half again with both Drake and Gore in the backfield, starting with a Gore run for three yards, then a pass to Drake for four yards. Tannehill looked to Amendola, but overthrew him as the quarterback was rocked just above his left knee. He was able to get up, but there was a limp as he got off the field and a grimace on his face. Punt.
Titans Possession 5: Tennessee started with good field possession after Adoree Jackson returned the ball 26 yards, but was shaken up as he was tackled. A short run from Henry started the drive, picking up three yards. Henry carried the next play as well, picking up three yards, with Mariota getting injured on the play. It was a run-option for Mariota, who handed the ball off and faked like he still had it. William Hayes tackled Mariota, in case he had the ball, and Mariota came up grabbing his elbow and flexing his hand. Blaine Gabbert started warming up and entered the game on 3rd-and-4. Gabbert threw low as he attempted to find Walker and the Titans would punt.
Dolphins Possession 6: Amendola again was back to return the punt, calling for a fair-catch at the nine-yard line. The Dolphins looked to return to the ground game on their next possession, with Drake picking up five yards on the first down play. Drake picked up another four yards on the second play, then was stuffed up the middle on the third down attempt. Miami punted after the three-and-out.
Titans Possession 6: Mariota returned to the game after the punt. Lewis ran for four yards, then Mariota looked deep but badly overthrew the pass and Reshad Jones picked it off. During the return, Andre Branch blocked Taylor Lewan and appeared to knock out the tackle. A fight then erupted, with multiple flags thrown - ultimately leading to offsetting penalties and Miami’s ball.
Dolphins Possession 7: Tannehill threw short to Grant, who had the ball stripped after he was ruled down. The Dolphins rushed to the line and the Titans challenged the play, but Grant was clearly down before the fumble and the play was confirmed. Tannehill then rolled out to his right on the next play, and, on the scramble drill, the Titans were called for defensive holding. Amendola then picked up eight yards on a crossing route, then Tannehill found rookie tight end Mike Gesicki for 11 yards and a first down at the Tennessee 7-yard line. Drake picked up four yards on 1st-and-Goal. On 2nd-and-Goal, Miami clearly set up for a jump ball to Gesicki, who was alone spread out to the left. Tannehill badly underthrew the ball, however, and it was picked off by Malcolm Butler, who returned it 33 yards to the Tennessee 32-yard line.
Titans Possession 7: After another delay, this one 2 hours and 2 minutes, the Dolphins picked off the first pass and Kiko Alonso gave the ball right back to the Dolphins.
Dolphins Possession 8: Gore picked up four yards on the first play for Miami. Kenny Stills then picked up 10 yards on 2nd-and-6. After lining up in the Wildcat, with Wilson in the shotgun and Tannehill out wide, the Dolphins were forced to call a timeout. Tannehill was then incomplete on a throw to Wilson in the end zone, with Butler shoving the receiver out of bounds before he could get a second foot down. After an eight-yard gain from Gore, a three-yard loss on another Gore run forced a field goal attempt. Rookie kicker Jason Sanders converted on his first career attempt, this one from 27 yards, and Miami extended the lead.
Titans Possession 8: Gabbert came back into the game at quarterback after the two straight picks thrown by Mariota, which could be an issue from the injury earlier in the game. Gabbert actually found some rhythm with the offense, moving them 56 yards on three plays, highlighted by a Dion Lewis run up the middle for 26 yards where Miami could not tackle him and including a spin move away from safety Reshad Jones. On the next play, however, Jones blew up the play in the backfield and dropped Lewis for a two-yard loss.
Titans Possession 8 (continued): Gabbert then connected with Corey Davis for 15 yards, with Dion Lewis finishing off the drive with a 4-yard score.
Dolphins Possession 9: Jakeem Grant took care of the score with a 102-yard kickoff return for the score, going the entire way untouched.
Titans Possession 9: This game has become crazy. Gabbert started the possession with an incomplete pass, then connected with Walker for 13 yards. After Lewis broke a 70-yard touchdown run that was called back for a hold, Gabbert had another short completion to Luke Stocker, and an incomplete pass. After another pass to Lewis for six yards, the Titans punted.
Dolphins Possession 10: Tannehill rushed for four yards when nothing materialized in a run-pass option style play. He then hit Kenny Stills in stride on a deep crossing route, but Stills had the ball go straight through his hands. On 3rd-and-6, Tannehill swung the ball out to Drake on a blitz hot read, and the team converted for the first down. The Dolphins decided to end the drive right there, with Tannehill throwing a beautiful bomb down the field to Stills for a 75-yard touchdown.
Tell me again about Tannehill’s deep ball problems.— Kevin Nogle (@thephinsider) September 9, 2018
Titans Possession 10: Whatever you can do, I can do better? Darius Jennings returned the kickoff 94 yards for the touchdown.
Dolphins Possession 11: The Dolphins came out throwing again, with Tannehill looking for Grant on first down and it coming up incomplete, then finding Grant for six yards. After a holding penalty negated a first down scramble by Tannehill, the quarterback again looked deep and either horribly overthrew Grant or Grant ran a much shorter route than Tannehill thought, and Kenny Vaccaro intercepted the ball.
Titans Possession 11: Lewis picked up seven yards on first down, then an incomplete pass on second down led to third-down conversion on a Gabbert to Lewis three-yard pass. Lewis then picked up five yards and one yard, before Gabbert looked for Walker only to have Jones pick off a pass for the second time in the game. Jones returned the ball 54 yards to set up Miami inside the redzone.
Dolphins Possession 12: After a loss of of three yards on a Drake run, Tannehill was sacked on second down for an eight-yard loss. Tannehill then found Stills for 11 yards on 3rd-and-21 as the team looked to set up for a field goal. Sanders connected on his second field goal of the game, giving Miami a two-score lead.
Titans Possession 12: On the first play of the drive, the Titans may have suffered one of their biggest losses as Walker’s right foot turned around completely backwards on his leg. After a cart came out to get Walker, Gabbert was incomplete and nearly picked off by Xavien Howard. On second down, Gabbert found Lewis for three yards. On 3rd-and-7, Gabbert threw to absolutely no one, with all the receivers running patterns to the left and Gabbert looking for someone to come back to the right. Going for it on 4th-and-7, the Titans are forced to use their final time out. Gabbert rushed his throw after the timeout and the ball fell incomplete, giving Miami the ball on downs.
Dolphins Possession 13: Drake picked up three yards on a play where he almost broke it, but did not want to go near the sidelines, making sure the clock kept running. Drake lost three yards on the next play, but the clock worked down to the two minute warning. Drake picked up no yards on the 3rd down run, with Miami punting the ball back to the Titans with 1:07 remaining in the game.
Titans Possession 13: Gabbert found Davis for an 18-yard gain. On the next play, Fitzpatrick nearly came away with the interception as he jumped the route, but could not bring in the pick. Gabbert on second-down threw the ball to no one in the middle of the field. Gabbert was able to connect on a 12-yard pass to Smith in the middle of the field, then did the same with Lewis for 10 yards. But the clock continued to run throughout, working down to 16 seconds before the clock was stopped for a delay of game penalty on the Dolphins’ defense for knocking the ball away. The Titans then attempted a 53-yard field tp try to cut the lead to a touchdown.
Dolphins Possession 14: Jerome Baker fell on the onside kick attempt and the Dolphins knelt to kill the clock.