Five snapshots from the Dolphins-Titans series.
Sept. 7, 1997
That game, though played two days later than this year’s season opener, actually came in Week 2. After the Dolphins beat the Indianapolis Colts in their opener Aug. 31, this one went to overtime before running back Irving Spikes played the role of hero with a 48-yard kickoff return that set the Dolphins up at the Oilers (it was one of the two seasons the team went by Tennessee Oilers) 45-yard line. Two Dan Marino completions later, coupled with an Oilers penalty, Olindo Mare kicked the game-winning field goal to give the Dolphins a 16-13 victory.
Nov. 7, 1999
This game, which ended in a 17-0 victory for the Dolphins, will be remembered for cornerback Sam Madison’s three interceptions, but what might not be as well known is the fact he missed some time in the third quarter because he was feeling sick. “I’m not a Pro Bowler,” Madison was quoted after the game. “I’m not a 12-year veteran. I’m not Deion Sanders. I’m Sam Madison, and I’m just out there trying to make a play. I never expected to get three interceptions. No cornerback expects to get three picks in a game.” Well, Madison did become a Pro Bowler that very season and he would be a Pro Bowler the next three seasons as well.
Sept. 9, 2001
If you look at the date, you’ll see this game was played exactly 17 years before this year’s season opener. That one was a Sunday night game in the season opener at Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville. Like Madison’s performance, this game will be remembered for a defensive performance, more specifically Zach Thomas’ interception return for a touchdown (complete with dive into the end zone) that gave the Dolphins a 31-14 lead midway through the quarter. The Dolphins hung on for a 31-23 victory after Tennessee scored twice and had the ball at midfield for one desperation heave into the end zone. As a great footnote, the pick came immediately after ESPN analyst Paul Maguire talked about what a great night Thomas was having and highlights of Thomas’ plays were shown.
Sept. 11, 2004
This was the last time the Dolphins opened the season against the Titans, but there were issues with which to contend long before kickoff. Hurricane Ivan was considered a threat to South Florida in the days leading up to the game, so both teams agreed to move the game up one day, making it the second time Dolphins season opener played on a Saturday. The first, incidentally, also came against the Houston/Tennessee franchise. It happened in 1968 when the Dolphins opened the season with three consecutive Saturday home games. The 2004 game itself wasn’t particularly memorable as the Dolphins dropped a 17-7 decision.
Oct. 18, 2015
This game at Nissan Stadium marked the debut of Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell and the result was a spirited effort that produced the most lopsided victory in the series. Cameron Wake’s four sacks (all in the second quarter), Reshad Jones’ interception return for a touchdown, and Lamar Miller’s 113 rushing yards with one touchdown were the highlights in the 38-10 victory. As Thomas had done 14 years earlier, Jones marked his defensive touchdown with a leap — in his case, he flipped sideways.