Ryan Fitzpatrick Shines, Gardner Minshew Struggles as Dolphins Top Jaguars 31-13

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

The Miami Dolphins won their first game of the year by defeating the host Jacksonville Jaguars 31-13 on Thursday at TIAA Bank Field.

Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 18 of 20 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a one-yard score. James Robinson paced the Jaguars offense with two rushing touchdowns, six catches and 129 yards from scrimmage.

The Dolphins and Jaguars now have matching 1-2 records.

Notable Performances

Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: 18-of-20, 160 passing yards, 2 TD; 7 carries, 38 rushing yards, 1 TD

Dolphins RB Myles Gaskin: 22 carries, 66 rushing yards; 5 receptions, 29 receiving yards

Dolphins WR DeVante Parker: 5 receptions, 69 receiving yards

Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew II: 30-of-42, 275 passing yards, 1 INT; 3 carries, 22 rushing yards

Jaguars RB James Robinson: 11 carries, 46 rushing yards, 2 TD; 6 receptions, 83 receiving yards

Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr.5 receptions, 33 receiving yards; 1 carry, 1 rushing yard

Fitzmagic Reigns in Jacksonville

Fitzpatrick couldn’t have been much better Thursday and nearly tossed the quarterback’s equivalent of a perfect game with just two incompletions out of his 20 attempts.

The 37-year-old and 16-year NFL veteran who is with his eighth team carved up the Jags secondary en route to Miami’s first win.

He started the game with 11 straight completions, including a three-yard touchdown pass to Preston Williams and an 11-yard score to Mike Gesicki:


Fitzpatrick delivers a strike to Preston Williams for an opening drive TD! #FinsUp

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Fitz is on FIRE.

11-for-11 including this dart to Mike Gesicki for another TD! #FinsUp 21-7.

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That streak set a personal best for Fitzpatrick, who was making his 142nd career start:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently 11-of-11 passing, his most attempts without an incompletion to start a game in his career.

His previous best was 8-of-8

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s longest career completion streak is 13. https://t.co/r0tpw5PVHs

The veteran was also an asset on the ground thanks to his 38 rushing yards on seven carries:


Fitzpatrick has wheels. #FinsUp

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Fitzpatrick scored his third touchdown on this one-yard run:


Another Ryan Fitzpatrick touchdown! #FinsUp 28-7.

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He joined an elite club thanks to his wheels (and remarkable longevity):

NFL Research @NFLResearch

Tonight is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 3rd game with 25+ rush yards and 1+ rush TD at age 35+

The only players in the Super Bowl era with more such games at that age are Hall of Famers Marcus Allen, John Riggins, Emmitt Smith & Steve Young

ESPN’s Mina Kimes joked about Fitzpatrick’s tenure, but one has to wonder whether this could actually be the case:

Mina Kimes @minakimes

inspiring: a young boy somewhere is watching this game….and when he’s drafted in ten years he’s gonna have to wait on the bench for Ryan Fitzpatrick to give up a starting QB job

And ESPN’s Pat McAfee facetiously provided his MVP vote:

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

I mean.. is Ryan Fitzpatrick a sleeper MVP pick at this point

Overall, Fitzmagic is alive and well right now after a dominant Week 3 win.

Almost Nothing Goes Right for Jaguars

The Jags entered Thursday off the heels of two impressive games: a 27-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts and a close 33-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans, last year’s AFC runner-up.

They were three-point favorites over the winless Dolphins but struggled mightily on both sides of the ball en route to a three-score loss.

Considering how well Jacksonville played against two tough divisional opponents to start the season, it was a surprising result for the Jags, and Mike Clay of ESPN compared the team’s Week 3 result to its first two games:

Mike Clay @MikeClayNFL

The Jaguars beat the Colts and nearly beat the Titans. This is obviously a major letdown.

On offense, starting quarterback Gardner Minshew II struggled, completing 30 of 42 passes for just 275 yards, an interception and 6.5 yards per attempt. He also fumbled the ball on a sack from Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy, helping set Miami up at the Jacksonville 5-yard line up 21-7 late in the third:


Kyle Van Noy with the strip sack and fumble recovery! @KVN_03 #FinsUp

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Bucky Brooks of NFL Network commented on Minshew’s night:

Bucky Brooks @BuckyBrooks

Minshew has tried to do too much all night. He’s uncomfortable in the pocket and his jitters have impacted his judgment. Too many attempted “hero” plays.. Too many misses on open throws.. Too many mental mistakes.. Not a good look for the @Jaguars QB1 tonight #DUUUVAL

There were some bright spots for the Jags. Running back James Robinson scored two touchdowns, leading Dane Brugler of The Athletic to wonder how he ended up undrafted:

Dane Brugler @dpbrugler

Still trying to make sense of RB James Robinson going undrafted.

Proven workhorse in college with vision and determination. I graded him as a 4th rounder and he’s playing better than that. #Jaguars

And the Jags clearly have a well-rounded and promising pass-catching corps. Even without injured No. 1 wideout DJ Chark Jr., a few Jacksonville wideouts made some plays, including Keelan Cole Sr. and rookie Laviska Shenault Jr., who is already creating some buzz. 

#DUUUVAL @Jaguars


@Air4Cole | #DUUUVAL

Watch live: https://t.co/RHvUC50Myv https://t.co/vr36C0Tcu8


Laviska Shenault Jr. is TOUGH. #DUUUVAL @Viska2Live

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However, the Jaguars defense could not stop Miami’s Fitzpatrick-led offense, with Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL/92.5 FM Radio and John Reid of the Florida Times-Union providing commentary:

Hays Carlyon @HaysCarlyon

Dolphins score again. My God this is the worst I’ve ever seen the #Jaguars start a game on defense (and I’ve seen a lot of bad since 2013).

Hays Carlyon @HaysCarlyon

The Dolphins have 17 first downs. The #Jaguars have run 13 plays.

John Reid @JohnReid64

Jaguars defensive mistakes piling up by the minute = Miami goes up 21-7 after Gesicki 15-yard TD catch. CJ Henderson having a rough night – misread the play came up instead of staying back.

Basically, everything that could go wrong for the Jaguars did, perhaps culminating in a questionable ejection of left tackle Cam Robinson after he accidentally made contact with an official while trying to free himself from a pile-up:

StaceyDales @StaceyDales

If I’m under a pile of men in an NFL game and anybody touches me… how could I know who it is?!?! How can you disqualify him from play?! Cam Robinson should still be playing. Wow.

Brent Martineau @BrentASJax

Weak call on Cam Robinson. Didn’t look like any intent and probably didn’t know that was arm of official.

Ben Volin @BenVolin

Oh come on. Ejecting Cam Robinson for that???

In the end, Thursday was a night to forget for the Jags, and now they’ll look to get back in the win column in Week 4.

What’s Next?

Both teams play next on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. ET.

Miami will host the Seattle Seahawks at Hard Rock Stadium, and Jacksonville will visit the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

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