Titans outplay Dolphins in all phases of game

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Titans had boat drinks Monday afternoon while the Miami Dolphins were trying to find their way out of a net.
   In Sunday's marquee battle, Tennessee made a statement, picking up the franchise's first victory over Miami since a 17-13 decision in 1991 at the old Joe Robbie Stadium. In those days, Dan Marino and Warren Moon were throwing things around in a heated battle. It was far from that Sunday.
   The Dolphins were outplayed in all phases of the 31-7 football game, and coach Dave Wannstedt knew it afterwards. A team in the midst of the playoff hunt fell backwards, and it will be hard for them to climb out of the hole.
   "There's no turning back now. If we're going to do anything, if we're going to make a run, we've got to do it this week," Wannstedt said of their upcoming battle against Baltimore.
   "We've got a lot of games left and you talk about finishing strong, we have to finish strong," he said. "We've got three of the next four games at home. We've got Baltimore this week and we're going to have to re-focus and go."
   Miami quarterback Brian Griese threw his first interceptions of the season in his new uniform.
   A lot of it had to do with the speed of the Titans defense, which induced five turnovers.
   "Defensively, we wanted to start out fast," said Tennessee defensive lineman Kevin Carter. "This team as a whole, we wanted to start out fast in the first half.
   "We've given ourselves more cushion later in games and it makes it harder on teams, especially those who want to run and throw the football because they can't do that to win the game in the second half."
   Earlier last week, Miami emphasized wanting to be able to run the football efficiently against the Titans. Those plans were placed on the backburner after the turnovers and the vicious beating dealt to star tailback Ricky Williams.
   "We planned on running it all week," said Williams after Sunday's game. "We understood that we had to be prepared with what was going to be a heavyweight fight. When we got down 14-0, 21-0 and 28-0, it kind of took away what we were trying to do."
   "There's no questions. The only answer is work and we have to work hard. We know what we have to do. We have to block, we have to run, we have to catch and we have to tackle. We've got to get back to the basics and we'll be okay."
   Perhaps the Dolphins forgot that they had pulled out victories in each of the last five contests against Tennessee. The Titans didn't.
   "We just came together as a team," said Titans rookie receiver Tyrone Calico, who recorded the game's first touchdown. I didn't really know how big this game was until I got in here this morning because a lot of these guys haven't beaten them until today
   "Everybody got up in the locker room and was acting like this was a new season. We got up for this game."
   NOTES OF INTEREST
   * Tennessee scored over 30 points for the sixth straight game, a franchise record. The last time a unit scored 30 points five times was in 1961 when the AFC Championship Houston Oilers squad achieved those statistics.
   * The defense extended its streak to an NFL-best 24 consecutive home games where it has prevented an opposing running back for rushing over 100 yards.
   * It extends their home winning streak to nine games which is second in the league.
   * The Titans also extended its sack streak to 17 games, while Jevon Kearse posted a sack for the sixth straight battle.