Bironas’ kick in OT lifts Titans over Dolphins
The Tennessee Titans might fall short of making NFL history by
rebounding from an 0-6 start to make the playoffs. It won’t be for
lack of trying, and they certainly aren’t boring.
Rob Bironas kicked a 46-yard field goal in overtime, and the
Titans beat the Miami Dolphins 27-24 Sunday after blowing an
“I was just glad we won,” Tennessee tight end Alge Crumpler
said. “I was a little peeved at the way it had to go down. But, hey
look, we’re still breathing baby.”
Tennessee kept alive faint playoff hopes for another week as
Vince Young threw for a career-high three touchdowns, and Chris
Johnson ran for 104 yards. The Titans (7-7) reached .500 for the
first time this year, but made it far too interesting by blowing
the big lead.
“Everybody got their money’s worth today,” Titans coach Jeff
Fisher said. “It’s nice to get a win. That’s a good football team.”
The Dolphins (7-7) also viewed this as an elimination game
for their own playoff hopes. They trailed 24-6 in the third quarter
before rallying, tying on <fstl:categorylink
categoryId=”70291″>Ricky Williams’ 2-point conversion run with
Miami won the toss and got the ball first in overtime. But
Michael Griffin picked off Chad Henne’s pass, the Titans picked up
15 yards when Miami receiver Greg Camarillo was called for a late
hit and Bironas kicked the winner four plays later.
“All respects to Bironas for getting that kick through, and
to Griffin as well,” Young said.
The loss was Miami’s first in December after six straight
wins under coach Tony Sparano.
“Hey, look we’ve got two games left,” Sparano said. “We’re
going to work our tail off and win the two games. We’ve got to
focus on Houston and let the other stuff work out. I really don’t
know where we are right now.”
Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline knows they lost control of
their playoff fate.
“Now we are sitting around watching games to see how others
do,” he said.
The Dolphins tied it as Dan Carpenter kicked three field
goals. Then Williams scored their first TD on a 1-yard run as he
took a direct snap and outraced a defender to the left side of the
goal line midway in the fourth quarter.
Griffin had a chance to seal the victory in regulation but a
pass bounced off his chest into the arms of Brian Hartline for a
57-yard reception. Chad Henne finished the drive by finding Anthony
Fasano in the end zone for a 2-yard TD pass on fourth-and-1 with
1:34 remaining. Then Pat White handed off to Williams for the
2-point conversion that tied it at 24.
The Dolphins forced a three-and-out as Young was incomplete
on his first two passes. Brett Kern pinned Miami at the Dolphins 2
with a 59-yard punt, and Tennessee was content to wait for overtime
as Fisher sat on his three timeouts in what he later called a “gut
It worked out when Griffin got redemption and his first
interception this season.
The Dolphins outgained Tennessee 468-364 on offense, driving
easily downfield after Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck hurt his
left knee in the third quarter. He didn’t return and will have
tests on his knee Monday.
But Miami couldn’t overcome four turnovers, including three
interceptions by Henne, who finished with a career-high 349 yards
passing. The Dolphins also got inside the Tennessee 35 eight times
only to settle for the three field goals and turn it over three
“Overall, we just hurt ourselves,” Henne said.
Johnson turned in his ninth straight 100-yard game, extending
his franchise mark and making him the eighth player in NFL history
with such a streak. But he couldn’t add to his numbers much in the
second half as the Dolphins focused on stopping him in his chase to
become only the sixth player to reach 2,000 yards this season.
Johnson now has 1,730 yards.
“The running’s gotten tougher every week. It opens up stuff
for Vince downfield,” Johnson said.
The finish overshadowed Young’s performance after he came
into the game questionable with a mildly strained right hamstring
and achy right knee. He now has a TD pass in six straight games and
seven of his eight starts, even though his first pass was tipped by
four players before Vontae Davis intercepted it on the opening
Young tossed two TD passes to Justin Gage, and a 32-yarder to
Nate Washington in the third quarter for the 24-6 lead that didn’t
stand up to Miami’s furious rally.
“The way he played against this defense, I think that kind of
shows what he’s doing at the position,” Fisher said. “I’m very
proud of him from that standpoint.”
Notes: Williams finished with 80 yards on 19
carries, giving him 1,055 yards rushing this season. He set an NFL
record for longest span between such seasons at six. … It was the
Titans’ fifth straight win at home. … Johnson now is second in
franchise history with 1,730 yards rushing and trails only Hall of
Famer Earl Campbell. … Bulluck has started 127 straight games.