Mike Mularkey said the Jaguars committed too many penalties Sunday. The Jaguars' head coach took the blame for that immediately, but one particularly important penalty . . .
Well, the Jaguars didn't exactly agree with it in the aftermath of a loss in Miami Sunday.
The penalty in question turned the game's momentum, and came with the Jaguars and Dolphins tied 3-3 in the second quarter. One play after a Miami turnover, quarterback Chad Henne passed to rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon for an apparent 20-yard touchdown.
But as the teams lined up for the extra point, officials ruled that offensive tackle Guy Whimper had failed to report as eligible before lining up at tight end.
The ruling took away the touchdown.
"Guy has reported to officials 100 times in games and 400 times in practice," Mularkey said after the Jaguars (2-12) lost to the Dolphins 24-3 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., Sunday.
"Today, for some reason, I was told he did not report. I have to go with what the call was."
Mularkey said Whimper told him he reported to the official and Whimper said the same after the game. Whimper, who routinely lines up as a tight end in "heavy" packages for the Jaguars, said he made eye contact with the official while indicating himself as eligible by waiving his hands in front of his chest.
He said he believed the official acknowledged he had reported.
"He was looking right at me," Whimper said. "I was very shocked. Our field-goal team was already lined up. That's when the flag got dropped."
The Jaguars' drive ended when Henne was stopped on a sneak on 4th-and-1 from the Miami 11, and the Dolphins drove for a touchdown and a 10-3 lead on the ensuing possession.
"I know this has done that a lot," Mularkey said. "He has to do a better job of it. That was a big momentum change in the game."
The Jaguars committed 10 penalties for 88 yards Sunday.
PLAY OF THE GAME
For the Jaguars, it came defensively and came in the second quarter. On 2nd-and-10 from the Dolphins 31, Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill was pressured quickly and Jaguars defensive tackle Tyson Alualu grabbed his legs. As Tannehill began to fall, defensive end Jason Babin hit him from behind, forcing a fumble that Alualu recovered. It was the second forced fumble in as many weeks for Babin, playing his third game since being acquired off waivers. The play gave the Jaguars an opportunity to take a 10-3 lead, a chance that slipped away with the nullified touchdown and when the Jaguars failed to convert on 4th-and-1 from the 11.
The Jaguars took a 3-0 lead when kicker Josh Scobee capped the opening drive with a 37-yard field goal. Dan Carpenter tied it for the Dolphins with a 53-yard field goal on the ensuing possession.
Miami took a 10-3 halftime lead when Tannehill passed four yards to fullback Jorvorskie Lane with 1:56 remaining in the half. The Jaguars had outgained the Dolphins 147-109 in the half, but Jacksonville missed a chance with the nullified touchdown on the Whimper penalty.
The Dolphins dominated the third quarter, outgaining the Jaguars 200-31 and allowing one first down. That came after the Jaguars failed to register a first down in the third quarter last week. By the end of the third quarter Sunday, the Dolphins had added six points to the lead and taken control of the game's momentum.
The Jaguars squandered a second red zone opportunity early in the quarter when running back Montell Owens was stopped on 4th-and-1 from the 15. The Dolphins clinched the victory on the ensuing possession when Tannehill passed two yards to tight end Anthony Fasano for the game's final touchdown.
"He (Henne) is as much of a competitor as I've been around. He's scrappy. He fights to give us a chance. We were going to have a fight up front with our offensive line and their defensive line. I thought for the most part they held up, but there was pressure up front. We had a chance to make some plays and we didn't."
QB CHAD HENNE SAYS
"It (playing in Miami after starting for the Dolphins in 2009-2010) was a fun experience. Obviously, you want to come out and win, I thought our guys fought hard. Overall, it was a good atmosphere."
STAT OF THE GAME
The Jaguars allowed the Dolphins 180 yards rushing, that coming in the wake of a loss to the Bills two weeks ago when the Jaguars allowed 242 yards rushing and a loss to the Jets last week then the Jaguars allowed 166 yards. The Jaguars did a solid job on Reggie Bush and the Dolphins in the first half, but Bush's 53-yard run early in the second half set the tone for the rest of the game.
This essentially was the penalty on Whimper for failing to report, but it was actually the entire end of the second quarter. The penalty on Whimper nullified the touchdown, but not only did the Jaguars not score a touchdown, they failed to take the lead in point-blank range. Henne was stopped for no gain on a sneak from the Dolphins 11, and after that, the Dolphins drove 89 yards on 14 plays, taking the lead on Tannehill's 4-yard pass to Lane.
The Jaguars did not sustain any reported injuries Sunday. Andre Branch was deactivated shortly before the game after sustaining a hamstring injury in practice Friday. Mularkey said he did not originally expect the injury to cause Branch to miss time, but said Sunday he could miss two weeks.
The Jaguars play host to the New England Patriots Sunday.
Another week, another disappointing result. And for a second time in as many weeks, the game completely turned in the third quarter. A week ago, the Jets erased a 3-0 deficit and led 10-3 by the end of the quarter. On Sunday, the Dolphins led by seven points at halftime, but dominated the game in the third quarter and essentially clinched the victory entering the fourth. Far too often this season the Jaguars have competed early only to have something go against them and have the game turn dramatically thereafter. This week? Same story.