Dolphins DE Cameron Wake vs. Titans OT Jeremiah Poutasi
Who won: Wake
Impact: Or, rather, the loser was Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. Wake, who hobbled about before the game, looked as if he mystically swapped the rookie Poutasi’s young knees for his older ones and refound his speed. Wake had a Pro Bowl month in the second quarter: four sacks, two that caused fumbles. The first ended a Titans drive that reached the Dolphins 28. After the Titans got the ball back on an interception and got to the Dolphins 24, Wake zoomed around Poutasi for the strip sack. Jamar Taylor scooped up the ball and returned it to the Titans 34, setting up a Dolphins’ touchdown.
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Dolphins run game vs. Titans run defense
Who won: Dolphins
The Dolphins came in averaging only 69.3 rushing yards per game, next to last in the NFL, but 4.3 yards per carry, which is ninth. Interim coach Dan Campbell said they needed to run the ball more. And the Titans run defense turned out to be chicken soup for the Dolphins running soul. Both up the middle and around the edges, the Dolphins sprang Lamar Miller, who wound up with 113 yards on 19 carries, 5.9 per carry. Needing a late third-and-1 from the Titans 13, the Dolphins’ Jonas Gray plowed for 6.
Dolphins secondary vs. Titans QB Marcus Mariota
Who won: Dolphins
Impact: Veteran defensive backs got Mariota on two moments that turned the game permanently to the Dolphins in the second half. With the Dolphins leading 17-3, safety Reshad Jones intercepted a short throw to Delanie Walker and returned it 30 yards for a 24-3 lead. Early in the fourth, the Dolphins led 24-10, but the Titans took possession at the Dolphins 27. When Mariota went for the end zone on the first play, former Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano had a step on cornerback Brent Grimes. Mariota’s throw didn’t have the same step, allowing Grimes to make a diving pickoff at the 3. The Dolphins drove 97 yards. Game.