Dolphins, Fitzpatrick overcome slow start, defeat Jaguars 22-7
Flores says he's 'still evaluating' Fitzpatrick, Rosen in battle for No. 1 job
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick overcame a slow start to throw for 126 yards and a touchdown in Thursday night's third preseason game as the Dolphins defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 22-9 at Hard Rock Stadium.
Fitzpatrick went three-and-out in his first series but found his rhythm against Jacksonville's backups after halftime, going a perfect 7-of-7 for 93 yards in the third quarter, including an 8-yard pass to former Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton that put the Dolphins ahead for good.
The Dolphins (2-1) scored 16 unanswered points after trailing late in the second quarter.
Former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles made his Jaguars debut, completing his first pass for three yards. He left in the second quarter, finishing 6-of-10 for 48 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
The Jaguars (0-3) opened the scoring in the first quarter when Foles connected with Dede Westbrook on a 10-yard touchdown pass in the right corner of the end zone.
Westbrook's score came three plays after he was laid out by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, the No. 11 overall pick in last year's draft.
On the first play of the second quarter, Miami cornerback Eric Rowe intercepted a Foles pass intended for Westbrook, giving the Dolphins the ball at Jacksonville's 47-yard line.
Fitzpatrick found tight end Mike Gesicki on a 28-yard pass, and a roughing the passer call on Jacksonville defensive tackle Taven Bryan tacked on 10 more yards, putting the Dolphins in scoring position. But Miami was stymied in the red zone by the Jaguars defense, settling for a 40-yard field goal by Jason Sanders on fourth-and-goal.
"It was obviously very sloppy in the first half, had some third-down throws that I think I could have made better plays on," Fitzpatrick said.
Jaguars receiver D.J. Chark lost the ball on a kick return that Walton scooped up and returned 15 yards for a score, but the play was overturned on review after it was determined Chark's knee was down. Chark was injured on the play and taken into the locker room for evaluation. He didn't return to the game.
That was enough for Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, who has held out most of Jacksonville's starters this preseason. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew took over for Foles, but Jacksonville couldn't muster any points after Josh Lambo missed on a 55-yard field goal attempt.
The Dolphins went into halftime trailing by a point after Sanders booted a 46-yard field goal with 2:51 to go.
After Walton's touchdown reception gave the Dolphins a 12-7 lead, Sanders missed the extra-point attempt, but quarterback Josh Rosen took over at the 4:56 mark in the third quarter and led Miami on a 13-play, 99-yard scoring drive that lasted almost seven minutes, culminating with a 5-yard touchdown from running back Patrick Laird.
Sanders tacked on his third field goal of the night -- a 43-yarder -- with 3:30 remaining.
Fitzpatrick finished 18-of-12 passing, while Rosen was 5-of-7 for 59 yards.
"I'm just trying to handle my business and trying to make next week better than this week," Rosen said of his performance.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said after the game he's still evaluating whether Fitzpatrick or Rosen will be the starter for the regular-season opener.
"We're still evaluating both guys," Flores said. "If we feel like we need to see a little bit more, we'll do that. If we don't, then you'll see more of one or the other."
'I support Kenny'
Flores spoke candidly with reporters after the game about receiver Kenny Stills, who recently took team owner Stephen Ross to task for his support of President Donald Trump.
Stills took a knee during Thursday night's national anthem, part of an ongoing movement by NFL players in protest of social injustice in the country.
"I support Kenny," Flores said. "I support, you know, the player protests. I mean, quite honestly, you know, they're bringing attention to my story, so let's talk about that. I'm the son of immigrants. I'm black. I grew up poor. I grew up in New York during the stop-and-frisk era, so I've been stopped because I fit a description before. So everything that these guys protest, I've lived it. I've experienced it. So, yeah, I applaud those guys who protest. … I told Kenny that in our meeting, in front of the entire team."
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