Titans vs. Dolphins: Drawing Up a Game Plan for Miami

Erik FrenzSenior Writer INovember 9, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 28:  Head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins looks on against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 28, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

With half of the 2012 season in the books, the Miami Dolphins know what the identity of their football team is.

Now, the second half of the season should be about sharpening that identity into a weapon that can carry them into the playoffs.

The Dolphins were red hot on a three-game winning streak, but cooled off in their first game of November. Here's how they get back on the right track in their follow-up.


Stay Balanced on Offense

No matter how you slice it, the Titans have one of the league's worst defenses in the league.

The Titans allow 4.4 yards per rush attempt, the eighth-highest average in the league, and have given up first downs on 27.1 percent of all rush attempts, the third-highest average in the league.

Suffice to say, the Dolphins should have success running the football. For all that, though, their struggles against the pass are even greater.

They yield the league's highest defensive passer rating at 108.4, and they've been susceptible to the deep pass as well, allowing 32 pass plays of 20 yards or more.

Safety Michael Griffin rates out as the league's worst at the position according to ProFootballFocus.com, both overall and in coverage.

This is what you would characterize as a tough throw, one that Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick may not ordinarily make, but the fact that Griffin allows Bills wide receiver Donald Jones to blow right past him helped the Amish Rifle complete this touchdown.

Ryan Tannehill has been playing efficient, but not quite deadly, over the past four games. He's completing 63.3 percent of his passes, has thrown three touchdowns without an interception and garners a passer rating of 95.5 (note: five pass attempts vs. the Jets in Week 8).

He might reach "deadly" status against the Titans.

Although he's been successful this season without much production from the running game, the Dolphins can't be afraid to run if the situation calls for it.

This was not an issue for Miami until recently, and they currently rank seventh in the league at 238 rushing attempts on the season. 

Granted, their declined production in the running game could have something to do with their hesitancy to turn to it, but it looked like the running game had finally found its wheels (18 carries, 84 yards, 4.67 YPA, TD) before the Dolphins ran the ball just once in the fourth quarter of a three-point game against the Colts.

Tannehill is better than anyone thought he was going to be at this stage in his career. That being said, why put it in his hands if you don't have to? He'll do his share of damage in the air, but against a Titans defense with so many holes, why not mix it up?


No Turnovers

The most important thing, though, is that they don't turn the ball over. That, along with creating one or more turnovers, should ensure a win.

The Dolphins are 4-0 when they win the turnover battle by one or more—and they've only won it by a maximum of one this year.

They're 0-4 when they lose it or draw even. 

The Titans have lost the turnover battle a whopping seven times and are 2-5 when they do so, but are 1-1 when they win the battle of takeaways.

Even when they are clean on the turnover sheet, as they were against the Colts, they still need to get something from their defense. The Dolphins are elite on third downs and in the red zone—two hallmarks of a great defense. But if they excelled at creating turnovers, they'd unquestionably be in the discussion of the best defenses in the league.

Against a Titans offense which has given up the ball an average of two times a game, the Dolphins should have their chances. Will they capitalize? That's the million-dollar question, and the one that could be the difference in winning or losing.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.