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(Sunday, December 20th)
Final Score: Tennessee 27, Miami 24 (OT)
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Rob Bironas kicked a 46-yard field goal in overtime after Tennessee had blown an 18-point second-half lead, and the Titans kindled anew their improbable playoff hopes with a gritty 27-24 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Vince Young gutted out a hamstring strain and balky knee to throw three touchdown passes, completing 14-of-27 passes for 236 yards with a pick. Justin Gage caught a pair of scores, his only two grabs of the game, while Nate Washington caught the third on his only reception.
Chris Johnson rushed for 104 yards on 29 carries and gained an additional 55 yards on two catches for the Titans (7-7), who have ripped off an incredible seven wins over their last eight games after starting the season 0-6.
"That's the way this whole season has gone for us, regardless of our record, the guys in this locker room will stand up for each other," said Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Chad Henne threw for 349 yards and a touchdown on 29-of-46 efficiency and led a game-tying drive with under two minutes left in regulation. But Henne also cut three potential scoring drives short with costly interceptions, including one on the first possession of overtime.
Ricky Williams carried 19 times for 80 yards and a touchdown, eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fifth time in his career. In doing so, he set an NFL record for the longest span between 1,000-yard rushing seasons -- having last hit the mark in 2003. Williams also added a two-point conversion run and lost a fumble.
The Dolphins' (7-7) loss further muddled the AFC playoff picture as they are now joined by the Titans, Jets, Jaguars, Steelers and Texans at 7-7 on the outside looking in. Baltimore is currently 8-6 after beating Chicago later Sunday.
"There was too much bad stuff early in this game. Afterwards we were disappointed and we should be. This football team expects to win. It isn't like it was before," remarked Dolphins coach Tony Sparano.
Down, 24-16, with 4:36 remaining in the fourth quarter, Henne orchestrated a clutch 10-play, 90-yard scoring drive -- highlighted by Brian Hartline's circus-like catch to reach the red zone.
Having already converted a 3rd-and-1 with a 10-yard strike to Greg Camarillo from their own 19, Henne and the Dolphins were facing another third down three plays later.
A deep ball up the left sideline appeared to be intercepted by Michael Griffin, but he bobbled the ball, and Hartline ended up pinning it against his facemask before gaining firm control. The 57-yard play moved the ball to Tennessee's 11-yard line, and Miami could net only nine yards in the next three plays.
But on 4th-and-1, Henne found Anthony Fasano leaking off the line for a two- yard TD. Williams charged through the right side to convert the two-point attempt and tie the game at 24 with 1:34 left.
Tennessee went three-and-out and kicked back to the Dolphins with 56 ticks still to play, but a Brett Kern punt pinned the visitors at the two, and the game moved to overtime.
Miami won the toss, but Henne proceeded to toss a pick to Griffin on the third play from scrimmage. The Titans actually lost a yard on three straight runs by Johnson, but with the ball at the Miami 28, Bironas lined up for a 46-yard boot and snuck it inside the right post for the thrilling victory.
"Our playoff chances took a huge hit. We stunk it up in the first half and put ourselves in great position in the second half. To lose like that in the end, it hurts," said Miami safety Yeremiah Bell.
Dan Carpenter opened the scoring with a 23-yard field goal to capitalize on a Young interception on the game's first drive. Tennessee was able to move in front by on its next touch, as Young capped an 81-yard drive with a 22-yard touchdown strike to Gage.
Bironas connected on a 24-yard boot 5 1/2 minutes into the second quarter, and Carpenter responded in turn on Miami's next drive with a 28-yarder to make it 10-6.
Young found Gage for a second score just before the break, and the 21-yard connection allowed for a 17-6 Titans lead at halftime. Henne drove the Dolphins down to the Tennessee 34, but his interception ended the threat 25 seconds before the break.
The Titans went up, 24-6, after Young found Washington on a 32-yard pass up the left sideline on their initial possession of the second half.
Carpenter then began what would be the long road back for Miami, splitting the uprights from 45 yards out. The Dolphins also put together a solid 12-play, 80-yard sequence on their first touch of the fourth quarter. The drive ended with a direct snap to Williams, who came off the left end for a one-yard score to make it a 24-16 contest with 7:41 to play.
The Titans have a 14-0 record when leading at halftime over the last two seasons...Tennessee won its fifth straight home game and next host San Diego on Christmas night...Miami hosts Houston next Sunday...Johnson now has nine consecutive 100-yard rushing performances...Tennessee was 6-for-13 on third- down conversions, while Miami was 6-for-15...The Dolphins racked up 468 yards of offense, compared with the Titans' 364 yards...Miami committed an uncharacteristic eight penalties for 60 yards...Nick Harper and Chris Hope had the other two interceptions for Tennessee.
12/20 20:11:32 ET
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