Levis rallies Titans for two late TDs in win over Dolphins
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Will Levis knew he couldn't get too caught up on his mistake. The Tennessee Titans' rookie made a bad pitch to running back Derrick Henry in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins, resulting in a fumble that eventually allowed Miami to take a 14-point lead.
But Levis put the play behind him and directed two touchdown drives in the final 4 1/2 minutes, and Tennessee rallied to stun Miami 28-27 on Monday night, knocking the Dolphins out of the top spot in the AFC.
“That was a nightmare," Levis said of the turnover. “No one wanted to look at me. No one wanted to talk to me. I didn’t want to talk to anybody after that. I just wanted to move on — be ready to attack that next two-minute drive that I knew we’d be able to get.”
The Titans (5-8) held Tua Tagovailoa and Miami’s explosive offense in check for most of the game but still fell behind by two touchdowns in the fourth thanks to critical mistakes that gave short fields to the Dolphins (9-4). Raheem Mostert ran for TDs of 3 yards and 5 yards to put Miami ahead 27-13.
Levis, a second-round draft pick making his sixth career start, led a nine-play, 75-yard drive that took 1:54, capping it with a 3-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins and a 2-point conversion throw to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
The Titans got a stop and Levis hit Hopkins for 28 yards and Chigoziem Okonkwo for 16 yards to get into scoring position. Derrick Henry scored on a 3-yard rush and the extra point gave the Titans a one-point lead.
Levis ripped off his helmet, screamed for joy and embraced coach Mike Vrabel on the sideline.
The Dolphins took over with no timeouts left and got to their own 45, but Harold Landry III sacked Tagovailoa to put the game away. Miami lost at home for the first time this season, and its three-game winning streak was snapped. Baltimore now has a one-game lead for the best record in the conference.
It was the first win by a team down 14 with under three minutes left since 2016.
“Everybody thought this was going to be another Miami-Broncos 70 points put on us," said Titans linebcker Arden Key. “But we don’t care about the outside noise.”
Miami played much the game without star receiver Tyreek Hill, who sat out the second quarter and majority of the third after injuring his ankle in the first quarter. He returned and caught passes of 23 and 25 yards to set up Jason Sanders’ 31-yard field goal that tied it at 13 at the beginning of the fourth. Hill, who leads the NFL in receiving yards, was in and out of the game from there and finished with 61 yards.
Tagovailoa was 23 of 33 for 240 yards and had his streak of 21 consecutive games with a touchdown pass snapped.
Levis went 23 of 38 with a touchdown pass and an interception. Hopkins had seven catches for 124 yards, and Henry ran for two scores.
A grind-it-out game took a wild turn in the fourth quarter, beginning when Tennessee’s Eric Garror tried to field a bouncing punt with the game tied at 13-all with 6:16 remaining. The ball caromed off his hands and Elijah Campbell recovered for the Dolphins at the 7.
Mostert punched it in, then scored again after the Titans fumbled on their next possession on a botched pitch by Levis to Henry. Mostert leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns rushing.
Henry, who finished with 34 yards, moved to 15th in NFL history in rushing yards when he scored his 87th career rushing TD in the first quarter that tied the game at 7 going into the half.
Miami’s top-ranked offense was held scoreless in the first half against a Titans defense that has given up the fewest red zone touchdowns in the NFL. The Dolphins were 2 of 5 in the red zone and lost a fumble at the Titans 2 on a bad quarterback-center exchange on their first possession.
“I think there’s a lot of people that are going to be – it’s going to be tough to go to sleep tonight, including myself,” Miami coach Mike McDaniel said. “That’s not something that you can do and expect to win football games. It’s a hard, hard lesson, but no lead is safe. I think that’s one of the tougher parts about it.”
Miami went ahead 7-0 when defensive tackle Zach Sieler intercepted Levis at the 5 and took it to the end zone. The Dolphins have had a pick-6 in three straight games for the first time in franchise history.
Tagovailoa faced more pressure than usual with the Dolphins missing three starters on their offensive line. Left tackle Terron Armstead (knee/ankle) and right guard Rob Hunt (hamstring) did not play, and center Connor Williams injured his knee in the first quarter.
Sanders converted a 20-yard field goal that tied the score at 10-all in the third quarter. He also had a 44-yard field goal blocked by Denico Autry.
Dolphins: Williams did not return after he hurt his knee. ... CB Xavien Howard briefly left the game after he collided with teammate Brandon Jones. ... WR Jaylen Waddle left briefly after he took a hard hit on Miami’s first drive. ... S DeShon Elliott left with a rib injury and to be evaluated for a concussion. He did not return.
Titans: Host Houston on Dec. 17.
Dolphins: Host New York Jets on Dec. 17.
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