Defense, Two Touchdown Drives Guide Dolphins To 22-7 Victory Over Jaguars

The Dolphins used some strong defense and impressive touchdown drives from their top two quarterbacks to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.

Running backs Mark Walton and Patrick Laird scored second-half touchdowns and Jason Sanders kicked three field goals in the Dolphins’ 22-7 victory at Hard Rock Stadium.

Ryan Fitzpatrick started at quarterback and played into the third quarter. After a difficult first half, Fitzpatrick guided an impressive touchdown drive early in the third quarter that covered 86 yards and ended with Walton’s 8-yard touchdown.

Fitzpatrick was 7-for-7 for 93 yards on the drive, including completions of 30 and 20 yards to tight ends Nick O’Leary and Mike Gesicki.

The scoring play came on a third-and-7 when nobody covered Walton into the flat and Fitzpatrick simply floated the ball to him.

Fitzpatrick finished the game 12-for-18 for 126 yards with the one touchdown and no interceptions, good for a passer rating of 105.3.

Josh Rosen came in after Fitzpatrick’s touchdown pass and started his first drive at his own 1-yard line.

But Rosen directed a 99-yard drive by scrambling twice for 25 yards and throwing a 39-yard strike to Isaiah Ford after avoiding pressure and rolling to his right.

Laird had an 11-yard run on the last play of the third quarter before scoring on a 5-yard run on the fifth play of the fourth.

Most of this night, however, belonged to the Dolphins defense and special teams.

The Dolphins failed to gain a first down on their first three possessions, but the first two ended with great special teams tackles, by Chris Lammons and Cornell Armstrong.

Lammons another big hit on special teams, and this one led to a Dolphins touchdown — though only momentarily.

That play came after Sanders’ first goal. After Jaguars returner DJ Chark lost the football and fell to one knee, Lammons drilled him to jar the ball loose and it was picked up and returned into the end zone by Dolphins running back Mark Walton.

But, as with every touchdown, the play was reviewed and the officials determined that Chark was ruled down before he fumbled.

On defense, the biggest play came when cornerback Eric Rowe intercepted Nick Foles.

Linebacker Jerome Baker had yet another strong outing for the defense with seven tackles in the first half.

Defensive end Nate Orchard had each of the Dolphins’ first two sacks, one in the first half and one in the second.

Linebacker Terrill Hanks had a sack on Jacksonville’s final drive and forced a fumble recovered by teammate Tyrone Holmes.

The Dolphins offense managed only 47 yards of offense in the first half, were 0-for-6 in third-down conversions and Fitzpatrick didn’t manage a completion to a wide receiver.

The Dolphins offense had a great opportunity to reach the end zone in the second quarter after a 28-yard completion from Fitzpatrick to tight end Mike Gesicki combined with a roughing-the-passer penalty put the ball at the Jacksonville 9-yard line. But Gesicki then was called for an illegal pick and the drive stalled.

That drive ended with a 40-yard field goal by Sanders.

Another roughing-the-passer penalty on Jacksonville and an 11-yard run by Kalen Ballage set up Sanders’ second field goal, this time from 46 yards out.

Sanders added a 43-yard field goal with 2:43 left in regulation to cap another drive led by Rosen, who ended the night 5-for-7 for 59 yards and a 96.7 passer rating.

Jacksonville’s touchdown came on a 10-yard pass from Nick Foles, in his first appearance for the Jaguars after coming over from Philadelphia in the offseason, to Dede Westbrook in the first quarter.

The Dolphins (2-1) conclude their preseason schedule against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on Thursday.

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