<
>

Dolphins' D clamps down Leftwich, Jags

10/13/2003

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Even without any props, the
Jacksonville Jaguars looked silly Sunday.

The Miami Dolphins did the work all by themselves, getting
unorthodox scoring plays courtesy of Jay Fiedler and Randy
McMichael and dominating performances from defensive ends Jason
Taylor and Adewale Ogunleye to defeat the Jaguars 24-10.

Question on the Dolphins: Can the Dolphins keep winning if Williams is kept in check?
Yes. If Williams is able to get his carries, the Dolphins are able to tire the opposing defense while resting theirs. It also allows the Dolphins to play the type of ball control, smash-mouth defense they need to win games.

Question on the Jaguars: Were you surprised that they played Miami so tight?
Not really, because the Dolphins don't have the personnel to blow teams out. QB Byron Leftwich had a good game but cost this team a possible upset with his three interceptions.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

"This is how we should be playing," Taylor said. "This isn't
anything new to us."

Their methods of scoring sure were unique, though.

Fiedler threw a beautiful cut block to spring Ricky Williams for
a touchdown, and McMichael scooped up a fumble for the go-ahead TD.
It was all part of a strange-looking victory for the Dolphins
(4-1), who won despite a team-record 149 yards in penalties.

The penalties would have been enough to sink most teams, but not
against the Jaguars (1-5), who blew a decent chance at an upset and
wound up with yet another ax to grind.

The loss closed out a week during which Jacksonville became a
source of national ridicule. Punter-holder Chris Hanson was lost
for the season after he gashed open his leg while using an ax to
chop the log coach Jack Del Rio put in the locker room to inspire
the team.

Del Rio wanted to drive home the message to "keep chopping
wood." Now he'll have a bye week to conjure up a new mantra and
try to move beyond one of the most bizarre, embarrassing episodes
in NFL history.

"I'm not even going there," Del Rio said when asked how
Hanson's loss affected the kicking game. "It's an unfortunate
accident. We're looking forward to him getting healthy. We're not
looking back."

Even though they won, the Dolphins probably don't want to dwell
on this game, either. Their offense sputtered, and they found
themselves in a 10-10 tie deep in the game after rushing to a 10-0
lead in just 12 minutes.

McMichael's touchdown with 11:29 left put them ahead 17-10, and
the game wasn't secure until Sam Madison returned a Byron Leftwich
interception 29 yards for a score with 1:28 remaining.

But Madison wasn't the defensive star of this game.

That honor was split between Taylor, the two-time Pro Bowler,
and Ogunleye, a third-year veteran out of Indiana. Ogunleye
finished with three sacks, two pass deflections and a forced
fumble. Taylor, who came in without a full sack this season,
finished with a sack, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a
hit on Leftwich's arm that resulted in an interception by Jeff
Zgonina.

The Dolphins scored a field goal off Zgonina's pick to go up
10-0. Moments earlier, Miami took the lead when Williams got
bottled up on a sweep, completely reversed field, then used a
devastating -- and legal -- cut block from Fiedler for a 14-yard
score.

Fiedler dove right at Tony Brackens' knees, and upended him so
badly that he felt compelled to go to the defensive end after the
play to ask if he was OK.

"I wasn't going to take him up high, and knew I better go down
low," said Fiedler, who played for the Jaguars in 1999.

The block was Fiedler's best play on a day in which he went
14-for-27 for 147 yards. Williams ran for 75 yards on 19 carries.

Miami took the lead for good early in the fourth thanks to a
heads-up play by McMichael, who grabbed Obafemi Ayanbadejo's fumble
at the Jacksonville 2 and ran a few more feet for the cheap TD.

Del Rio challenged the play, saying Ayanbadejo was down, but the
replay showed he wasn't.

"If his knee had been down, maybe we stop them, and it's a
whole different game," said Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith (six
catches, 65 yards). "But had we not turned the ball over all day,
it's a different game, too."

The Jaguars committed five turnovers, which led to 17 Miami
points.

"I wanted to cry on the sidelines," Fred Taylor said,
referring to his first-quarter fumble that led to Miami's first
score.

Making his third career start, Leftwich showed what an
up-and-down season this could be for him. After a near-flawless
336-yard performance against San Diego last week, he went 24-for-42
for 256 yards with three interceptions and four sacks. He also ran
8 yards for his first career touchdown to tie the game at 10 late
in the third quarter.

Game notes
Jaguars CB Jason Craft strained a knee ligament and left
the game in the second half. ... Williams scored his first two
career touchdowns at Alltel Stadium in Week 11 of 1999, when he was
with the Saints. ... Del Rio went 0-for-2 on replay challenges. ...
Former Dolphin Mark Royals punted once for 42 yards in place of
Hanson. Del Rio said Royals' hold had nothing to do with Seth
Marler's miss from 31 yards.