Dolphins fool Jaguars early by passing in run situations

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The Dolphins came into Sunday’s London game with the Jaguars hoping that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could return to form after the fractured ribs that caused him to miss most of Miami’s Week 2 loss to the Bills, and all of the Dolphins’ subsequent losses to the Raiders, Colts, and Buccaneers. Tagovailoa would do so without the efforts of receivers DeVante Parker and Preston Williams, and tight end Adam Shaheen. So, it would be up to the coaching staff to make things more interesting schematically, which they were able to do early on against the Jaguars’ beleaguered defense. Specifically, using RPO concepts, and flipping the script to give Tagovailoa opportunities to throw the ball in what might be deemed run situations.

As Kouffman also pointed out, this kind of run-pass stuff is common in Miami’s offense, probably because Tua was so successful with it in college. They did it late in their Week 1 win over the Patriots on a first-and-14 play, in which a quick pass from Tagovailoa to DeVante Parker netted 13 yards, and put Miami in a second-and-1 situation with less than three minutes left in the game. Running back Malcolm Brown converted on a direct snap on the next play, and the Dolphins were able to run out the clock for a 17-16 victory. The Patriots play is a but different with two pullers, and the field position obviously paints a different picture, but it’s a neat way to maximize Tagovailoa’s expert touch with such concepts.

With 1:55 left in the first quarter and the Dolphins up 7-3, Miami had third-and-1 from the 50-yard line. They brought in quarterback Jacoby Brissett, their quarterback sneak specialist and Tagovailoa backup, so you’d expect a QB run play here. The Jaguars seemed to.

Instead, the call was to hit tight end Mike Gesicki with a 25-yard pass on a crosser, while several Jacksonville defenders followed Brissett’s target in vain.

And then, on fourth-and-2 from the Jacksonville 30-yard line, and the Jaguars playing man across looking to defend the run, Tagovailoa hit receiver Mack Hollins for a 20-yard gain. Again, Jacksonville’s hapless defense was… well, hapless.

The Dolphins went into halftime with a 13-10 lead, and they should come back out with the same sort of plan — get that bad defense reading run, and then, get some real estate downfield with the passing game.