The Miami Dolphins struggled on offense with a hobbled Tyreek Hill, then blew a 14-point lead in the final 2:40 of a stunning 28-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday.
Hill returned in the second half from a first-half ankle injury, but was in and out of the lineup at critical moments of the game. Tennessee took the lead late, and the Dolphins’ two-minute drill came up short, sending the Titans home with an improbable win.
The Dolphins appeared to have a win in hand after converting a pair of late turnovers into touchdowns to turn a 13-13 tie late in the fourth quarter into a 27-13 lead. But the Titans drove 75 yards in 1:54 to cut their deficit to 27-21 after a two-point conversion. The Dolphins then went three-and-out, setting up a 64-yard go-ahead drive capped by a Derrick Henry touchdown run.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 12, 2023
The game-winning drive took 26 seconds off the clock and gave Tennessee a 28-27 lead with 1:49 remaining. The Dolphins had a chance to respond, but saw their final drive end with a sack of Tua Tagovailoa on fourth down.
It was a shocking collapse for a Dolphins team that came into Monday with the NFL’s best offense and a chance to seize control of the No. 1 seed in the AFC. With Hill either sidelined or limited, they struggled throughout the game to move the ball while failing to put an offensive point on the board in the first half.
They didn’t score an offensive touchdown until late in the fourth quarter, but appeared to be in control after scoring consecutive touchdowns off Titans miscues. With the game tied at 13-13 with 6:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, Titans punt returner Eric Garror muffed a punt to set the Dolphins up at the Titans’ seven-yard line.
Dolphins recover the muffed punt inside the 10!
— NFL (@NFL) December 12, 2023
Two plays later, Raheem Mostert crossed the goal line on a four-yard run for Miami’s first offensive touchdown of the night.
The very next Titans play set Miami up again with a short field. A Will Levis pitch intended for Henry instead hit the turf, and Miami recovered the ball at the 12-yard line.
ANOTHER turnover and the @MiamiDolphins take the ball right back!
— NFL (@NFL) December 12, 2023
The result this time was another short touchdown run by Mostert to extend Miami’s lead to 27-13 with 4:34 remaining.
But the Titans answered with a 75-drive capped by a Levis touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins before Henry’s touchdown put them up for good.
The loss dropped the Dolphins to 9-4, leaving the 10-3 Baltimore Ravens alone at the top of the AFC and the race for the No. 1 seed that comes with the conference’s only first-round playoff bye. The Dolphins face the Ravens in a Week 17 matchup that looms large over the playoff race.
But for now, they’re left to address questions about what went wrong Monday night. Even before the late collapse, Miami looked vulnerable after the injury to Hill.
Hill injured his ankle on a sideline tackle in the first quarter by Sean Murphy-Bunting. His left leg got pinned underneath his body on a tackle, and Hill clutched his leg in pain after the hit.
Tyreek Hill hyped up the crowd after he appeared to injure his knee after an awkward tackle 😤 pic.twitter.com/1qe5r8UssH
— ESPN (@espn) December 12, 2023
He left the game with a an ankle injury and a questionable tag. He returned midway through the second half and made an immediate impact on the game with two catches for 48 yards, the second of which set Miami up with first-and-goal at the six-yard line.
BIG catch from Tyreek Hill 😤
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) December 12, 2023
But the drive stalled from there, and the Dolphins settled for a field goal to tie the game at 13-13 after Tagovailoa took a sack on third down.
From there, Hill was in and out of the lineup, clearly still affected by his ankle injury. He stood on the sideline for the start of Miami’s final drive before returning on later downs.