The Miami Dolphins won their first game of the season behind a little fitzmagic on Thursday Night Football against the Jacksonville Jaguars, 31-13.
Fitzpatrick Makes History, Miami Snaps Streak
After a rough start to the season Miami (1-2) quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick set a career-high, completing his first 12 passes on the way to a 90-percent completion percentage for the game.
This was also the Dolphins’ first win by 10-plus points since Dec. 3, 2017 against the Denver Broncos (38 games). This drought was the longest in the NFL.
“I think our staff did a good job on a short week of getting guys ready to go. Chan (Gailey), Josh (Boyer), Danny (Crossman), a lot of credit goes to them,” head coach Brian Flores said during the postgame press conference. “Complementary football is how you win in this league,” Flores said. “Win the field position battle, win the TOP (time of possession) battle by getting first downs offensively, turn the ball over defensively – that’s how you win in this league.”
Dolphins Strike Early, Often
The Dolphins struck first in the first quarter after wide receiver Preston Williams caught a three-yard pass in the end zone from Fitzpatrick to take the 7-0 lead. After stopping the Jaguars from responding, Dolphin running back Jordan Howard punched it in from one-yard out to put Miami up 14-0, the score that would hold to the end of the first quarter.
James Robinson Cuts Lead in Half
The Jaguars got back into the game less than two minutes into the second quarter, though, thanks to diamond in the rough running back James Robinson. He went essentially untouched from 11 yards out to cut the Dolphins’ lead in half.
That would be the closest Jacksonville would get for the rest of the game, as Miami answered again quickly.
Gesicki’s Only Catch is the Game-Winning Score
Fitzpatrick connected with tight end Mike Gesicki for a 15-yard TD in the second quarter to go up 21-7 with just under six minutes left in the half.
Third quarter came around and both teams could not do anything offensively. No points were scored until 2:01 was left in the quarter when Fitpatrick got into the endzone on a one-yard, quarterback-keep run to put his team up 28-7 going into the fourth quarter.
Catch Me if You Can: Robinson Doing it All
The Jaguars tacked on another Robinson TD with 3:49 left in the game once it was already out of reach, but missed the extra point. on got into the endzone in the final period but missed the extra point. With the 28-13 lead, the Dolphins would add the final three points of the game on a Jason Sanders field goal with 3:49 remaining and run off to the locker room happy.
Miami Secondary Took Big Step in Short Week
Miami’s defense was the biggest question mark coming into the game after injuries and total yardage given up in the first two games. But, on a short week, it made a statement win in the national spotlight.
“Every team wants to get pressure on the quarterback,” Flores said. “We were able to do that tonight. There were some instances where it could’ve been better but it definitely improved from previous weeks. They came ready to play, played with a lot of fast energy, they played fired up. They put in a lot of work this week and they saw the fruits of their labor.”
Fitzpatrick Outshines Minshew
Fitzpatrick had a strong performance, going 18-for-20 with 160 yards and three total touchdowns (one rushing). On the flip side, Jaguar QB Gardner Minshew struggled offensively, forcing an interception and no TDs on 275 yards (30-for-42).
Gaskin Leads Dolphins for Third-Straight Week
The Dolphin defense finally broke the century mark on the ground, combining to rush for 138 yards. RB Myles Gaskin was the feature back for the third straight game and rushed 22 times for 66 yards.
“It speaks to the creativity of our coaching staff to add some wrinkles on a short week,” Fitzpatrick said. “But it also speaks to the guys that were able to absorb the plan and make plays. It was nice to see everybody involved for a short week and with Chan (Gailey).”
Game Leaders for Miami, Jacksonville
WR DeVante Parker again led Miami in receiving, hauling in all five of his targets for 69 yards. Out of eight different receivers for the Dolphins, only Gesicki missed any targets on Fitzpatrick’s historic night (one catch, three targets).
For Jacksonville, No. 1 WR D.J. Chark missed the contest so the Jaguars saw Robinson emerge as the best receiving option as well. He caught all six of his targets for 83 yards. Keelan Cole and RB Chris Thompson rounded out the top-three in the receiving game. Cole caught four passes for 43 yards and Thompson caught five balls for 35 yards.
They’ll look to carry this momentum into October when they will travel cross-country to take on QB Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 4.