What a difference a win makes in the world of the Jacksonville Jaguars! Two weeks ago the team opened the regular season with a 20-9 loss to the visiting Carolina Panthers. Several offensive miscues and two missed kicks equaled the lowest scoring performance of any team for week one and the frustration was felt from the franchise and city wide. That frustration turned to worry quickly as the area braced for the arrival of the highly touted Miami Dolphins who most everyone believed would dominate, everyone except for the Jags players and coaches who came out on Sunday ready to regain their momentum and silence their many critics. The tone of the game, the intensity and most importantly the swagger and confidence of the team was night and day from the week prior as the offense took the ball down and scored a touchdown on their first drive and did so in convincing fashion showing a great combination of the run and the pass culminating in a 3yd touchdown reception by game MVP Allen Robinson the second year wide receiver from Penn State who had a career day finishing with 6 catches for 155yds and two touchdowns. Robinson made one of his four spectacular catches three plays earlier when he went up and snagged a 36yd pass that set the Jags up at the Dolphins 11yd line.
The offense would continue to put up points throughout the first half with Robinson hauling in a 46yd touchdown late in the 2nd quarter which would have been the play of the game if much maligned rookie kicker Jason Myers had stolen the spot with his mega clutch 58yd field goal as time expired in the first half. 58yds is the second longest field goal in team history with Myers lining up on the Jaguars midfield logo before running up and striking a kick that bounced in from the middle of the crossbar adding to the novelty and excitement of the play and the moment. Meanwhile the Dolphins offense managed to keep pace with the newly found big play offense of the Jags. Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was impressive behind center racking up over 350 yards on the day and 2 touchdowns but he and his offensive unit earned every one of those passing yards as the jags defense refused to give up the big play.
The second half was a much different story as the jags offense took a backseat to the jags defense. Against the panthers in week one, the defense did everything they could for three quarters before finally becoming gassed in the fourth as Cam Newton ate away at the game clock until the final whistle. This week the Jags offensive dominance in the first half kept the defense from suffering that same fate again. The Dolphins would ty the game on the first drive of the second half on a five yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to his tight end Jake Stoneburner, which tied the game at 20-20, but to everyone’s surprise those would be the last points the Dolphins scored all day.
The fourth quarter was a back and forth struggle between the two teams and with only 1:46 remaining in the game, Bortles and the offense took over at their own 24 and immediately moved the ball 18yds on a throw and catch from Bortles to Marquise Lee who saw his first action of the season on Sunday and finished with 2 catches for 27yds. Two plays later Bortles would find Allen Hurns for a 19yd gain. A run up the middle with just 1:06 left on the clock would turn out to be the game sealing play as Miami defensive end Olivier Vernon was flagged for Unnecessary Roughness for a late push on Jaguars reserve tight end Clay Harbor who admitted to doing “a little acting” on the play which gave the Jags another 15yds and set up Jason Myers 28yd game winning field goal that left just :40 seconds on the clock for the dolphins who fell to 1-1 the same record as the Jaguars who are now tied for first place in the AFC South Division with the Tennessee Titans.
The Jags will need to build off of this performance as the road for another victory gets even harder this week as the team travels to Foxboro, Mass to face the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Kickoff is at 1pm this Sunday.