Photo courtesy of Miami Dolphins
For the first time in 2020, the Miami Dolphins are in the win column.
The Dolphins picked up their first victory of the season on Thursday night with a 31-13 road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. On a short week, the Dolphins played what was easily their best game of the young season.
As is customary, we look back on what went right and what did not from Thursday’s contest.
Although the yardage numbers weren’t high, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was ultra-efficient for Miami. Fitzpatrick misfired on just two of his 20 pass attempts, finishing the night with 160 yards passing, two touchdown tosses and a touchdown run.
The Dolphins did a nice job setting the tone. Miami scored touchdowns on each of its first three drives to take early control of the contest. DeVante Parker finished with a season-high 69 yards receiving for the Dolphins.
Although the yards per carry numbers weren’t high, the Dolphins rushed for a season-high 138 yards. The 31 points is a season-high for Miami. The Dolphins also possessed the ball for nearly 35 minutes.
They were a stellar 7-for-13 on third down conversions and finished their first four red zone trips with touchdowns — an area where they struggled in last week’s 31-28 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Defensively, Miami played its best game of the year, holding its opponent to a season-low 13 points. The Dolphins forced multiple turnovers for the first time this season.
A forced fumble in the third quarter set Miami up in the red zone and allowed the Dolphins to take a commanding 28-7 lead. Xavien Howard’s late interception — the first of the year for the Dolphins — sealed the win.
After struggling to generate a pass rush early on this season, Miami recorded a season-high four sacks. The Dolphins also yielded a season-low 72 yards rushing. On third down, Jacksonville converted just three of 10 attempts.
Prior to Thursday night, the Dolphins had not won a game by double digits since beating the Denver Broncos 35-9 on Dec. 3, 2017. Miami avoids a second straight 0-3 start.
For the Miami defense, the only struggles were early on. The Dolphins allowed the Jaguars to move with relative ease on the first few drives, but miscues like drops hurt Jacksonville. After that, Miami settled in nicely.
There wasn’t much to be upset about for the Dolphins, but they were more penalized than usual. The Dolphins committed six penalties for 51 yards. Three of those resulted in Jacksonville first downs.
After a career game last week against the Bills, tight end Mike Gesicki was relatively quiet on Thursday night. Gesicki caught a 15-yard touchdown, but that was his only catch. Fitzpatrick’s only two incomplete passes were thrown in the direction of Gesicki.
With Thursday’s victory, the Dolphins improved to 1-2. Entering the week, only five AFC teams were off to 2-0 starts, so Miami is still very much alive in the playoff race.
By the end of the week, Miami will be no worse than third in the AFC East and could be as high as tied for second. The Dolphins will look for their first home win and to get to .500 next week when they host the Seattle Seahawks.