As a Tennessee Titans analyst that writes for a Miami Dolphins site, I constantly compare the two teams and they do have a lot in common. They both finished last in their division, although the AFC South is nowhere near as talented as the AFC East. Also, both teams are going through coaching changes after firing their head coaches midseason. Miami and Tennessee both have their future set to be determined by their young quarterbacks.
This article will break down and compare both teams at every position group.
|2015||Attempts||Cmp %||Yds||YPA||YPG||TDs||INTs||Passer Rat||Sacks|
As you can see from the numbers the two quarterbacks aren’t that far apart from each other statistically. Tannehill’s numbers jump out as far better at first, but when you factor in that Mariota missed four games due to knee sprains the picture changes. If the Titans rookie had played in those four games and kept the same pace he had the rest of the season, he would have ended the year with 493 attempts, 3,760 yards, 25 TDs, 13 INTs, and 51 sacks. This means that Mariota was more accurate, moved the ball down the field better, scored more often, and did all of this behind the worst line in the NFL.
Tannehill did throw the ball more often than his counterpart and this could have had a negative effect on his numbers. After all, it is easier to keep the high averages on less attempts, but at the same time, Mariota was working with less offensive talent (more on that later).
They are both known to be mobile as well, but it comes as no surprise that Mariota is the better of the two in that category, given his athletic ability. If you look at the table here you will see that even though he had less carries, the rookie was the more productive runner. He also took care of the ball better than Tannehill.
The game they played against each other on October 18th of this season shows a completely different story, however. Both threw two interceptions, but Tannehill dominated Mariota in every other stat. The Dolphins signal caller had 47 more yards on 4 less attempts. This caused a big gap in their average. Tannehill averaged 9.3 yards per attempt, while Mariota averaged just 6.6. In fact, their respective QBRs were 62.2 and 8.3, respectively.
There is no comparison here talent wise. Lamar Miller is easily the best running back out of both teams and Jay Ajayi looked great in the limited action he saw. However, production wise these two teams were almost identical. Tennessee rushed for 92.8 yards per game, which was only .8 yards less than the rushing game in Miami. Rushing production has been a low point for each team this season, but for both teams it was poor offensive line play that was mostly responsible. Both teams will look to improve their lines, but Miami will likely keep the running backs they already have.
Miller had a great game when this two teams met. He ran the ball 19 times for 113 yards and 1 touchdown. In comparison, the three backs in the game for Tennessee (Sankey, Andrews, and McCluster) combined for 18 carries, 63 yards, and no touchdowns.
There is a large gap between the Dolphins and Titans when it comes to pass catchers. The Titans best wide receiver, Kendall Wright, missed eight games in the 2015 season, which hurt their production desperately. When it comes to WRs, Tennessee’s most productive player was Dorial Green-Beckham, but the rookie with a troubled past netted less yards than Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews, the top two Dolphins’ pass catchers. In fact, Landry and Matthews out gained all of the Titans wide receivers combined by more than 150 yards.
In the matchup between the two teams, Tennessee’s WRs only had 175 yards on 11 receptions. Meanwhile, Miami wide outs had 189 yards on 12 catches. The only notable difference between these two receiving corps was how often they caught the passes thrown at them. Miami was 12 for 13 while Tennessee was 11 for 19. This, however, was more on Mariota than it was on the Wright, Green- Beckham, Hunter, and Douglas.
This is the first position group that Tennessee is far and away better than Miami. Delanie Walker is the most productive skill position player for the Titans. His 1,088 yards were actually 3rd in the NFL among tight ends. Walker had almost two times as many receiving yards as Miami’s entire tight end corps. Walker had the best season of his career this year and was one of the best tight ends in the NFL.
Jordan Cameron has the talent to be better than most of the tight ends in the NFL, but he needs to get more targets than he is seeing right now.
Delanie Walker was the receiving yards leader among both teams with 97 yards, while Sims and Cameron combined for only 63 yards. Walker continued to be the shining part of the Titans offense, while Miami’s back-up Dion Sims had his best game of the season, including his only touchdown of 2015.
Both teams had very disappointing seasons from their offensive lines. The Tennessee Titans gave up a league leading 54 sacks and Miami tied for 8th with 45 sacks given up. As stated earlier, both teams’ running games were definitely hurt more by their offensive lines than their running backs. These lines preformed so poorly that Pro Football Focus ranked Tennessee 29th and Miami 31st among all NFL offensive lines. Taylor Lewan and Mike Pouncey are both the lone bright spots on these lines and neither performed outstanding.
During this game, just like most of the position groups so far, Miami far out performed the Titans. Lewan and company allowed 6 total sacks and only 3.5 yards per rush as a team. The away team had far more success, only giving 2 sacks and they averaged 5.6 yards per rush.
Both teams had strong defensive lines in 2015. Pro Football Focus ranked the top 10 defensive lines of last season, and both made it. Miami finished #2 on their list and Tennessee took the #10 spot. This is even more impressive for Miami, considering the most productive member of their line missed more than half the season. Oliver Vernon and Ndamukong Suh stepped up in the second half of the season to lead one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. For Tennessee, they don’t have big name talent, but an overall solid unit. Jurell Casey tied with Brian Orakpo for most sacks on the team with 7 and he was the leader of this defensive line.
This match up was easily won by the Dolphins again. Wake had four sacks and two forced fumbles in this game and was a nightmare for Marcus Mariota. Vernon also added a sack of his own. The Miami Dolphin defensive line had a big impact on this game. The same cannot be said about the Titans, whose two sacks both came from linebackers and Casey led the line with four tackles.
This is a spot where Tennessee is the better team. Derrick Morgan missed 6 games due to injury, which hurt this linebacking corps, but they still were better than their counterparts. The Titans linebackers had a total of 21.5 sacks this season compared to 1 single sack by all of the Dolphins linebacking corps. Now, Tennessee runs a 4-3 and Miami uses a 3-4, which means that Tennessee blitzes linebackers more often. However, they did not blitz 21 times as much. Tennessee’s starting inside linebackers, Wesley Woodyard and Avery Williamson, recorded 8.5 sacks between the two of them. Also, Tennessee played better against the rush. They gave up 3.9 yards per run and 11 touchdowns, compared to Miami’s 4.0 average and 13 rushing touchdowns.
This was actually a decent game from the linebackers of Tennessee. Woodyard and Brian Orakpo both brought Tannehill down in the pocket. The top producing tacklers of the game were both Tennessee linebackers, Woodyard and Zach Brown. Miami’s Koa Misi was their top producing linebacker with 8 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Still the edge, even in the beating, goes to Tennessee.
At first look it might seem as though Tennessee had the better secondary. They finished 7th in passing yards per game, while Miami finished 21st. This, however, is simply not true. Miami gave up 7.8 yards per attempt, 31 touchdowns, and snagged 13 interceptions. Tennessee gave 7.9 yards per attempt, 34 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Tennessee had a lot of injuries in their secondary this season, including their best corner, Jason McCourty, missing 12 games. If Tennessee could have remained healthy they may have been the better secondary, but they couldn’t and they weren’t.
In this game both teams got two interceptions, but Reshad Jones returned his interception 30 yards for a touchdown. Tennessee allowed one more touchdown and 47 more passing yards. The Dolphins’ fierce pass rush definitely helped their secondary in this game, but the secondary did their part and they were a big reason why Miami won this game.
Tennessee finished the season 3-13. Miami finished 6-10. That is basically all you need to know about these two teams. Miami is the better team, but both teams need to improve a lot before they make the playoffs. The schedules are not finalized yet, but we do know that these two teams will be meeting in Miami at some point next year.