Published November 20, 2014
Chad Henne probably wishes he could play every game in Jacksonville.
Eight months after picking apart the Jaguars in the regular season, Henne did it again in a preseason game Saturday night. Henne completed 11 of 14 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and the Dolphins beat the Jaguars 27-26 in a game delayed 1 hour, 45 minutes by a thunderstorm.
Henne made Jacksonville's revamped unit look like it needs more tweaking.
"I thought Chad made some good decisions," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "I felt like he had pretty good rhythm."
Henne struggled in the rain and mud last week against Tampa Bay, completing five of 11 passes for 19 yards. He found himself in similar conditions this week, but played considerably longer and better.
He was equally efficient in Jacksonville last December, when he completed a franchise-record 17 consecutive passes in a 14-10 victory.
Although Henne was sacked on his first play Saturday — Jaguars newcomers Tyson Alualu and Aaron Kampman combined on the tackle — he rebounded and led the Dolphins (2-0) on three straight scoring drives.
Henne got Miami to the 6-yard line, but Gerald Alexander batted down his third-down pass at the goal line. The Dolphins settled for a field goal, but Henne was just getting started.
He hooked up with Anthony Fasano for a 55-yard TD play on the next possession, then found Fasano again for an 11-yard score. Fasano got a big block from receiver Brandon Marshall on the long reception. Marshall took out two defenders on the play, springing Fasano for an untouched sprint to the end zone.
Marshall finished with four catches for 65 yards. He also dropped one, giving him three in two preseason games.
"I thought he did a great job out here blocking," Sparano said. "That was really an unselfish play. Those guys have done a good job. We are a little bit more efficient right now, but we have got a ways to go."
Backup Chad Pennington kept Miami rolling. He found Marshall down the sideline for a 37-yard gain, then hooked up with Ronnie Brown for a 10-yard score with 37 seconds remaining in the first half. That put Miami ahead 24-12.
It was nothing new for Jacksonville.
The Jaguars (0-2) were handled early last week in Philadelphia. The Eagles scored on four of their first five possessions, with the lone miss coming because Michael Vick fumbled near the goal line.
Jacksonville played its opener without defensive starters Daryl Smith, Kampman and Alualu. All three returned Saturday. Kampman, the team's top free agent acquisition, and Alualu, the 10th overall pick, made an impact on their first play. They combined to bring down Henne just outside the goal line. Rashad Jennings blocked a punt for a safety to give Jacksonville an early lead.
From there, though, the Dolphins did just about anything they wanted. They racked up 245 yards and 11 first downs in the first half.
"We are still trying to get that cohesiveness on defense," Jaguars linebacker Kirk Morrison said. "Guys are going in and out. We got hit pretty hard with injuries and we have to make sure we get everybody out there as soon as possible and get everybody on the same page."
It wasn't all bad for Jacksonville.
David Garrard completed six of eight passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. He hooked up with Mike Sims-Walker for 35 yards, then again for 22 more. Those helped set up Garrard's 2-yard TD pass to Mike Thomas.
"That is what we are going to be doing all year long," Garrard said.
It turned out to be Garrard's lone highlight.
Garrard got the wind knocked out of him on Jacksonville's next possession and didn't return.
"I was trying to get my breath back, but then it made my head light trying to get back up so I told myself I wasn't going to get up to try and run another play," Garrard said. "I wasn't really hurt, but I just couldn't get my breath back."
Despite how Garrard's night ended, it was better than last week. Garrard was 5 of 10 for 35 yards against the Eagles. He played without offensive tackle Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton and was plagued by two dropped passes on third down.
"I know last week we didn't make some of those plays, but when you see the ball get out on time and it gets in their hands they are going to make the plays," Garrard said. "I know there was a lot of frustration around the city, but that is to be expected when you don't do very much."
The Jaguars scored two touchdowns in the second half. Brock Bolen caught a 3-yard pass from Luke McCown in the third quarter, then scored on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1 with about 5 minutes remaining. Fans booed when Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio called for the extra point instead of a trying a tying 2-point conversion.