Dolphins Win Preseason Opener

Ernest Wilford did virtually nothing as a wide receiver for the Dolphins last year, but as a tight end he provided the biggest play of the game in the Dolphins' preseason opener.

Wilford caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne in the third quarter for the only touchdown of the game in the Dolphins' 12-9 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Land Shark Stadium.

The defense made the lead stand up, thanks to interceptions by rookie draft picks Sean Smith and J.D. Folsom, as well as a late stand inside the Dolphins 10-yard line.

Jacksonville drove to a first-and-10 from the Miami 11-yard line, the defense stopped the Jaguars on third and fourth downs when Jason Allen and Courtney Bryan took turns breaking up passes.

On his touchdown, Wilford came in motion, ran down the left sideline and was left wide open. After catching the pass, he sidestepped a Jacksonville defender and strolled into the end zone.

The other Dolphins scoring came on field goals of 48 yards by Dan Carpenter and 27 yards by Connor Barth. The extra-point attempt after Wilford's touchdown failed when Carpenter slipped on the infield dirt and had his kick blocked.

Chad Pennington opened at quarterback for the Dolphins and played two series, going 4-for-7 for 38 yards.

After the Dolphins went three-and-out on their first series, they put together a nice drive later in the first quarter but it bogged down after an 11-yard run by Ricky Williams gave them a first-and-10 at the Jaguars 17-yard line.

Williams was flagged for holding on first down, a muffed exchanged between Pennington and Williams on first down resulted in a 5-yard loss, and Williams was dropped for a 2-yard loss on second down.

That forced the Dolphins to eventually settle for Carpenter's field goal.

The Dolphins should have had a touchdown in the first half, but Williams dropped a perfectly thrown pass from Henne in the corner of the end zone on third down.

"I thought we did a nice job executing in between the free-wheeling zone, but when we got down in the red area ... too many mistakes in the red area, which we cannot have," said Coach Tony Sparano.

Henne was to blame for the first turnover of the game, a third-quarter interception that led to a Jacksonville field goal.

Henne's pass for rookie tight end John Nalbone was throw behind him and went off a Jaguars defender before being picked off by cornerback Brian Witherspoon.

Rookie Pat White also was intercepted, but that came as the result of running back Anthony Kimble bobbling a pass into the hands of Jaguars defensive back Pete Ittersagen.

White was victimized by a couple of other dropped passes, but he helped seal the victory with a couple of runs for first downs after the defensive stand.


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