Dolphins rout Titans 38-10 in Dan Campbell’s coaching debut
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Dan Campbell knew exactly what Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert and center Mike Pouncey were up to when they sidled up next to him, praising his coaching debut.
Then the cold Gatorade poured over him.
Scoring the most points ever for a Miami coach in a debut certainly is worthy of celebration, and the Dolphins finished off a 38-10 rout of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday with yet another way to revel in the turnaround brought by Campbell. The Dolphins topped the 34 points they scored in Nick Saban’s coaching debut in 2005, and also stopped a three-game skid that cost Joe Philbin his job.
The former NFL tight end wasn’t quite sure where to rank this win.
”It’s obviously very high,” Campbell said. ”It’s a brand new experience, and it’s with a bunch of men that want it and work hard and you know some of the greatest athletes in the world.”
Campbell has tried to remind the Dolphins both to play hard and enjoy football again since being promoted following Philbin’s firing Oct. 5. Ryan Tannehill said Campbell energizes the Dolphins (2-3).
”He does a great job of motivating and setting the tone on what we want to do both offensively and defensively, just how we want to be, the mindset we want to have and it’s contagious,” Tannehill said.
The Dolphins looked very different coming off their bye and completely took the Titans (1-4) by surprise. Tennessee lost its fourth straight.
”It was like starting from scratch,” Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
Here are some things to know from the Dolphins’ rout of Tennessee:
ESTABLISH THE RUN: Miami and Jacksonville came into Sunday as the only NFL teams without a touchdown rushing this season. The Dolphins also ranked next to last in the league in rushing offense, managing only 69.3 yards per game. So Campbell, the old tight end, got the Dolphins back to basics, and they more than doubled that against Tennessee running for 180 yards. Lamar Miller ran for a season-high 113 yards – nearly equaling the 131 yards he had totaled through four games. Jarvis Landry also ran for 22 yards on the Statue of Liberty, giving Miami its first touchdown in the first quarter this season.
”What we talked about doing is exactly what we did,” Campbell said.
SACK TIME: Another ugly stat for Miami had been one measly sack despite Cameron Wake and the $114 million tackle in Ndamukong Suh on the defensive line. Well, Wake single-handedly boosted those numbers with four of the Dolphins’ five sacks by halftime. Miami finished the game in style as well, sacking Titans backup Zach Mettenberger to finish the game. They also forced four turnovers by Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.
LOW BLOW: Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt did not shy away from criticizing Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon’s hit on Mariota’s knee. That was the first of two flags on Vernon for roughing the passer, and the first penalty giving Mariota time to collect himself so that he didn’t miss a snap. Mariota did put on a brace between series and played until Mettenberger replaced him with 1:54 left.
”That’s not the way you play football,” Whisenhunt said. ”I think it was done with the idea of trying to hurt our quarterback.”
Vernon defended himself, saying he knows it wasn’t intentional. Mariota said Vernon apologized to him after the game.
”I’ve never been a dirty player in my whole career,” Vernon said. ”Why would I start now?”
TANNEHILL TIME: The Miami quarterback came in 31st in the NFL with a 56.7 completion percentage. Against a defense that had been ranked as the NFL’s stingiest against the pass, Tannehill was 22 of 29 for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
TITANS GET YOUNGER: Tennessee already is starting a rookie at quarterback in Mariota and another with right tackle Jeremiah Poutasi. With center Brian Schwenke dislocating his left ankle, that puts a third rookie into the lineup with Andy Gallik his replacement.
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