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Jaguars can’t overcome mistakes, slow start in 31-13 loss to Dolphins

Jacksonville falls to 1-2 on the season, breaking the momentum built just two short weeks ago.

Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

It was yet another terribly slow start for the Jaguars tonight as the team couldn’t find a way to slow down the Dolphins’ offense in the first half, nor score on offense throughout the game in general. One of the team’s issues seems to be starting on defense.

In the team’s first three games of the season, the Jaguars’ defense has given up a touchdown, something that is unacceptable if a team wants to take control of the game early.

During his post game interview, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone indicated the team my need to take a look at whether or not they take the ball, or continue to defer as they have done over the last three weeks.

“Yeah, I think that’s something that I’ll look at,” said Marrone. “I think just from a standpoint of [an] overall philosophy of trying to put the defense on the field first and make the offense execute, you know, it’s kind of been a philosophy, but obviously it’s something that we’ll look at and see if we have to change it.”

The Jaguars continued to showcase a suspect defense, unable to stop the Dolphins’ passing attack similarly to their previous two games of this season.

At one point during the first half, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was a perfect 12 for 12 for 127 and two touchdowns. It would be the second week in a row the Jaguars defense allowed the team to trail 14-0 to start the game.

Fitzpatrick would end the game completing 18 out of 20 of his passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

For the second time since 2000, the Miami Dolphins were able to score on their first three possessions of the game, their last time coming November 20, 2011 against Buffalo according to Miami’s football communications.

The Jaguars defense would give up nine plays of 10 yards or more on the day. While the defense struggled mightily in the first half, they would give up just 10 points and 76 yards in the second half of the game after giving up 21 points and 218 yards in the first half.

While the Jaguars’ defense couldn’t stop the Dolphins early, the Jaguars offense wasn’t able to mount any sort of comeback as they’ve been able to over the past two weeks. Quarterback Gardner Minshew completed 30 of 42 passes for 275 yards and two turnovers - an interception and a fumble.

“Yeah, there are times we get the ball moving, then something just kills the drive,” Minshew said in post game. “There are things we’ve done in these three weeks that have been really good. There are things we’ve done that are kind of killing us. So we’re going to take this break to look back, evaluate, and move forward.”

While the Jaguars get on the board early in the second quarter, their next five possessions would include two turnover on downs, one fumble and two punts - a dreadful offensive performance, unable to make the most of the few opportunities afforded to them.

The end of the game wouldn’t be any better as Minshew threw an interception intended for receiver Chris Conley. It would be the third time during the game that Minshew failed to connect with Conley, the two weren’t in sync all night.

“We both wish there were things we could have back. So we’re going to move forward, look at the film, address it, and move on to Cincinnati,” said Minshew.

The team’s leading receiver would be running back James Robinson, who caught eight receptions for 83 yards on the day with Minshew being forced to check down more often than he has in the past. Without his No. 1 receiver in DJ Chark Jr. available, the Jaguars were unable to get much going.

At one point, Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson was ejected for making contact with a referee. Robinson was attempting to recover the football after Minshew fumbled near his own end zone. An official was on top of Robinson, and in an attempt to get up, Robinson made contact with the official, missing the remaining quarter-and-a-half of play.

The Jaguars committed eight penalties for 63 yards on the day. Self-inflected issues on both sides of the ball were evident, and simply couldn’t be overcome.

Issue after issue, the Jaguars weren’t able to ever capitalize on the few positive plays that were made during the game. While Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen would tally his first sack of the season, the Jaguars were already well out of reach for a victory, it became almost meaningless to note.

The Jaguars were simply never in rhythm tonight, and it showed in their dreadful offensive production. While the Jaguars made their own mistakes tonight, it was the Dolphins’ ability to keep everything in front of them that ultimately hampered the Jaguars’ passing offense.

“They played a lot of soft zone coverage and weren’t going to let us take any shots,” said Minshew. “I thought our guys did a good job for the most part catching the ball and making what they could with it. But the Dolphins did a good job defensively tonight.”

The Jaguars will hope to right their wrongs next week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Injury round up:

Marrone will provide a further update on injuries tomorrow, however, he did indicate that linebacker Leon Jacobs would likely be out after he was carted off the field on Thursday.

  • Jaguars LB Leon Jacobs (knee) - did not return.
  • Jaguars S Andrew Wingard (core) - did not return
  • Jaguars K Brandon Wright (groin) - did not return