Thursday Night Football analysis: Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars

By Javier Ascoli

“The Beard” vs “The Mustache”, Ryan Fitzpatrick vs Gardner Minshew, Primetime game between two Florida teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Miami Dolphins.

Miami Dolphins 31-13 Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami’s first win of the season, Jacksonville's second straight loss.

There was a “FitzMagic” night at the TIAA Bank Field to get the Miami Dolphins’ first win of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins got rhythm since the beginning of the game, scoring three touchdowns in the first three drives of the game. The veteran quarterback started a perfect game, 11 out of 11 completed passes, 123 yards, and two touchdowns. Even though Fitzpatrick is a veteran quarterback, he is still playing at a very high level. He ended up the game with 18 out 20 completed passes, 160 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 7 carries, 38 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, and a 133.3 passer rating. Amazing right? The Dolphins played an amazing offense on Thursday Night. Both, Mike Gesicki and Preston Williams had a receiving touchdown, respectively. The Dolphins needed a good passing game because their running game is still struggling. Over the game, they used three Running Backs (Myles Gaskin, Jordan Howard, and Matt Breida), combined, all three rushed for 138 yards on 36 carries, which is less than four yards per carrying. To succeed, the Miami Dolphins need a more balanced offense, they cannot simply depend on Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing and scrambling. The offensive line protected well their veteran quarterback. Overall, the Dolphins’ offense was good, they controlled the pace of the game, but they cannot depend on Ryan Fitzpatrick to do everything. On the other side of the game, the Dolphins did well. Despite missing probably their best defensive player, Byron Jones, the Dolphins handled their defensive game well. Despite having an interception, Xavien Howard still needs to improve, he cannot play soft coverage against good wide receivers. The Jaguars’ offensive line could not handle the pressure on Gardner Minshew. Pass Rush led by Kyle Van Noy showed up in important situations of the game, forcing four sacks, a fumble recovery, and an interception. They consistently forced Minshew into rushed throws and long yardage situations all game long. They made Minshew look uncomfortable during the entire game.

On the other hand, the Jaguars took some positive things from the game despite the loss. James Robinson. The undrafted running back from Illinois State is doing a good job in the Jaguars’ backfield. Robinson showed that you do not have to be an early-round Draft pick to do what he is doing at the running back position. It is essential for a running back to also be an impactful receiver, and that is what James Robinson showed on Thursday Night. He caught six passes for 83 yards and rushed for 43 yards and two touchdowns. Impressive right? The defense was poor, for the third consecutive week, the Jaguars allowed an opening-drive touchdown. Fitzpatrick hurt them in the air, and in the ground. Jacksonville's offensive line was terrible and was a big reason for this loss. Gardner Minshew was under pressure during almost all the game, they allowed 4 sacks. DJ Chark was a game scratch due to injury, his absence looked obvious, Gardner Minshew did not look comfortable throwing deep passes to anyone else. Chark is Minshew’s secure and deep pass weapon. The receiver core was not as solid as in other games. For example, on the Jaguars' first possession of the game, Chris Conley dropped a good pass on second down, which would make a big gain if he caught it. Minshew completed 30 out of 42 passes for 275 yards, in the first two games he passed for 300+ yards. His biggest struggles came on third-down opportunities, the Jaguars just passed three out of ten third-down plays, after entering the game as one of the league’s best third-down offenses. Overall, the Jaguars need to protect more Gardner Minshew, and they cannot depend on DJ Chark for offensive production.

Some takeaways from the game:

1. Be patient Tua fans, Fitzpatrick still can handle the business and will make Tua more mature.

2. Early success sets the throne.

3. Rookies in the Dolphins’ O-Line dominated.

4. Xavien Howard needs to improve.

5. Kyle Van Noy dominates.

6. Dolphins had a Complete Team WIN.

7. Myles Gaskin is taking the starting RB job, but still needs to improve.

8. Jaguars’ O-Line needs to improve.

9. If the Jaguars defense continues like that, they will not stop anyone in this 2020 season.

10. James Robinson UDFA steal.

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