By Byler Henry
(Photos by Ron Lyons)
After two weather delays the Dolphins opening game became the longest game since the 1970 AFL merger. The previous record was in 2013 when the Bears played the Ravens, a game that lasted 5 hours and 16 minutes. Sunday’s game was approximately 7 hours and 10 minutes, breaking the previous record. The lightning delay didn’t appear to impact the Dolphins’ focus. This isn’t the first-time weather caused a delay. Last year because of the hurricane, the Dolphins first game was cancelled, forcing them to play 16 straight games without a bye week.
After going 1-4 in the preseason, this was now the time to focus and buckle down for the regular season. The first half the Dolphins outscored the Titans 7 to 3. The defense held them to only three points. There was a moment towards the end of the first quarter where the Titans got the ball in the red zone, but the defense was able to hold the Titans at the goal line. On 4th and goal safety Minkah Fitzpatrick made a crushing tackle to stop them short. When asked about the goal line, Minkah described what happened. “They were three in a bunch, and one of the plays they run is that pick play where they take number one, try and pick the nickel, which I was playing, and take number three and send him to the flat, and I just had to fight through the block, and just make the tackle.” It seems that the Dolphins have found a key player to help with their secondary. Safety Reshad Jones was also able to contribute with two interceptions.
This was Ryan Tannehill’s first regular season game since missing last year with a knee injury. He didn’t appear to be rusty, although he threw two interceptions. He also threw two touchdown passes,and 230 passing yards with 20 completions on 28 attempts. It was good to see a healthy Tannehill out there throwing passes. He feels good about the speed that his receivers can bring stating, “We do have a lot of speed, and I think that’s an advantage our offense has. It’s going to create problems for defenses throughout the year. We have probably three, four guys that are burners. It’s a lot of fun to play with them. We can do a lot of things with them. You saw (WR) Kenny Stills stretch the field. Obviously, (WR) Jakeem (Grant) on the kickoff was – who knows how fast he was running, I could barely see the guy. Those were just a couple examples of the ways those guys can use their speed.” With this new speed addition, the secondary will have to bring their running shoes to keep up. Kenny Stills caught both of his touchdown passes with 106 yards on four receptions. Frank Gore had a good rushing game with 61 rushing yards on nine carries.
This game was close, a battle from start to finish. Their next game will be a road game against the rival Jets. This will be a challenge to play a rival team on the road, but rivalry games tend to bring out the best. Not only are they going to bring their A game, they do not want to lose in front of their home crowd. Let’s get ready for some football.