Dolphins shut down Jaguars with two picks for six
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins didn't even feel good about this victory.
The Dolphins got -- and maybe needed -- all kinds of help to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
Rookie Blake Bortles had two interceptions returned for touchdowns, the most costly of the mistakes that Miami used to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-13 on Sunday.
Coming off a 27-14 win at Chicago, Miami was overwhelmingly flat in its second straight road game and looked nothing like a potential playoff team facing a rebuilding squad filled with rookies and second-year players.
"We didn't perform up to our standards in any phase of the game offensively," Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "Defense played well. Defense made plays. I'm not happy about how we played offensively. It has to be better. We have to get this corrected."
The Dolphins (4-3) opened with three three-and-out possessions and gave up huge yardage to Jacksonville. But they led 7-0 after Delmas' 81-yard interception return in the second quarter, and 17-3 following Brent Grimes' 22-yarder in the third.
"I'm killing us," Bortles said. "I've got to try to eliminate different things and get better."
Tannehill's 3-yard touchdown pass to Rishard Matthews made it 24-6 late in the third quarter and gave the Dolphins a comfortable cushion in a game they could have easily trailed by double digits.
The Jaguars (1-7) dominated the first half, but trailed 10-3 at the break because of a slew of miscues. Bortles was the main culprit, continuing a trend that started when he took over the starting job last month.
Bortles had three turnovers Sunday, giving him six in the past two weeks and 13 in six games. Four of those have been interceptions returned for touchdowns.
He became the first quarterback since the New York Jets' Geno Smith last year to have two picks returned for TDs in the same game. Smith did it against Cincinnati, also in Week 8.
"We have to come back and truly attack these things because we can't continue in this fashion," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said.
At one point late in the first half, the Jaguars had outgained Miami 199-4. It didn't last.
Tannehill did just enough to get the Dolphins going and turned a close game into a lopsided affair.
Tannehill completed 16 of 29 passes for 196 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Mike Wallace had two receptions for 59 yards.
Lamar Miller ran 14 times for 78 yards.
"When we don't play well in the first half, we have these types of games and we can't afford to have that take place down the road," Dolphins guard Mike Pouncey said.
Jacksonville was without two starting defenders, linebacker Paul Posluszny and cornerback Alan Ball, but played well enough to win for the fourth consecutive week. The Jaguars gave up 326 yards.
But much like the previous losses, Jacksonville's offense did little good and too much bad.
Bortles was 18 of 34 for 221 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. He threw a 48-yard strike to Allen Robinson with 2:19 remaining.
"Obviously disappointed," Bortles said. "I'm not going to say I'm mad at myself `cause that's not going really going to help anything. Nobody cares, and it's not going to help me do anything. You've just got to learn from it. You've got to go figure it out, start watching film and find out what you can do to try to be better."
The Jaguars could have been up big early, but miscues kept it close. Josh Scobee had a field goal blocked and had a 46-yarder negated by a holding penalty.
The biggest momentum swing came after Bortles found Cecil Shorts III for an 18-yard gain to the 5. Shorts fumbled, and teammate Allen Hurns recovered at the 1. But the play was nullified by an illegal shift.
Bortles was picked off on the next play. Delmas stepped in front of a pass intended for tight end Nic Jacobs and went untouched the other way for a 7-0 lead.
Bortles had another head-scratching moment later in the second quarter. He scrambled up the middle and probably should have slid. Instead, linebacker Jelani Jenkins got a clean shot and forced a fumble that Delmas recovered. The Dolphins turned that into a field goal and a 10-3 lead.
The backbreaker for Jacksonville was Grimes' interception return early in the third.
"If it doesn't make you mad, then something is wrong with you," Bortles said.