This game included lightning strikes, well, somewhere near the Hard Rock Stadium. It included a kickoff return touchdown by the Titans. It had a kickoff return touchdown by Jakeem Grant for the Dolphins. It had a four-hour weather delay. It had a 75-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill. It had one interception by Reshad Jones and then, yes, another interception by Reshad Jones.
This game is officially the longest in NFL history since the 1970 merger.
This game was nuts!
And for the 15,000 or so fans that were in the stands for the 1 p.m. kickoff and still there for the ending at 8:10 p.m., it was good.
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Because the Dolphins won their 2018 home opener.
Truly a day for the team history books.
So what did we learn?
We learned Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake might be a thing this year. Drake rushed 14 times for 48 yards. Gore had 61 yards on nine carries. Combined?
Do the math. It’s good, especially considering Drake’s final three carries where really a way to merely milk the clock.
We learned Ryan Tannehill is more or less the same guy he was before he was injured over 600 days ago. He had some good, like the 75-yard TD pass to Kenny Stills.
And he had some bad like the two interceptions, including the one in the end zone by Malcolm Butler. Butler covered rookie tight end Mike Gesicki on the play and won in a one--on-one situation.
Tannehill finished 20 of 28 for 230 yards. His rating was 89.9 which is on the high side of good.
The Miami offensive line was solid but there were penalty problems. Three of the five starters had penalties -- with Daniel Kilgore and Jesse Davis being the exceptions.
Jones had a great game with his two picks.
Kiko Alonso also had an interception.
The run defense was uneven. Some good. Some not. It needs work.
Coach Adam Gase opened himself up to some significant second-guessing throughout the game. Ultimately it didn’t matter.
In the fourth quarter, with both his two backs combining for 109 rushing yards on 20 carries, Gase threw, threw and threw some more to seal the win.
In truth, he could have as easily run the ball after a Reshad Jones interception, milked clock, gotten the field goal and gotten closer to a win. But he passed.
In the second quarter. The Dolphins drove from their own 15 yard line to the Tennessee 15 yard line. And facing a fourth-and-1 with 2 minutes left in the half, the Miami head coach opted to go for a first down rather than kick a 32- or 33-yard field goal.
After getting the 2 minutes warning time to consider his decision, Gase stuck with the idea of going for it. And Ryan Tannehill completed a pass to Kenyan Drake -- but the Dolphins running back came down out of bounds.
First down Tennessee.
That was the it for the Miami offense before the lightning delay.
Hey look, the coach is a gas on the pedal kind of guy. But in a game he’s not playing against Blaine Gabbert, he might want to consider milking clock and keeping the other team’s quarterback off the field.
Look, this game was nutty. I’m not sure we can draw any lasting conclusions. In fact, draw no conclusions from this except this:
This game mattered. It counted.
The Miami Dolphins are 1-0. And that’s really good considering there were moments that was very much in doubt.