ReFo: Jaguars @ Dolphins, Week 15
Jacksonville at Miami was far from the most glamorous game on the Week 15 schedule, but it provided some decent football and, in the end, a convincing win for the Dolphins. Following a fumble recovery caused by a strip sack from Jason Babin, the Jaguars had apparently broken a 3-3 tie with a touchdown pass to Justin Blackmon — but offensive tackle Guy Wimper failed to correctly report as an eligible receiver, resulting in a penalty negating the touchdown. Jacksonville never seemed to bounce back from that mistake and Miami took control of the game.
The Dolphins used two time-consuming, ball-control touchdown drives to display their dominance. In the second quarter, it was a 14-play, 89-yard drive that took seven-and-a-half minutes off the clock; in the fourth quarter it was another 14-play drive that covered 85 yards and took more than nine minutes off the clock. Both were masterfully conducted and proved to be the difference in the Dolphins’ 24-3 victory.
Jacksonville — Three Performances of Note
A glimmer of hope for the future in Jacksonville is that their two young wide receivers are starting to look like keepers. Cecil Shorts (+1.2) and Justin Blackmon (+1.2) continued to show flashes of playmaking ability, and have entrenched themselves as the primary targets in Jacksonville. Many of their opportunities came when the game was already decided, but Blackmon had an early touchdown called back that would have added to his stats. He finished the game with six receptions on 11 targets for 93 yards and one drop. Shorts finished with six receptions on 10 targets for 101 yards, which could have been more if not for a shoestring tackle by Dolphins safety Chris Clemons on a slant pass that was destined for a touchdown. On a team desperate for offensive playmakers, it is nice to see some emerging.
Two Different Ends
It was two totally different experiences for the Jaguars’ offensive tackles. Right tackle Cameron Bradfield (-6.0) struggled, as expected, against pass-rush specialist Cameron Wake. Left tackle Eugene Monroe (+4.0) had a stellar game going against far less talented rushers. Bradfield was whipped most of the day in what was by far his lowest graded game of the year. He allowed five QB hurries and was penalized twice while trying to contain Wake. The positive for Bradfield was that he kept Wake out of the sack column, which not many have done. Monroe, on the other hand, was steady and solid all game. He didn’t allow any form of pressure on passing downs, and was equally steady on minimal rushing attempts. Monroe has played every snap this season and has developed into a quality left tackle.
Rough Day for Mathis
Cornerback Rashean Mathis had a day to forget. Coming in mainly as the nickel back he played only 29 snaps, but that was more than enough to have a negative impact. Mathis (-5.5) was flagged three times, all of which generated first downs, either via his penalty or the result of the play. He also allowed three receptions on the four passes thrown his way, meaning that on 20.7% of the plays he was on the field he either allowed a reception or committed a penalty. To round out the poor performance, Mathis recorded a missed tackle in a tough day for the veteran.
Miami — Three Performances of Note
It’s been the year of the rookie quarterback, and Ryan Tannehill (+4.1) had one of his better games of the season. It wasn’t an explosive game, but it was extremely efficient and Tannehill made big throws when needed. He also showed off some of his running ability, scampering for 52 yards on eight carries. On the long drive to put the game away in the fourth quarter, Tannehill did a tremendous job of climbing the pocket and throwing a strike to tight end Anthony Fasano for a big gain. Another encouraging sign was Tannehill’s poise when he was blitzed. He stood strong and completed five of six passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns when blitzed, good for a QB rating of 149.3.
Defensive end Cameron Wake turned in another extremely impressive outing. Despite going sackless he was a force in the passing game all afternoon, finishing with five QB hurries and a QB hit. Wake (+5.4) was also an asset when asked to drop into coverage, knocking down a potential touchdown on the final drive. He was a force in the run game too, as he made two defensive stops and played most of the game in the Jacksonville backfield.
Reggie Bush is a maddening player to watch. On one play he makes cuts, breaks tackles and looks like an All-Pro running back. On the next play, he will miss a hole and force a run to the outside for no gain. Bush (-1.3) had a beautiful run for 53 yards that displayed all of his natural ability, and finished the game with 104 yards on 21 carries. However, that tells only half of the story because those numbers could have been much larger if not for some missed running lanes. Left guard Richie Incognito opened a few holes for Bush that were not utilized because Bush insisted on bouncing the play wide. Bush was also a non-factor in the passing game, being targeted just once and making zero receptions.
— Running back Marcus Thigpen has become the Dolphins’ slot receiver, playing a season-high 29 snaps, all from the slot.
— The Dolphins had two drives that totaled 16 minutes and 35 seconds. The Jaguars’ time of possession for the entire game was 24 minutes and 22 seconds.
— In his NFL debut, Jaguars’ guard Austin Pasztor played every snap and allowed one QB hit and one QB hurry
PFF Game Ball
Ryan Tannehill orchestrated two very impressive drives and played a very sound game to lead his team to victory, so he gets the game ball this week.
Follow John on Twitter: @PFF_Castellane