Tennessee blows 18-point lead before rallying for overtime win
Tennessee Titans place kicker Rob Bironas makes a 46-yard field-goal attempt in overtime to beat the Miami Dolphins, 27-24, yesterday. Trying to block the kick are Dolphin defenders Phillip Merling (97), Yeremiah Bell (37) and Tony McDaniel (78).
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans might fall short of making NFL history by rebounding from an 0-6 start to make the playoffs. But it won't be for lack of trying, and they certainly aren't boring.
Rob Bironas kicked a 46-yard field goal in overtime, and the Titans beat the visiting Miami Dolphins, 27-24, after blowing an 18-point lead.
"I was just glad we won," Tennessee tight end Alge Crumpler said. "I was a little peeved at the way it had to go down. But, hey look, we're still breathing baby."
Tennessee kept alive faint playoff hopes for another week as Vince Young threw for a career-high three touchdowns, and Chris Johnson ran for 104 yards. The Titans (7-7) reached .500 for the first time this year, but made it far too interesting.
"Everybody got their money's worth today," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "It's nice to get a win. That's a good football team."
The Dolphins (7-7) also viewed this as an elimination game for their playoff hopes. They trailed, 24-6, in the third quarter before rallying, tying on Ricky Williams' 2-point conversion run with 1:34 left.
Miami won the toss and got the ball first in overtime. But Michael Griffin picked off Chad Henne's pass, the Titans picked up 15 yards when Miami receiver Greg Camarillo was called for a late hit and Bironas kicked the winner four plays later.
"All respects to Bironas for getting that kick through, and to Griffin as well," Young said.
The loss was Miami's first in December after six consecutive wins under coach Tony Sparano. "Hey, look we've got two games left," Sparano said. "We're going to work our tail off and win the two games. We've got to focus on Houston and let the other stuff work out. I really don't know where we are right now."
Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline knows they lost control of their playoff fate.
"Now we are sitting around watching games to see how others do," he said.
The Dolphins tied it as Dan Carpenter kicked three field goals. Then Williams scored their first touchdown on a 1-yard run as he took a direct snap and outraced a defender to the left side of the goal line midway in the fourth quarter.
Griffin had a chance to seal the victory in regulation but a pass bounced off his chest into the arms of Brian Hartline for a 57-yard reception.
Chad Henne finished the drive by finding Anthony Fasano in the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-1 with 1:34 remaining. Then Pat White handed off to Williams for the 2-point conversion that tied it at 24.
The Dolphins forced a three-and-out as Young was incomplete on his first two passes. Brett Kern pinned Miami at the Dolphins' 2 with a 59-yard punt, and Tennessee was content to wait for overtime as Fisher sat on his three timeouts in what he later called a "gut feeling."
It worked out when Griffin got redemption and his first interception this season.
The Dolphins outgained Tennessee, 468-364, on offense, driving easily downfield after Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck hurt his left knee in the third quarter. He didn't return and will have tests on his knee today.
But Miami couldn't overcome four turnovers, including three interceptions by Henne, who finished with a career-high 349 yards passing. The Dolphins also got inside the Tennessee 35 eight times only to settle for the three field goals and turn it over three times. "Overall, we just hurt ourselves," Henne said.
Johnson turned in his ninth consecutive 100-yard game, extending his franchise mark and making him the eighth player in NFL history with such a streak.
First Published December 21, 2009 12:22 am