The Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars completed their “dress rehearsal” game for the 2019 preseason, and it did not exactly instill confidence for either team. Both first-team offenses struggled, especially Miami under presumed starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the defenses were hit-or-miss (other than Josh Allen for the Jaguars).
The second half saw Miami’s offense finally show up - albeit against the depth defense for Jacksonville.
The Dolphins came away with the 22-7 victory.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 3-for-9 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.
Second Half Recap
The Jaguars started with the ball in the second half, with Minshew finding Board for 25 yards on the first down play. Armstead picked up two on the next play. Rowe was able to break up the pass intended for Tre McBride, then Jomal Wiltz was able to immediately bring down Armstead in the flat, leading to a punt.
The first-team offense continued on the field for the Dolphins. Mark Walton picked up one yard on the first play of the possession, with a holding penalty giving the team a free first down. Walton lost two yards on the next play, then caught a Fitzpatrick pass for an eight yard gain. Fitzpatrick then connected with Stills for 14 yards on 3rd-and-4. Walton lost two yards on an attempted bubble screen play, then a holding penalty backed up the Dolphins more. On 2nd-and-22, Fitzpatrick found O’Leary for 30 yards. Walton picked up two yards before Fitzpatrick found Gesicki for 29 yards. Fitzpatrick then found Walton for three yards, before the running back lost three yards. On 3rd-and-7 from the Jaguars eight, Fitzpatrick found Walton for an eight yard touchdown.
Minshew threw to McBride for eight yards, then found Tyre Brady for another eight yards. Thomas Rawls picked up four yards for Jacksonville, before an incomplete pass, a false start, and another incomplete pass ended the drive.
After the punt, Josh Rosen entered the game with Miami’s second-team offense, with the ball on the Miami one-yard line. A hard count from Rosen drew the Jaguars offside and gave the offense a little breathing room. Walton picked up up four yards on 1st-and-5, then, after a Chandler Cox run for no yards, Walton picked up the first down on a one-yard carry. Rosen then scrambled for 11 yards. Rosen connected with Chris Myarick for eight yards, then found Clive Walford for a one-yard loss. Rosen threw a six-yard pass to Isaiah Ford on the next play, then Patrick Laird picked up 11 yards on the ground, ending the third quarter. After the break, Rosen scrambled to his right and connected with Ford for 39 yards. After Laird lost four yards, Rosen threw an incomplete pass. Then, Rosen scrambled for another 14 yards, converting on the 3rd-and-14 play. Laird completed the 99-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run. Laird appeared to convert on the two-point try, but a holding penalty backed up Miami and they settled for the extra point kick.
Armstead picked up one yard on the Jaguars next drive, then Minshew found Board for 12 yards. Minshew threw a screen to Armstead on first down, but the Dolphins defense swarmed for a four-yard loss. After an incomplete pass, Nate Orchard sacked Minshew, his second sack of the game, and Jacksonville punted.
The Dolphins did nothing with the ball on their next possession - well, other than get penalized. A false start began the series, then Laird picked up three yards. Laird lost two on the second-down run, with a clipping penalty declined on the play. Laird then nearly converted the 3rd-and-14 play with a 13 yard run. Miami punted on the three-and-out.
Minshew and McBride completed an 11 yard play on first downs, then Minshew found Mays for five yards on the next first down. Minshew threw an incomplete pass on 2nd-and-5, then a holding play backed up the Jaguars ten yards. On 3rd-and-15 and 4th-and-15, Minshew failed to complete a pass and Miami took over on downs.
Rosen then found Trenton Irwin on a roll-out for a seven yard gain. Gaskin then picked up three yards, then followed that up with two straight five-yard gains, and a six-yard gain. Rosen threw incomplete toward Walford on first down, Then Gaskin picked up for more yards before losing two and Jason Sanders converted a 43-yard field goal.
Jacksonville started well on the drive, picking eight yards on a Minshew to Mays pass, then, after an illegal formation call negated a 34-yard gain, Minshew connected with McBride for 12 yards. After the two-minute warning, Minshew threw an incomplete pass then scrambled for 18 yards. Minshew again found Mays for eight yards. After a timeout, Mineshew was sacked by Terrill Hanks, with a forced fumble recovered by Tyrone Holmes, giving Miami the ball.
Rosen knelt twice to end the game.
Second half and final immediate reactions
The offense definitely came out a little better in the second half, but they were also playing against the depth defense for Jacksonville. Nothing about the starting offense felt like it had a rhythm, until that one drive, so I am no where near as sure Fitzpatrick is the starting quarterback this year as Troy Aikman was all game.
Rosen looked sharp on his first drive. It was against the Jaguars depth players, but it looked good, especially considering how constipated the offense looked in the first half.
Eric Rowe played well in this game, so maybe the second cornerback position is not as much of a concern as it has seemed. He was not perfect, but he played well.
Sam Eguavoen and Jerome Baker are clearly the top linebackers at this point, especially with Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso sidelined.
Nate Orchard will be getting a defensive end’s number soon. Number 4 picked up his third and fourth sack of the preseason during the game and he is playing really well.