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Titans Stop Dolphins

In rescheduled game, Tennessee frustrates Miami quarterbacks in a 17-7 victory.

September 12, 2004|From Associated Press

MIAMI — An approaching hurricane failed to faze the Tennessee Titans, and the Miami Dolphins' offense didn't give them much trouble, either.

Tennessee intercepted three passes Saturday, including one in their end zone, and Lamont Thompson returned one 37 yards for a touchdown as the Titans beat the Dolphins, 17-7, in a season opener.

To avoid bad weather associated with Hurricane Ivan, kickoff was moved up 24 hours, which scrambled the Titans' itinerary. But they improved to 43-30 on the road under Coach Jeff Fisher.

"We knew early in the week that the game could be changed, so we were ready," cornerback Andre Dyson said.

Jay Fiedler and A.J. Feeley struggled to move the Dolphins. Fiedler threw two interceptions, drew boos and was replaced at halftime with Miami trailing, 7-0. Feeley, under pressure from a blitzing Keith Bulluck, had a pass intercepted by Thompson for a touchdown.

The Dolphins, who tied a franchise record with 14 penalties, averted a shutout when Feeley threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Randy McMichael with 3 minutes 22 seconds left.

Chris Brown, making his first start as Eddie George's replacement, set up a touchdown with a 52-yard run, the Titans' longest since 1998. Brown had 100 yards in 16 carries but sat out the second half because of a sprained left ankle.

Steve McNair threw only 14 passes -- one for a score -- and the Titans outrushed the Dolphins, 182 yards to 65.

"When you've got a great running back in Chris, and when you have a passing attack like we've got, what do you defend?" said McNair, last season's co-most valuable player with Indianapolis' Peyton Manning.

The Dolphins had no answer -- and relatively few fans. Miami announced 69,987 tickets sold, but the schedule switch limited the crowd to half that. By the fourth quarter, many had departed.

Miami's best drive in the first half reached the Titan 20, but Samari Rolle intercepted Fiedler's pass in the end zone.

The Dolphins had only three first downs -- one by penalty -- before Coach Dave Wannstedt lifted Fiedler, who finished five for 13 for 42 yards. Feeley was 21 for 31 for 168 yards.

Fiedler, Miami's starter the last four years, said he was disappointed and frustrated to be benched so quickly.

"We were down one touchdown," he said. "I've been in a lot of games where I've struggled early and come back and won games. I didn't lack any confidence to be able to do that again."

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