The Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins used a combined five quarterbacks Sunday.
None of them completed a pass to Randy Moss until fewer than five minutes remained. Only two, of course, had the opportunity, but Kerry Collins and Vince Young spread their first 16 completions around to six other targets in a 29-17 defeat at Sun Life Stadium.
“Our quarterbacks are throwing where the progression takes them," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. "We had some open receivers. We had three or four balls deflected or [where] Kerry [Collins] was hit. If we catch those balls, maybe it is a different ballgame.
"If you get the right coverage, (Moss) gets the ball. If you don’t get the right coverage, someone else gets the ball.”
Tyler Thigpen, Miami’s third quarterback, put the game out of reach when he hit Anthony Fasano for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 5:26 to play.
Moss finally made a reception on the ensuing drive – a 26-yard gain on second-and-10 that gave the Titans a first down at the Miami 29. Young followed with two incomplete passes, got sacked and then threw an end zone interception with 3:18 to play and Miami ran out the remaining time.
"My number was called; Kerry went down so I had to go and try to win the game," Young, whose practice time during the week was limited by an ankle injury, said. "That’s what I tried to do."
Fasano led all receivers with a career-high 107 yards on five receptions. Tight end Bo Scaife was Tennessee’s top pass catcher with seven receptions for 51 yards.
The impact of Moss provided the expected boost for running back Chris Johnson, who gained 117 yards on 17 carries and scored the Titans’ first touchdown on a 17-yard run.
Johnson had a combined 125 rushing yards in the previous two games and was limited to fewer than four yards per rush in five of the previous eight contests. He had a 30-yard run in the first quarter, which was his longest in three games.
"It’s (Moss') first week; he just came in this week," Johnson said. "A little more practice, a little more work and we’ll get things together. ... once we play together and practice together more it will all stick like glue and we’ll be all right."
The score was tied at halftime, 10-10. but the Titans allowed 10 points in a span of 1:10 of the third quarter and trailed the rest of the way.
Following a field goal, the Dolphins capitalized when Young was sacked and fumbled. Miami recovered at the Tennessee 13. Two plays later Chad Henne threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Cobbs.
“It is hard to beat good teams – and that is a good football team," Fisher said. "... We had some opportunities. We gave up 10 consecutive points; we just couldn’t do much after that."
Collins started for the second time in three games but sustained a calf injury – without contact – on the final play of the first half. Young replaced him and went 9-for-18 for 92 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Collins completed just nine of 20 for 51 yards. He threw three passes to Moss. One resulted in a pass interference penalty for 34 yards and helped set up Johnson’s touchdown run. Another was on target but Moss was unable to hang on when he absorbed a big hit from a Dolphins’ defensive back.
Miami’s starter Chad Pennington lasted just two plays before he left with a shoulder injury. His replacement, Henne, was knocked from the contest with a knee injury in the final minute of the third quarter and was replaced by Thigpen.
"It was an unusual game," Fisher said. "They made a change as a starter and they are back to where they were before because of an injury after a series. It is kind of one of those things. Our situation speaks for itself. We have two good quarterbacks and they been spelling one another with this injury thing we have been dealing with over the last month.”