MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – **Frustrating.
It was the word of the day in the Titans locker room following Sunday's 16-10 loss to the Dolphins.
"In all phases of the game, we played our hearts out," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "And that's what makes it so frustrating. We played hard, but we have to find a way to win these games."
On this day, the Titans weren't able to find a way.
Despite a solid day from the defense, the effort was squandered because of an offense that couldn't get in sync most of the day.
As a result, the Titans dropped to 2-3 on the season.
"It's very frustrating," receiver Rishard Matthews said. "We have to find ways to make plays, and to win games. We just have to keep pushing. It is a long season. We have to clean up our mistakes and come out and find a way next week."
Matt Cassel started at quarterback for the Titans, in place of Marcus Mariota.
Mariota, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Texans, was among the team's inactives. He watched from the sideline in a baseball cap and t-shirt.
Cassel completed 21-of-32 passes for 141 yards in the game, with a touchdown – an 11-yard completion to tight end Phillip Supernaw. The Titans couldn't sustain drives most of the day, however, largely because they went just 2-of-13 on third down (15 percent). Cassel was sacked six times in the game.
The Titans managed just 69 yards on the ground with running backs DeMarco Murray (14-58) and Derrick Henry (4-9). In a win here last season, the Titans racked up 235 yards on the ground.
The struggles on offense ruined a good performance from the defense, which allowed just 12 first downs and 178 yards of total offense.
"Our defense, I thought they played really well," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. "I thought they came back from last week, responded, and played our kind of defense. We put them in some bad positions …offensively all day because we could not convert a third down. It might be one of the worst third down games I can remember.
"We just could not be consistent with our plays offensively."
The Dolphins took a 3-0 lead on a 41-yard field goal by kicker Cody Parkey.
A bad sequence for the Titans changed the game early.
Late in the first quarter, a 59-yard touchdown pass from Cassel to tight end Delanie Walker was called back because of an offensive pass interference penalty on tight end Jonnu Smith.
Two plays later, Cassel was hit as he threw the ball, and it initially looked like it would be ruled an incomplete pass. But officials instead ruled Cassel fumbled the ball forward, and the Dolphins were awarded a touchdown – a 38-yard fumble recovery by safety Reshad Jones to make it 10-0.
It was a tough sequence, Cassel said. Some other Titans weren't as politically correct.
"Obviously the height of emotion at that point – you throw a touchdown pass and you run down the field to go celebrate, and then the next thing you know the call gets returned," Cassel said. "It's a tough pill to swallow at that point.
"And then we have (the turnover) the next play. It was a big turn of events in a small period of time."
The Titans started a rally.
Byard recovered a fumble forced by cornerback Adoree Jackson early in the third quarter, and the Titans cashed it in for three points – a 45-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Succop – to make it 10-3.
Succop's made field goal was his 46th in a row from inside 50 yards, and it tied an NFL record.
The Titans tied the game at 10-10 on Supernaw's touchdown. Cassel completed three passes to Eric Decker on the drive, and also found Matthews open for a 17-yard completion.
But the Dolphins reclaimed the lead on a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jay Cutler to receiver Jarvis Landry. The Dolphins missed the extra point, which made it 16-10 with 10:33 left in the fourth quarter.
The Titans weren't able to turn the game at the end.
The Titans face the Colts next Monday at Nissan Stadium.
"We have to trust in ourselves," Murray said. "It has nothing to do with coaches, nothing to do with play-callers. Each guy has to take it upon themselves to bounce back. We have a big game next week, a division game.
"Nobody is going to hang their head. Obviously it is a terrible feeling right now. We are going to watch the film, digest it, and get ready for the Colts."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 5 action at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)