This was the pass rush the Miami Dolphins were hoping to see all season.
Consistent pressure on the quarterback. Multiple players making an impact at the same time.
And, most notably, sacks. A lot of sacks.
As in a season-high six sacks, an eye-popping number considering Miami entered Sunday’s game with just 24 through their first 14 games — the second-lowest total in the league entering Week 16.
But in the end, it was not enough to mask the lack of offensive production in Sunday’s 17-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a loss that eliminated the Dolphins from playoff contention.
“It’s terrible,” coach Adam Gase said when asked if his disappointment was magnified by the fact the the pass rush finally had a breakthrough game on yet another day when the offense couldn’t find the end zone. “I mean, the offense was awful. It was brutal to watch.”
Charles Harris, Miami’s first-round pick in 2017, recorded his first sack of the season near the end of the first quarter. Fellow defensive linemen Cameron Wake, Andre Branch and Robert Quinn each recorded a sack of the their own as well, as did rookie cornerback Jalen Davis.
The sixth, which the statbook counts as a team sack, came when Jaguars quarterback Cody Kessler mishandled a snap that was ultimately fumbled during a blitz. Branch recovered the ball at the Jacksonville 33-yard line, but the offense immediately went three-and-out before Jason Sanders hooked a 47-yard field goal attempt wide right.
That was the third of nine consecutive drives in which the offense failed to put up points. The Dolphins never made it into Jaguars territory after that or gained more than 20 yards on a single drive.
The defense, meanwhile, held Jacksonville to 244 yards of offense and just 10 points. Jacksonville’s final seven points came when Ryan Tannehill threw a pick-six to the Jaguars’ Telvin Smith.
“The defense played great,” said running back Kenyan Drake, who finished with 54 yards from scrimmage on 10 touches (six carries for 23 yards, four catches for 31 yards). “On the offensive side of the ball, we just didn’t get the job done.”
Wake, meanwhile, did not go as far as to point fingers. The defense made mistakes, too, he said. Otherwise, the Jaguars wouldn’t have scored at all.
“We’ve been put on the field and our job is to get off the field and get the ball back to [the offense],” Wake said. “There are plays to be had that we didn’t make. We were on the field at the end of the game, we could’ve given the ball back to them for another shot. As a defender, put the ball down wherever you put it down. Our job is to get the ball back, no points on the board. That’s the only way you can look at it.”