Dolphins Drop Preseason Opener

The Dolphins' new quarterbacks did an adequate job in Saturday night's preseason opener against Jacksonville, but it was a tough night for the team's new-look secondary. Four long touchdown passes — all 50 yards or longer — were the difference as Jacksonville left Dolphin Stadium with a 31-26 victory.

David Garrard's 62-yard touchdown pass to Chad Owens in the third quarter gave Jacksonville a 17-13 lead they never would relinquish. Maurice Jones-Drew later took a short pass from Garrard and scooted 55 yards for another score.

The Dolphins cut their 24-13 deficit in the fourth quarter when Cleo Lemon hit Jason Willis with a 21-yard touchdown pass, but the two-point conversion failed when Lemon was knocked out of bounds short of the goal line after rolling out.

But the Jaguars got another touchdown when they beat the Dolphins blitz with a short pass to tight end George Wrighster, who had nothing but open field in front of him and cruised to a 51-yard touchdown.

And the Jaguars earlier scored on a 50-yard pass from Byron Leftwich to Matt   Jones.

In fairness, Garrard had way too much time to throw on his TD pass, and that allowed Owens to get behind cornerback Shirdonya Mitchell.

On the first TD, Jones beat Will Allen with an in-and-out move, and on the last score Garrard avoided the blitz and threw to a wide open Jones-Drew, who turned it upfield and zig-zagged his way to the end zone.

The big story heading into the game, however, was the appearance of Daunte Culpepper in uniform.

Culpepper played one series, going 1-for-2 for 2 yards in a short drive that ended with an Olindo Mare field goal.

After the Dolphins defense held Jacksonville to a three-and-out, the first drive began at midfield and one first down, courtesy of three Ronnie Brown runs, led to a 52-yard field goal by Mare.

Culpepper's two passes were an overthrow over the middle on a pass intended for Chris Chambers over the middle and a swing pass to Randy McMichael on third-and-5 that gained only 2 yards.

Joey Harrington took over for Culpepper and threw a beautiful a18-yard pass to McMichael between four defenders for Miami's only touchdown of the game.

Harrington finished the game 10-of-19 for 99 yards and a solid passer rating of 85.2, but he also lost a ball while scrambling before recovering it and losing 2 yards on the play and then fumbled when he mis-handled a snap.

His touchdown pass came after Eddie Jackson intercepted a Leftwich pass off a deflection by Will Allen, who had great coverage on the play.

It turned to be one of the few highlights during a long night for the secondary.

Brock Berlin threw a short touchdown pass to Fred Gibson with nine seconds left to close out the scoring.


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