The game moved like a tortoise. But Jakeem Grant didn’t. Kenny Stills didn’t. Reshad Jones didn’t.
The game was the longest in NFL history, with two lightning delays stretching a 1 p.m. start to a finish just past 7.
“Today slash tonight,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill called the season opener.
Incredibly, preposterously, for the Dolphins, it was worth the wait. So, too, for the 65,184 fans who had dwindled to maybe 7,000 by the end, none of them suffering from astraphobia, apparently, and all of them reveling in a 27-20 Miami victory over Tennessee – and maybe reveling in their own tenacity as well. Hey, we handle the elements here in South Florida. We throw hurricane parties. Call Sunday a lightning party.
Two separate mandated meteorological delays totaling four hours made the afternoon-into-evening interminable. It was the suddenly big-play Dolphins who made it memorable.
All in the second half came Grant’s 102-yard bullet of a kickoff-return touchdown, second-longest in club history. Then Stills’ breakaway 75-yard scoring pass from Tannehill. And then Jones’ 54-yard interception return that set up the insurance field goal for the final score. (Lightning struck twice. The three times…).
BOX SCORE: DOLPHINS 27, TITANS 20
Big plays? We didn’t even mention top draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick’s goal-line stop that led to a 98-yard scoring drive – Miami’s longest in almost 30 years, since Sept. 24, 1989 – festooned by big doses of new Dolphin Frank Gore, the Old Cane. With every touch of his the crowd repped The U with “Yooooouuuuu.”
“That was nice,” Gore said.
Miami has never seen a more bizarre home football doubleheader than what Saturday and Sunday just delivered. UM winning by a record 77-0 over a glorified high school team on Saturday – that was the normal game. That was before the Fins season opener on Sunday felt like it lasted longer than the Ming Dynasty.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase began the game clean-shaven and afterward had the full, flowing beard of 19th Century president Rutherford B. Hayes. (OK that’s slight hyperbole for dramatic effect. But you get the idea).
By: Greg Cote