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Jaguars at Dolphins: First half recap and immediate reactions

Jacksonville Jaguars v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins have reached halftime in their Week 3 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game, traditionally used as the dress-rehearsal contest for the regular season, saw plenty of starters play early, but also saw plenty of starters and key players sitting out, including Laremy Tunsil, Kenyan Drake, Reshad Jones, T.J. McDonald, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Walt Aikens, Kiko Alonso, Raekwon McMillan, Vincent Taylor, Chase Allen, and Andrew Van Ginkel. Many of those players have been dealing with injuries as of late, so their missing tonight’s game was not a surprise.

First Half Recap

The Dolphins received the opening kick. Ryan Fitzpatrick started the game at quarterback as expected, and he threw incomplete on first down looking for Kenny Stills. On second down, the pass targeting Durham Smythe was broken up and the Dolphins faced 3rd-and-10. Fitzpatrick looked for Preston Williams, who ran a good out route to create separation, but Fitzpatrick led him too much and the Dolphins were forced to punt.

After the punt, including a great tackle by Chris Lammons immediately upon the kick being fielded, Nick Foles, making his debut with the Jaguars, found Dede Westbrook for three yards. Leonard Fournette then picked up two yards before Foles threw an incomplete pass targeting Fournette on third down. The Jaguars punted.

Kalen Ballage took the handoff on the first down play for a four yard gain. He then carried again on the next play, picking up three more. On 3rd-and-3, Josh Allen burst through the line for the Jaguars and forced Ballage down for a loss of five. Miami punted. Cornell Armstrong followed up Lammon’s coverage on the first punt with another good downfield play on this punt, making the immediate tackle, which was added by a ten-yard holding penalty on the Jaguars after the kick.

Foles found Fournette on first down for four yards, then Fournette lost a yard with a good play in the backfield by linebacker Sam Eguavoen. Foles threw incomplete on 3rd-and-7, leading to the fourth punt of the night.

Miami continued the three-and-out fest on the next possession, with Ballage picking up no yards on the first play, then Fitzpatrick completing a pass to Mike Gesicki for two yards. On 3rd-and-8, Fitzpatrick missed Nick O’Leary and the Dolphins punted.

The Jaguars decided they did not want to punt anymore on the next possession. Fournette picked up two yards on the first play, then Foles found Westbrook for 11 yards. Coming back to Westbrook, Foles was able to pick up another five yards on the next play, then Fournette picked up the rest of the yardage needed for a first down with a five yard gain on the ground. Fournette then picked up another 12 yards, followed by two yards. After an incomplete pass attempt deep, Foles threw deep again, with cornerback Eric Rose being called for pass interference and seeking up 1st-and-10 from the Miami 15. After five yards from Fournette, Foles found Westbrook in the back of the endzone for the score.

Jaguars 7-0.

Miami picked up four yards on the first play with Ballage, then Fitzpatrick connected with Ballage for one yard. On 3rd-and-5, Myles Jack jumped into the neutral zone and Miami was gifted a first down. Ballage then picked up one yard before two straight incomplete passes led to another Dolphins punt.

Foles found Fournette for 15 yards on the first play, then Fournette picked up another five yards on the ground. After Jerome Baker brought down Fournette for a five-yard loss, the first quarter ended. On the 3rd-and-10 play, Foles looked for Westbrook, but Eric Rowe picked off the pass and Miami came away with the turnover.

Fitzpatrick remembered he was a quarterback after that finding Gesicki for 28 yards and suddenly Miami’s passing yardage surpassed their number of punts in the game. Ballage lost one yard on the next play, then Fitzpatrick found Stills for four yards, but Gesicki was called for pass interference, negating the play and giving up 10 yards. Ballage then picked up one yard before Fitzpatrick was sacked for a three-yard loss. Miami settled for the 40-yard field goal.

Jaguars 7-3.

The Jaguars fumbled on the kickoff, but a review showed the knee was down before the ball came out. The Jaguars pulled Foles and the starters for the next drive, with Gardner Minshew taking over under center. Ryquell Armstead picked up one yard on the first play, then Minshew found C.J. Board for eight yards. Minshew then connected with Terrelle Pryor for 13 yards, with defensive end Charles Harris adding another 15 yards after being called for roughing the passer. Armstead then picked up four yards, followed by two yards. After an offensive holding penalty, Minshew found Armstead for two yards, then threw incomplete. Minshew was sacked by Nate Orchard on the next play, then Armstead picked up nine yards on the ground. After no gain from Armstead, the Jaguars missed a 55-yard field goal.

The Dolphins offense came back out with their starters, still looking to find some sort of rhythm. After an incomplete pass from Fitzpatrick, Ballage picked up 11 yards, then lost one. Ballage then lost three yards on a screen pass from Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick then connected with O’Leary for five yards, forcing Miami to settle for a second field goal.

Jaguars 7-6.

The Jaguars saw Minshew find Pryor for 11 yards on first down, then Board for another 11 yards. After the two-minute warning and a false start penalty, Armstead picked up four yards, then Minshew connected with Pryor for two yards. Minshew was incomplete on this third down attempt, and the Jaguars punted.

Miami ran Ballage for a three-yard loss and a three-yard gain to kill the clock on the first half.

Immediate Reactions

This was an ugly, ugly half. The Dolphins could not get anything going. Four punts and a field goal. Fitzpatrick was 5-for-11 for 33 yards, and 28 of those yards came on the third completion. If this Fitzpatrick is the starter in Week 1, Josh Rosen is really, really bad.

The Miami defense had a couple of strong moments, but they also had moments where they struggled.

Overall, the first half - with the starters - did not do anything. The team looked flat and they definitely played that way.