Tennessee Titans use defense to rally past Miami Dolphins

Tennessee Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins totaled 124 yards and a score on seven catches in a win over the Miami Dolphins on Monday in Miami Gardens, Fla. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
1 of 5 | Tennessee Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins totaled 124 yards and a score on seven catches in a win over the Miami Dolphins on Monday in Miami Gardens, Fla. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla., Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Primetime cameras and lights beckoned for the NFL's most prolific offenses to awe a national audience, but the Tennessee Titans stifled the Miami Dolphins' attack en route to an upset victory on Monday Night Football.

The Titans held the Dolphins to under 300 yards for just the second time this season in the 28-27 triumph at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Linebacker Harold Landry III logged three of the Titans' five sacks. The loss was the first home setback for the Dolphins this season.


"The defense kept giving us a chance," Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters. "We got some stops. The offense needed to come through and they came through.

"It doesn't have to be that hard, but I'm proud of the character of this football team."


The Dolphins, who played without wide receiver Tyreek Hill for the majority of the first half because of an ankle injury, led by two scores with less than 5 minutes remaining.

The Titans' defense denied the Dolphins first downs on their final possessions, giving the ball back to quarterback Will Levis. The rookie responded by leading two late touchdown drives to close the deficit for a dramatic Week 14 victory.

"We gotta do a better job of finishing the game, with the time we had with the ball," Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said.

Defensive tackle Zach Sieler scored the game's first touchdown. The Dolphins defender snatched a Levis pass out of the air at the start of that sequence. He then returned the interception for a 5-yard score.

The Dolphins defense stopped the Titans again on the next drive, leading to a punt. Hill sustained his injury four plays later and was held out for the remainder of the half.

The Titans then used a 14-play, 86-yard drive for their first points of the game. Running back Derrick Henry ended the second-quarter possession with a 1-yard touchdown run.


Titans kicker Nick Folk connected on a 28-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter for a 10-7 lead at the break.

The Dolphins opened the second half with an 11-play drive. Kicker Jason Sanders made a 20-yard field goal, tying the score.

Folk connected on a 23-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter, giving the Titans a narrow edge to start the fourth. Sanders then tied the score again with a 31-yard field goal to end the next possession.

Dolphins cornerback Elijah Campbell recovered a fumble on a muffed Titans punt return midway through the fourth quarter. Running back Raheem Mostert scored the Dolphins' first offensive touchdown of the night with a 3-yard run two plays later.

Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb recovered another fumble on the Titans' next drive. Mostert ran for a 5-yard score about a minute later for a 27-13 advantage.

The Titans then roared back.

Levis ended a 9-play, 75-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown toss to DeAndre Hopkins with 2:40 remaining. He followed that score with a pass to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a successful two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to six points.


The Titans defense followed by forcing a Dolphins punt. Levis again led a long drive deep into Dolphins territory. Henry ended that possession with a 3-yard rushing score. Folk then made the extra point for a 28-27 edge.

The Dolphins moved the ball up to their own 45-yard line on their final possession. Landry then sacked Tagovailoa on a fourth-down play to end that drive. Levis took a knee on the next snap to run out the clock.

Levis completed 23 of 38 passes for 327 yards, one score and an interception. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 124 yards and a score.

Tagovailoa completed 23 of 33 passes for 240 yards. Mostert logged 100 yards from scrimmage, in addition to his two touchdowns.

Hill, who played the entire second half, caught four passes for 61 yards. He told reporters that he had limited mobility, remained in pain throughout the game and expected to deal with the issue throughout the week.

"I had to get out there and bring some energy and be that spark," Hill said.


The Dolphins (9-4) will host the New York Jets (5-8) at 1 p.m. EST Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. The Titans (5-8) will host the Houston Texans (7-6) at the same time Sunday in Nashville.

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