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Here’s what caught our eye during the first half of the Miami Dolphins’ Week 14 matchup against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium.

— We’ll start with the inactive list, which was led by tackle Terron Armstead, guard Robert Hunt and safety Jevon Holland all out because of injuries.

— Also inactive WR Robbie Chosen, CB Eli Apple and TE Tyler Kroft, along with Skylar Thompson again serving as the emergency third quarterback.

— Guard Robert Jones was back in the lineup after missing three games with a knee injury.

FIRST QUARTER

— With Armstead and Hunt out, Kendall Lamm started at left tackle, with Lester Cotton at left guard and Liam Eichenberg at right guard.

— The Dolphins, though, started on defense after winning the coin toss for the 12th time in 14 games this season.

— It was a massively impressive first defensive series that began with David Long Jr. shooting the gap and dropping Derrick Henry for a 1-yard loss.

— On third-and-10, Xavien Howard had tight coverage to force an incompletion, but he got hit by safety Brandon Jones coming over to help and sustained a leg injury. Remember that it was Brandon Jones taking out Jerome Baker that caused the knee injury that landed Baker on IR.

— On Miami’s second offensive snap, Tua threw an absolute dart between defenders to Jaylen Waddle for a 16-yard gain, but Waddle left the game after sustaining an upper-body injury.

— The Dolphins then converted a third-and-6 when Tyreek Hill went low to catch a 19-yard pass near the sideline.

— On the next play, center Connor Williams left with a lower-leg injury, the third Dolphins player hurt in nine snaps.

— With Williams out, Eichenberg moved to center, with Robert Jones replacing Eichenberg at right guard.

— On the next play, Jones had the key block to open a huge hole for Raheem Mostert for a 14-yard run.

— The Dolphins moved to a second-and-goal from the 2, but a botched handoff from Eichenberg to Tua set in motion a disastrous play.

— Tua initially dropped the ball, but was able to pick it up. But almost as soon as he started dropping back he had a defender in his face, who knocked the ball away from him and the Titans recovered the fumble at their 7.

— The Dolphins began the next series with Howard back on the field, but it was Zach Sieler who stepped up with the biggest play of the game to that point.

— On third-and-11 from the 6, Levis tried to throw a screen pass, but he put it right into the gut of Sieler, who waltzed 5 yards for the Dolphins’ third defensive touchdown in three games and a 7-0 lead.

— Tennessee got its first first down on its next possession when Levis threaded the needle to tight end Chigo Okonkwo despite tight coverage from Howard.

— The drive ended when Christian Wilkins looped around Sieler on his pass rush and had clear path and dropped Levis for a sack.

— The Dolphins began its second drive on its 12 and got a second good run, this one by De’Von Achane good for 15 yards on an end-around.

— As Howard before him, Waddle returned to the game and caught a 13-yard pass from Tua.

— The drive ended when Christian Wilkins looped around Sieler on his pass rush and had clear path and dropped Levis for a sack.

— The Dolphins began its second drive on its 12 and got a second good run, this one by De’Von Achane good for 15 yards on an end-around.

— As Howard before him, Waddle returned to the game and caught a 13-yard pass from Tua.

SECOND QUARTER

— The Dolphins began the quarter in Titans territory, but the drive stalled after a third-down incompletion where safety Amari Hooker dropped what looked like an easy interception over the middle after Tua moved to his left in the pocket.

— The Titans began their next drive at their 14 and held the ball for half the quarter while picking up seven first downs.

— It was a bad drive for Bradley Chubb, who had pressure on a play that ended in an 11-yard completion to rookie running back Tyjae Spears.

— But that was nothing compared to his blunder later in the drive. On third-and-10 from the Miami 30, Chubb had a sure sack that would have knocked Tennessee out of field goal range, but Levis somehow got away from him and managed to gain 5 yards on a scramble. Walking off the field, Chubb’s frustration came to the fore when he threw his helmet to the ground while in the field of play and he got a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

— Levis then gained 11 yards on another scramble before Henry ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown off the Wildcat formation to tie the score 7-7.

— The Dolphins came back with another productive drive, spurred by the running game.

— Mostert started it with a 14-yard gain, followed by an 11-yarder for Achane before Tua converted a third-and-1 with an 8-yard run off the option.

— A sack when Julian Hill was late to pick up rusher Arden Key derailed the drive and the Dolphins faced a fourth-and-6 from the Tennessee 26 at the two-minute warning.

— The score remained tied when Sanders’ kick was blocked by defensive lineman Denico Autry.

— The Dolphins offense got another shot late in the first half after forcing a Tennessee punt — thanks in large part to a holding penalty on a second-and-5 run.

— On first down from the Miami 31, Tua did a nice job of maneuvering around pressure in the pocket and found Achane near the sideline for an 8-yard gain.

— The drive stalled after pressure forced two incompletions.

— Tennessee got the ball at its 21 with 28 seconds left and maybe surprisingly threw the ball, and a second-down completion of 22 yards to DeAndre Hopkins over Howard put the ball at mdfield,

— Tennessee then got a huge play with a 45-yard completion to Hopkins, but as ESPN analyst Louis Riddick correctly pointed out, it happened after Hopkins pulled down Howard by dragging his right arm.

— Howard then came up with two nice pass breakups to force Tennessee to settle for a field goal, but it still meant a surprising 10-7 lead for Tennessee at halftime.

Source: https://www.si.com/nfl/dolphins/news/miami-dolphins-dolphins-titans-halftime-week-14-observations

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