BY SEAN DONOVAN
The Miami Dolphins came into Sunday's matchup against the Tennessee Titans needing a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
But after getting drubbed by a 37-3 margin at the hands of a fledgling Titans team, the last thing on their collective minds should be games in January. On both sides of the ball, the Dolphins put in an effort more worthy of a top-five pick in the draft than a berth in the postseason.
Miami did not stay competitive long, going down by 21 points by the halftime break. The Titans scored first on a short drive after Reggie Bush fumble and later on a Ryan Tannehill interception that was taken 49 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Colin McCarthy.
The Dolphins' offense committed four turnovers on the day, including three interceptions by Tannehill. The rookie signal-caller had not thrown a pick since September, in the Week 4 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
"You've got to hang on to the football," coach Joe Philbin said after the Dolphins' largest margin of defeat since 1997, according to the team's website. "We put our defense in some bad positions. If you look at the statistics sheet, it wasn't that one-sided. When you add in four turnovers, it gets one-sided pretty quick."
The overall embarrassing effort by the Dolphins was punctuated by a number of costly penalties, a few of which came on special teams and pinned the offense well inside it's own 20-yard line.