NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Here's a look at six things that stood out from Sunday's 38-10 loss to the Dolphins …
Where was the intensity?**
Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell said all week he wanted his team to play a new brand of football after taking over following the bye. He preached about playing with toughness, and an attitude. And the Dolphins did just that on Sunday at Nissan Stadium. The problem for the Titans: they didn't match it. The Dolphins won Sunday's game because they were the more physical team from the get-go. It's why they racked up 180 yards on the ground, and why they shut the Titans down — and hit quarterback Marcus Mariota so often — when they had the ball. The Titans need an attitude adjustment after this one.
Tight end Delanie Walker is one guy who leaves it on the field every game. Proof of his passion can be found midway through the second quarter when Mariota fumbled, and Miami cornerback Jamar Taylor scooped the ball up and headed toward the end zone. Walker chased Taylor downfield, cutting through multiple Miami players in the process, before getting Taylor to the ground. It was an effort play on a day when Walker led the team with eight catches for 97 yards, including some tough grabs in the middle of the field.
Mariota was sacked five times against the Dolphins, and he's now been sacked 19 times in five games this season. In two of the five games – he was sacked seven times against the Browns – he's been under an all-out attack. The Titans better find a way to get this fixed. Mariota has to be able to feel comfortable in the pocket. Rookie Jeremiah Poutasi struggled badly against the Dolphins and defensive end Cameron Wake, but it wasn't all on Poutasi. What makes it tough is Poutasi was coming off probably his best game as a pro the previous week against the Bills.
Ringing the Bell
I like seeing players defend their teammates on the football field. I still remember Steelers linebacker James Harrison picking then-Titans quarterback Vince Young up and body-slamming him onto the field head-first at Nissan Stadium. And I also remember no one coming to Young's defense. On Sunday, guard Byron Bell was quick to jump into the fray when the Dolphins roughed up Titans running back Antonio Andrews on their sideline in the second quarter. Bell took on all comers while surrounded by Dolphins. Frankly, the Titans could've used more of this mindset on Sunday.
4th quarter probs
The Titans didn't lose a fourth quarter lead on Sunday like they did against the Colts and Bills. But the Titans were completely taken out of the game in the final 15 minutes when the Dolphins outscored them by a 14-0 margin. In five games this season, the Titans have been outscored by a 56-16 score. This following a third quarter when they've outscored their opponents by a 45-14 score. The Titans need to get this fixed, and things won't be easy this week. The Falcons are 5-1, but here's one interesting stat – they've been outscored 67-47 in the fourth quarter themselves.
Woodyard showing up
Veteran Wesley Woodyard has turned in back-to-back solid games since returning to the starting lineup. Woodyard had nine tackles, one sack and two tackles for a loss against the Dolphins, a week after racking up a team-high 10 tackles against the Bills. On Sunday, Zach Brown played alongside Woodyard at inside linebacker with Avery Williamson sidelined with a hamstring injury. When Williamson's healthy, I expect him back in the lineup. As a team, the Titans were terrible defending the run vs. Miami. But Woodyard has been taking advantage of his opportunity.