Notebook: Turnovers Prove Costly For Titans

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Chris Johnson rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown, but the Titans fell to 5-4 with a 29-17 loss to the Dolphins.
MIAMI --** A pair of fumbles deep in Tennessee territory proved too costly for the Titans Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Tennessee fumbled to end its first possessions of each half, setting up Miami with excellent field position, and the Dolphins followed both fumbles with touchdown drives to defeat the Titans 29-17.

"It is hard to beat good teams – and that is a good football team – when you give them the ball twice inside the 30-yard line or thereabouts," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "I think that really sums up our day."

Titans tight end Bo Scaife fumbled in the first quarter as he was trying to gain a first down on a 3rd-and-10 pass play. Miami's Chris Clemmons recovered the ball at the Tennessee 31-yard line, and Ronnie Brown scored from two yards out to cap a six-play drive.

"I know we missed some throws, I had a turnover," Scaife said. "All those things we can control that we didn't (hurt the team). That's what happens when you don't execute … you come home with a (loss)."

Vince Young, who did not start because of an ankle sprain, relieved Kerry Collins in the second half and fumbled the ball during a pass play on 3rd-and-9. Miami nose tackle Randy Starks, a former Titan, recovered the fumble at the Tennessee 13. The Dolphins (5-4) needed two plays to score a touchdown on the ensuing possession, with Chad Henne completing a 13-yard pass to Patrick Cobbs for a 20-10 lead with 6:59 left in the third quarter.

Young said the two turnovers were "things that can't happen."

"We've been doing well with not turning the ball over and things like that," Young said. "We've got to continue to keep that up and get back in rhythm. I feel like we're ok, we'll be alright."

Young responded to the fumble by leading the Titans (5-4) on an answering touchdown drive that included three third-down completions. Young connected with Nate Washington for a 14-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-3, and to make the score 20-17 with 1:13 left in the third quarter, but the Titans did not return to the red zone the rest of the day.

Injuries Sideline QBs

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Kerry Collins left the game early with a calf injury. The severity of the injury will be determined following tests on Monday.
The Titans played two quarterbacks because of injuries, and the Dolphins used a combination of quarterbacks Chad Pennington, Henne and Tyler Thigpen and running back Ronnie Brown to take snaps.

Collins injured his calf late in the first half and did not return. He completed 9 of 20 passes for 51 yards. Young went 9-for-18 for 92 yards in the second half. He threw the touchdown and one interception on a desperation heave in the fourth quarter.

Fisher said he did not know how long Collins would be sidelined by the calf injury.

Collins took the majority of starter's repetitions in practice Friday in place of Young, who first injured his ankle and knee on Oct. 18 at Jacksonville. Collins fought through a torn tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand on Oct. 24 in a win against Philadelphia and relieved Young in San Diego on Oct. 31 when Young aggravated the ankle injury.

 He said his ankle was "sore" after Sunday's game.

"It's definitely sore but you've got to fight through pain," Young said. "My number was called; Kerry went down so I had to go and try to win the game. That's what I tried to do."

Fisher said the soreness will likely remain for Young the "next couple of days, but he is back and ready to play."

"We didn't want to reinjure the ankle and then have the case where he was set back for another two, three, four weeks," Fisher said. "So that was the thought going in (and) that is why we made the decision (to start Collins). Fortunately (Young) came through it. He was moving around, ran around, [and] played hard."

Miami coach Tony Sparano started Pennington in place of Henne Sunday. Pennington, whose most recent game action occurred in Week 3 of the 2009 season, appeared to injure his shoulder on his first pass attempt and left after two snaps. Pennington was 1-of-2 passing for 19 yards.

Henne responded to his recent demotion by completing 19 of 28 passes for 240 yards with one touchdown and one interception before leaving the game with what appeared to be a leg injury. Thigpen, Miami's third quarterback who entered the game 2-of-6 passing for 15 yards this season, completed 4 of 6 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Titans. Between Henne's departure and Thigpen's entry, Miami directly snapped to Brown in its "wildcat" formation, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall attempted a pass on a trick play that did not fool the Titans.

Johnson Fourth With 4,000

Titans running back Chris Johnson became the fourth running back in Oilers/Titans franchise history to rush for more than 4,000 yards. Johnson joined Eddie George, Earl Campbell and Lorenzo White as the only running backs to reach that milestone.

Johnson passed the 4,000-yard rushing mark in his 40th career game, becoming the sixth fastest person in NFL history to reach that milestone. The third-year pro finished with 117 yards on 17 carries and one rushing touchdown, his ninth of the season.

Fisher said Miami's control of the lead and the clock kept Johnson from getting as many carries as the Titans would like.

Johnson agreed: "Yeah, when you're down you're going to have to come from behind and you're not going to be able to continue running the ball."

Moss Debuts as Titan

Wide receiver Randy Moss made his debut as a Titan and became the first player in NFL history to record a catch with three different teams in one season. Moss caught one pass for 26 yards with 4:45 left in the game.

The 13-year NFL veteran also drew a 33-yard pass interference penalty against Miami in the first quarter, helping Tennessee move down the field for its first touchdown.

The Titans picked up Moss off waivers from Minnesota on Nov. 3 after he played four games with the Vikings. Moss started the season in New England.

Fisher said Moss played hard in his debut, and Collins and Young read Miami's defense to decide where to go with the football.

"Our quarterbacks are throwing where the progression takes them," Fisher said. "We had some open receivers. We had three or four balls deflected or (where Collins) was hit. If we catch those balls, maybe it is a different ballgame."

Third Down Difficulties

Tennessee went 5-for-16 on third downs, and just one of eight third downs in the first half—a 17-yard touchdown run by Johnson. The Titans also drew a face mask penalty on a third-down play that gave them a first down in the first half, but did not take advantage of the Miami miscue.

Miami completed 9 of 17 first downs (52 percent), to extend drives and keep the football for 33:04, more than six minutes longer than Tennessee. Miami converted at least one third-and-five situation on five of its six scoring drives.

"You know, we just got to get better," linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. "We definitely did not play like ourselves today. That's not the way be play all here in Tennessee. We gotta watch the film and get better."

Bironas Continues Streak

Bironas kicked a field goal for the 19th consecutive game, tying his own record for the longest such streak in Oilers/Titans franchise history. He will try to move past his own record, set in 2006-07, next week at home against Washington.

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