Well that was fun! The Miami Dolphins throttled the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football. They came out fast and came away with their first win by double digits in 38 games, a streak that went back to 2017. It was not a perfect night, but it was a fun night in Duval County for the South Florida franchise.
The Dolphins received the opening kickoff and, for the first time this season, came out looking like they had some rhythm. The first play from scrimmage saw quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick connect with tight end Durham Smythe for seven yards. It was on after that, with running back Myles Gaskin picking up nine yards on the next play, followed by a Fitzpatrick pass to wide receiver DeVante Parker for 20 yards. Gaskin picked up five yards, then six yards, before receiver Jakeem Grant laid out to make a catch, realized he was not touched so he jumped up and ran for a 19-yard gain. The Gaskin show continued with five-straight runs, picking up seven yards, two yards, four yards, two yards, and no gain. Fitzpatrick then targeted receiver Preston Williams, who came down with the two-yard touchdown pass. Dolphins 7-0.
The Jaguars looked to respond, starting with a hige 24-yard run from James Robinson to start the drive. After that, however, a run for four yards, an incomplete pass, and a two-yard pass led to a Jacksonville punt.
Miami continued the hot start to the game with their offense, again relying on Gaskin who started the drive with a reception for 11 yards, plus a 15-yard horsecollar penalty, then a two-yard loss on a run, followed by an eight-yard reception. After a Fitzpatrick run for 13 yards, the Dolphins ran an end-around with Grant, who used his speed to gain 29 yards. After a pass interference penalty with Parker in the endzone, the Dolphins brought in Jordan Howard, who finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Dolphins 14-0.
The Jaguars were able to respond immediately after the Miami score, with Robinson leading the drive. The running back picked up 36 yards on the drive, including an 11-yard run for a touchdown. On the drive, quarterback Gardner Mishew threw for 40 yards, plus ran for 19 yards. Dolphins 14-7.
The Dolphins were not going to allow the game to stay within a single score, however, as they immediately attacked the Jaguars defense again. Fitzpatrick threw for 55 yards, including a 17-yard pass to Parker and a 15-yard catch-and-run from tight end Mike Gesicki for the touchdown. Dolphins 21-7.
Jacksonville was able to pick up where they left off to start the next drive, with Minshew finding James O’Shaughnessy for nine yards. After a defensive pass interference penalty on Eric Rowe, the Jaguars moved up to the 50-yardline, eventually working down tot he Miami 36, where they attempted a conversion on 4th-and-6, only to have Kamu Grugier-Hill come up with a sack to force the turnover on downs.
Miami tried to hurry up with just 1:10 remaining in the first half, but did not find any success and had to punt for the first time on the day.
The Jaguars gained six yards on a pass from Mishew to Chris Thompson, then a neutral zone infraction by Emmanuel Ogbah gave them an additional five yards. Minshew connected with tight end Tyler Eifert on the next play, picking up six yards, but two incompletions led to a punt, with the clock running out during Grant’s return.
Dolphins 21 - Jaguars 7
Jacksonville started the second half with the ball, picking up a first down after a Robinson run for five yards and a Minshew pass to Keelan Cole for seven yards. The drive would stall on the next set of downs, however, and the Jaguars would punt.
Miami would also punt, this time after a seven-play, 31-yard drive, highlighted by a 16-yard pass and an 8-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Parker.
With Miami’s punter Matt Haack being a magician and having the ball die at the three-yard line, the Jaguars were facing 97 yards between them and the endzone to start the drive. After a Robinson run for two yards, Minshew completed a 10-yard pass to Robinson. An incomplete pass was followed by a Robinson run for seven yards, before a offensive pass interference penalty backed up the Jaguars to their own 12 yard line. Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy was then able to force a fumble on a strip-sack, then recover the ball, setting up the Dolphins in Jacksonville territory. A penalty on Cam Robinson for shoving a referee during the scrum for the ball led to his ejection and Miami getting the ball at the five yard line.
Starting from the Jaguars five, Miami began the possession with a one-yard run from Gaskin. Fitzpatrick then targeted Gesicki in the endzone, drawing a pass interference penalty and setting up 1st-and-Goal from the one-yard line. After two failed Howard runs, Fitzpatrick was able to find the endzone himself. Dolphins 28-7.
The Jaguars came out with Minshew throwing, picking up 43 yards on three passes to start the drive. After a run from Thompson, followed by a incomplete pass, the third quarter ended. The Jaguars were called for a false start to begin the final period, then Miami briefly intercepted a deep pass from Minshew, with linebacker Jerome Baker breaking up the pass and Jamal Perry looking like he had the pick. Replay showed, however, the ball clearly hit the ground before Perry was able to grab it, setting up a 4th-and-11 play. Minshew was able to find Robinson for 10 yards, with Miami taking over on downs.
Miami did nothing with the possession, losing a yard on a first-down sack, and punted after three plays.
Jacksonville again came out with Minshew throwing the ball all around the field. He was able to find Thompson for eight yards, Conley for five yards, Thompson for another six yards, O’Shaugnessy for 12 yards, and Thompson for another nine yards to quickly move to the Dolphins’ 20-yard line. After a pass to Eifert for five yards and an incomplete pass, Minshew connected with receiver Dede Westbrook for four yards. After another pass targeting Westbrook led to a defensive pass interference call, despite the replay clearly showing Westbrook pushing off on cornerback Tae Hayes, the Jaguars were able to score on a one-yard run from Robinson. The extra point was missed. Dolphins 28-13.
Miami would pick up a first down on a 14-yard Fitzpatrick scramble to start the drive, but would stall out after that - despite Fitzpatrick catching a deflected pass giving him a reception on his own throw- and Miami would punt.
After a three-and-out from the Jaguars, with Emmanuel Ogbah and Zach Sieler sharing a sack, while Andrew Van Ginkel picked up a sack of his own, on the possession, Miami simply looked to chew up clock. Gaskin had three carries for two yards on the drive, with Miami adding a field goal from Jason Sanders. Dolphins 31-13.
Jacksonville again tried to get back into the game, with Minshew able to pick up some chunk yards, including a pass to Cole for 16 yards and a pass to Conley for 18 yards. It ended, however, with an Xavien Howard interception near the goal line.
Miami then killed the clock to win their first game of the year.
Talk about an impressive start to the game. Fitzpatrick started 12-for-12 throwing, Miami had touchdowns on their first three possessions, and Gaskin is simply a beast. Everything went right for the Dolphins offense to start the game. They did whatever they wanted, through the air and on the ground, and it was fun to watch.
The second half was not as attacking for the Dolphins, with the team clearly looking to run the ball and eat clock. It felt too conservative at times, but they were able to put the hammer back down and score when they needed.
The defense was not perfect, but it did look better. They backed out of playing as much press coverage on the outside, and it seemed to put the Jaguars off balance, and it helped Miami. There were still some communication break downs, but they were able to limit those - and they got lucky a few times with drops or overthrows.
The pass rush showed up, especially late in the game. The defense knew the Jaguars were going to pass, and they got after Minshew.
Fitzpatrick and Gaskin were clearly the stars of the game.