The Miami Dolphins won their first game of the 2020 NFL season Thursday night on prime time against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team made a statement, winning the game by a score of 31-13 behind big games from running back Myles Gaskin and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick Has Career Night
Fitzpatrick had a heck of a night, starting the game completing his first 12 passing attempts. The 12 straight completions were a career-high for the 16-year veteran. Though he did only have 160 passing yards on the night, he did have a 90-percent completion percentage, going 18-for-20, as well as two passing touchdowns. His completion percentage was the third-highest in Dolphins history and he also added 38 yards and a rushing TD on seven carries.
“I thought Fitz played well. We moved the ball efficiently in the first half, I thought he made good decisions. I thought he ran it when he needed to run it. I thought he had good command of the offense tonight,” Miami head coach Brian Flores said. “We (also) got contributions from a lot of different guys – the offensive line, the backs, tight ends, receivers – everyone contributed and that is what you need to win in this league.”
Fitzpatrick’s Rushing, Low Turnovers Propelling Dolphins
Fitzpatrick is in his second season in Miami and looks to be in one of the most comfortable spots in his career despite this being his eighth team. While his 90-percent completion percentage is third-highest for the Dolphins, it’s the highest of his career. He showed that he didn’t need the high-yardage in the air to be an efficient winner on TNF.
There likely isn’t a coach in this league that isn’t ecstatic when their quarterback gets the team in the end zone three times without a turnover. Also, despite the loss to the Buffalo Bills in week two, the team appears to play better when Fitzpatrick doesn’t turn the ball over.
In the Bills’ game, Miami only lost by a field goal, but Fitzpatrick had two touchdown passes and no turnovers just like he did in the win against the Jaguars. When Fitzpatrick doesn’t turn the ball over the Dolphins have scored at least 28 points per game, as opposed to their loss against the New England Patriots in week one, where Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions and the team lost 21-11.
Surprise RB Myles Gaskin Opening Up Options
Helping open up the passing game is coming in large part because of running back Myles Gaskin.
Gaskin was given a season-high 22 carries and amassed 66 of Miami’s 136 total yards. He leads the team in carries (38), total rushing yards (152) and is averaging four yards per carry through the Dolphins’ first three games.
“Gaskin has been productive. He goes in there and runs it effectively, catches the ball, blocks in pass protection, plays some in the kicking game,” Flores said. “He’s tough, he’s competitive and he’s been productive. If you’re productive in this league, you get more opportunities and that’s been the case for him.”
Consistency Keeping Gaskin on the Field
Gaskin has also has 15 receptions for 91 yards this season, and though he hasn’t found the end zone on the ground or through the air yet, that’s certainly subject to change if he continues to play at this high level.
A big part of his early success this season is due to the consistency he’s been given by the coaching staff. Based on Flores’ quote, Gaskin’s increased playing time and snap count is based on his successful production.
Despite his 152 yards, he has already distanced himself from the two in terms of snap count and statistics.
Gaskin Blowing Jordan Howard Out of Miami Waters
Howard, for example, has had more rushing attempts than yards in each of the three games this season, but his saving grace has been a rushing TD in each game so far.
However, he is currently on pace for 86 carries for 64 yards and 16 scores at the pace he’s playing at. A key reason why Gaskin’s efficiency means something to the coaching staff.
Onto Seattle: Fitzpatrick, Gaskin’s Toughest Tests
Fitzpatrick, Gaskin and Miami will face their toughest opponent of the season yet next Sunday as they travel cross-country for a date with the Seattle Seahawks.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson currently has 14 TDs through his team’s first three games, and the most in that span in NFL history, and is currently on track for 75 scores this season. With the possible absence of RB Chris Carson for Seattle, Fitzpatrick is going to face one of the toughest tasks of his career in needing to go toe-to-toe with Wilson.
Kayla Morton contributed to this article.