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Dolphins Use Big Plays To Topple Titans, 27-20


In what had to be one of the strangest season openers in NFL history, the Dolphins struck for big plays to defeat the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium.

Jakeem Grant scored on a 102-yard kickoff return in the first minute of the fourth quarter to break a 10-10 tie and Ryan Tannehill later hit Kenny Stills with a 75-yard touchdown pass to highlight the 27-20 victory.

Reshad Jones also played a big role in the victory. His 54-yard return of his second interception of the game set up Jason Sanders' 30-yard field goal that gave the Dolphins a 10-point cushion with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter. Tennessee kicked a field goal with 11 seconds left in their hope of pulling off a miracle comeback, but rookie Jerome Baker recovered the ensuing onside kick to clinch the victory.

Jones became the first Dolphins safety since 2004 to have two interceptions in one game.

Stills' touchdown was his second of the game. He had a 10-yard TD reception in the second quarter that gave the Dolphins a 7-3 lead.

Grant's touchdown, the second-longest kickoff return in franchise history behind only a 105-yarder by Mercury Morris in 1973, came right after Tennessee had tied the game with a 1-yard touchdown run by Dion Lewis. Grant became the fourth player to have punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns for the Dolphins, as he joined Ted Ginn Jr., Marcus Thigpen and Freddie Solomon.

Tennessee also scored on a kickoff return, with Darius Jennings answering Stills' long touchdown with a 94-yard touchdown to make it 24-17.

Thanks to two delays right around two hours because of lightning near Hard Rock Stadium, the game set a record as the longest in NFL history. The game lasted a little more than seven hours, easily beating the previous mark of 5 hours, 16 minutes, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The first delay occurred late in the second quarter and the second took place midway through the third quarter.


The Dolphins' 98-yard scoring drive in the second quarter was the third-longest in team history and the longest since a 99-yard drive Sept. 24, 1989 against the New York Jets.

The game first was delayed almost two hours because of lightning around Hard Rock Stadium. The stoppage came with 1:11 left in the first half and Tennessee facing a third-and-1 from its 24-yard line.

The second delay came with 6:47 left in the third quarter and lasted 2 hours and 2 minutes.

It came right after former New England Patriots Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler intercepted a Tannehill pass in the end zone on a second-and-goal from the 4-yard line. Butler picked off a pass intended for rookie tight end Mike Gesicki as they were involved in a one-on-one matchup split out wide.


The interception came two plays after Gesicki had his first NFL reception, an 11-yard catch that gave the Dolphins a first-and-goal at the Tennessee 7-yard line.

The first delay came after the Dolphins failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Titans 15-yard line when Kenyan Drake couldn't get both feet in bounds after catching a Tannehill pass near the right sideline.

It was the Dolphins defense that came down with a fourth-down stop in the first quarter when they stopped Tennessee on a fourth-and-goal from the 3. Marcus Mariota completed a short pass into the flat to wide receiver Corey Davis, but first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick tackled him at the 2-yard line.

It was part of a big first half for Fitzpatrick, who was in on a team-high six tackles.

His fourth-down stop preceded the Dolphins' 98-yard touchdown drive, which featured three runs for 38 yards by Frank Gore and two completions from Tannehill to Jakeem Grant, including one that had 15 yards tacked on by a roughness penalty on the Titans.

Tannehill's first touchdown pass to Stills followed a 21-yard run by Gore.

Tennessee opened the scoring with a 47-yard field goal by Ryan Succop after a 37-yard drive after receiving the opening kickoff.

The Dolphins offense opened the game with both Drake and Gore in the backfield, making it Gore's 109th consecutive start, the longest active streak among active skill position players (WR-TE-RB).

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