Fitz-magic strikes again, defeats Jacksonville Jaguars for the sixth time with six different teams
By MARK LONG, AP Pro Football Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick handles the Jacksonville Jaguars as well as anyone in the NFL.
It doesn’t matter which uniform the journeyman quarterback is wearing, either.
Fitzpatrick accounted for three touchdowns and led Miami to a 31-13 victory Thursday night, becoming the first NFL quarterback to notch six wins over the same opponent with six teams.
“Fitz is out of his mind,” tight end Mike Gesicki said. “He’s (37) and playing like he’s 23. You see the fun he has. After I scored, we came off the field chest bumping and screaming. It’s so much fun to play with him.”
The lopsided outcome also gave Miami (1-2) its first double-digit victory in 39 games, ending the longest drought in the league. It was the first time the Dolphins have won a game by more than eight points since Dec. 3, 2017, a 35-9 victory over Denver.
Fitzpatrick completed his first 12 passes — a career high — as Miami scored touchdowns on its first three drives for the first time since 2011. He ended the night celebrating another victory over the Jaguars (1-2).
“It's why I still play,” Fitzpatrick said. “I enjoy playing, especially when you’re having success. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world sometimes getting to go outside and play football with my friends.”
He improved to 6-2 as a starter versus Jacksonville, with wins coming with Cincinnati (2008), Buffalo (2012), Tennessee (2013), Houston (2014), the New York Jets (2015) and now Miami.
Fitzpatrick also ran for 39 yards and a score, his 37-year-old legs looking as fresh as any in Miami’s backfield.
He completed 18 of 20 passes — the last one to himself — for 160 yards and two touchdowns in his latest successful outing against the Jags, who made countless mistakes while failing to consistently move the chains and get off the field on third down.
In short, they looked exactly like the team most outsiders expected them to be this season.
“As a group we just didn't get it done,” said Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew, who completed 30 of 42 passes for 275 yards and two turnovers. “We had too many mistakes. That's plain and simple.”
Jacksonville's most egregious errors:
—Chris Conley dropped two passes that would have been first downs and was flagged for offensive pass interference in the third quarter. Minshew fumbled on the next play, leading to Miami’s fourth touchdown of the night.
“I let this offense down,” Conley said. “Rough night.”
—Minshew audibled to a pitch to the short side of the field on a third-and-5 play. He was sacked on the next play, ending a shot at making the game close at halftime.
—Left tackle Cam Robinson was disqualified for making contact with an official following Minshew’s fumble.
—Rookie cornerback CJ Henderson was on the wrong end of one of four pass interference calls against Jacksonville. He also failed to touch receiver Jakeem Grant down after Grant made a diving catch. Grant jumped up and gained an extra 10 yards.
Adding injury to insult, the Jaguars may have lost linebacker Leon Jacobs for the season. Jacobs was carted off the field on the opening drive with a right knee injury.
Fitzpatrick was already in control by then. He scored a few plays later as Jacksonville allowed a touchdown on the game's opening drive for the third straight week.
“We've got to do a better job of executing early on,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said.
Fitzpatrick had TD passes to Preston Williams and Gesicki — his best throw of the night — in the first half and ran for a score in the third.
Everything went so well for Fitzpatrick that even a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage in the fourth bounced right into his arms for a reception.
“You will rarely see me slide, and today I slid,” he said. “That may not happen again all year. throwing a block and getting hit, that helps me get into the game a little bit.”
Rookie running back James Robinson was one of Jacksonville's few bright spots. He ran 11 times for 46 yards and two touchdowns and had six receptions for 83 yards.
Jaguars rookie Brandon Wright made his NFL debut against Miami, joining a small list of Black place-kickers in league history. The group includes Gene Mingo, Cookie Gilchrist, Donald Igweibuike, Obed Ariri, Cedric Oglesby and Justin Medlock.
Wright missed one of his two extra point attempts. He also injured a groin in the fourth quarter.
Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard was ruled out at halftime with a core muscle injury. He was filling in for starter Jarrod Wilson, who is on injured reserve. … Jaguars receiver DJ Chark (chest/back) was ruled out about six hours before kickoff. He’s expected back at practice next week. ... The Dolphins were without No. 1 cornerback Byron Jones (groin/Achilles tendon).
Both teams remained in their locker room for the national anthem, continuing their push for social and racial justice.
Miami hosts Seattle on Oct. 4. The Dolphins have won five of the last seven meetings, including three straight in South Florida.
Jacksonville plays at Cincinnati on Oct. 4. The Jaguars have won two in a row against the Bengals, notching victories in 2017 and 2019.