The last time the Miami Dolphins played against Calais Campbell, he ended Ryan Tannehill’s 2016 season.
Two years later, Campbell had a heavy hand in ending the Dolphins’ 2018 playoff hopes. The former Miami Hurricanes standout recorded a sack, three quarterback hits and forced and recovered a fumble to help the Jacksonville Jaguars defeat the Dolphins 17-7 at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
The biggest of his plays came late in the fourth quarter. With the Jaguars holding onto a 10-7 lead and the Dolphins trying to put together a game-tying or game-winning drive, Campbell rushed through the trenches on first and 15 and grabbed hold of Tannehill as he attempted to throw a pass to running back Kalen Ballage. Tannehill’s pass wobbled out. Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith jumped in front of the route, intercepted the pass and ran it back 33 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.
“I can’t speak for other players and what’s going on, but you can see [Tannehill] had to take something off the ball because Calais was right there,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “It was just enough off it where Telvin could step in front and make the pick, so I would say it was a big part of it.”
Campbell, a three-time Pro Bowler and the 2017 Pro Football Writers Association NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is having yet another solid season during his 11th year in the league. Heading into the final week of the season, Campbell has 65 tackles and nine sacks to bring his career totals to 633 and 80 respectively.
Defense plays without three starters
The Dolphins were handicapped right from the start on Sunday.
Miami played against the Jaguars without three of its defensive starters: Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard, safety T.J. McDonald and linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Howard and McDonald were announced as inactive pregame. Alsono, who was limited in practice all week while dealing with a hamstring injury, was active but did not play. Sunday marked just the second time Alonso missed a game during his three-year tenure with the Dolphins. The first came on Dec. 11, 2016, against the Arizona Cardinals.
Mike Hull started in Alonso’s place and finished with two tackles. Fellow starting linebackers Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker recorded 10 and three tackles, respectively.
Rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick started at safety for McDonald and tallied five tackles, including one for loss. Torrey McTyer started at boundary cornerback opposite Bobby McCain and also had five tackles.
The rest of the Dolphins’ inactives on Sunday: quarterback David Fales, guard Isaac Asiata, tackle Zach Sterup, defensive tackle Kendrick Norton and wide receiver Isaiah Ford.
This and that
▪ The Dolphins wore their throwback jerseys for the third consecutive game.
▪ Miami recorded less than 200 yards of total offense for the third time in the past four weeks and the fifth time overall this season.
▪ Even with the loss, the Dolphins finished their home slate 6-2, their best mark since going 7-1 in 2002.
▪ Punter Matt Haack set a Dolphins single-season franchise record by pinning 34 punts inside the 20-yard line. Brandon Fields previously held the record with 33 in 2013.