Miami Dolphins

Despite string of drops, Dolphins’ Gase sticks by rookie returner Grant

Jakeem Grant is great in the return game — if he can catch the ball.

Lately, that’s been a big if.

Grant mishandled his fourth punt or kickoff in the last three weeks Sunday — and was promptly relieved of punt-return duties for the rest of the afternoon. Jarvis Landry handled took over punt-return duties.

But Dolphins coach Adam Gase insisted that Grant, the rookie speedster, “will be back there next week” against the Ravens.

“It happens,” Gase continued. “It was a good decision by [special teams coordinator Darren] Rizzi, as far as what he felt like we needed to do for that game. Just like everything else, reload next week. Just keep getting him better. We just know what he can do when he gets in a rhythm and pops one of those.”

The Dolphins’ other rookie returner, Kenyan Drake, made the most of his limited opportunities Sunday. He broke off a 78-yard kickoff return in the second half.

Odds and ends

▪  The San Francisco 49ers limited Jay Ajayi to 45 yards on 18 carries — his lowest output since Week 5. Ajayi did score his seventh touchdown of the season.

▪  Kenny Stills’ 43-yard touchdown catch Sunday was third scoring reception of at least 40 yards in the last eight games.

▪  With the injuries to the Dolphins’ offensive line, center Jake Brendel made his Dolphins debut. Defensive end Nick Williams also played for the first time in aqua and orange.

▪  Sunday’s win was the Dolphins’ fourth straight at home, their longest streak in a single season since 2002.

▪  Dolphins inactives: tackle Branden Albert, tight end Thomas Duarte, cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Jordan Lucas, defensive tackle Leon Orr, center Mike Pouncey and guard/tackle Laremy Tunsil.

▪  Defensive end Mario Williams left the game with an illness and did not return.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

Related stories from Miami Herald