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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Heavy boos rained down from the Miami Dolphins fans still around in a half-empty Hard Rock Stadium late in the fourth quarter Sunday. Coach Adam Gase waved the proverbial white flag — punting on fourth-and-20 with a double-digit deficit — as his offense couldn’t get anything going. The Dolphins never touched the ball again.

In what was could be the last home game for several key Dolphins, it was an ugly way to go out — a 17-7 loss to an underachieving Jacksonville Jaguars team that was playing out the string.

The boos rang throughout the game — an obvious sign of displeasure with an offense that was flat-out hard to watch in every drive except for the first one — and they were loud again when the Dolphins walked off the field with the loss.

The Dolphins (7-8) failed to reach 200 total yards for the third time in four games and the fifth time this season. Injuries have mounted this season, but Sunday’s performance was certainly an indictment on everyone involved — especially on the offensive side of the ball.

After the first drive of the game, the Dolphins were completely ineffective on Sunday against the Jaguars. Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports
“It’s terrible. The offense was awful,” coach Adam Gase said. “It was brutal to watch. To be a part of.”

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who will have many decisions to make regarding change in the coming weeks, couldn’t have been happy with anything he saw on Sunday. Ross walked through the Dolphins’ side locker room door with his head down and exited directly out the adjacent door after the game.

In what has been a roller-coaster season for the Dolphins, Sunday’s loss was revealing. Miami isn’t close to being a legitimate contender, and changes could be coming.

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For much of the game, it felt like a matchup between two of the worst teams in football. Neither team could muster much of anything on offense. The Jaguars (5-10) flip-flopped between Cody Kessler and Blake Bortles, neither of whom are likely in the team’s long-term plans. The Dolphins defense notched a season-high six sacks, yet it didn’t matter.

The biggest story of the day was in a game that still had playoff implications, the Dolphins offense came out and laid an egg. They would have been eliminated anyway because of wins by the Patriots and Colts, but that didn’t make Sunday’s lackluster showing any better.

“They dominated us up front. We got sacked. We couldn’t run the ball. There were no holes. We were getting pushed back,” Gase said. “We just didn’t do a good job. We were bad.”

Hope simmered for weeks in Miami that there was still a playoff chance, but the air left that sail as Ryan Tannehill’s fourth-quarter pick-six essentially ended the game. Tannehill didn’t play well, either. Gase, long a Tannehill supporter, admitted that Sunday.

“Today was a rough day for him. I wish he would have played a little better. I wish he would have made a few more decisions that were different,” Gase said. “I think there’s been games that he’s played really well — and there’s been some games where we haven’t played well. And it’s as much on me as it is on him.”

Tannehill added: “We have to be cleaner, every position, starting with me.”

There will be many questions to answer, many decisions to make, and the next week certainly won’t be pleasant at Dolphins headquarters.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Beating the Pittsburgh Steelers has paid off for Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles in more ways than one.

Cincinnati Bengals fans have been donating money to the Blake Bortles Foundation as a way to say thank you for the Jaguars’ 45-42 victory last Sunday, which knocked one of the Bengals’ biggest rivals out of the playoffs. According to the Blake Bortles Foundation, more than 100 fans have donated close to $5,000 since the game ended.

“Fans are at the core of the football experience and it’s truly exciting and rewarding when they band together, regardless of the team they cheer for, to make a positive impact in the lives of others,” Bortles said in a statement. “I greatly appreciate the support displayed by Bengals fans and they should know their support will make a difference.”

Bortles threw for 214 yards and a touchdown and led two critical fourth-quarter touchdown drives. His touchdown pass was a 14-yarder to fullback Tommy Bohanon, which came on a play that Bortles checked to at the line of scrimmage.

According to the foundation, Cincinnati sports radio host Mo Egger encouraged Bengals fans to donate as a way to pay it forward. Buffalo Bills fans donated more than $300,000 to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s foundation (The Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation) in appreciation of the Bengal’s Week 17 victory over Baltimore, which gave the Bills a playoff berth for the first time since 1999.

Dalton threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd to give the Bengals the victory over the Ravens.

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PHILADELPHIA — In describing Jake Elliott’s 61-yard field goal against the New York Giants — an improbable game-winner that prompted some delirious teammates to carry the rookie off the field on their shoulders — Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson first pointed to what he heard.

“Sounded like a cannon off his foot,” he said.

It was that same sound that started Elliott down a twisting path that led to Philadelphia, where he’s become a folk hero overnight.

The story goes like this: Elliott attended a homecoming pep rally as a freshman at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois, and was randomly picked out of the stands to participate in a field goal kicking contest. He was a tennis player with no real kicking background, but when he made contact, it was like a thunderclap. Football coach Kurt Weinberg, interest piqued, told Elliott he should consider trying out for the team.

“I kind of just brushed it off and continued on with my life,” Elliott said.

Two years went by before the second knock on the door came. Elliott was on the tennis courts training for his junior season when one of the football coaches, in need of a kicker and remembering Elliott from the pep rally, came over and asked him to try some field goals.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that Jake Elliott’s game-winning 61-yard field goal “sounded like a cannon off his foot.” Matt Rourke/AP Photo
“And he said, ‘Come back tomorrow. Come back tomorrow if you want to play.’ I went home and thought it over and was like, ‘All right, whatever, I’ll do it.’ And it just kind of rolled from there.”

Brand new to the job, he booted a game-winning 52-yard field goal as time expired to lead his team past Oak Park River Forest — on homecoming, as fate would have it — and followed that up with a 47-yard game-winner the next week.

He went on to kick for the University of Memphis, where he broke Stephen Gostkowski’s school record for points scored (445). Gostkowski, the New England Patriots kicker, made it a point to come back to Memphis and work with Elliott.

“I got a chance to hang out with him a little bit and just kind of watch and observe and learn as much as I could from him,” he said.

Elliott graduated from Memphis with a degree in marketing management and was set to go out into the real world before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round.
Accuracy issues cost him the kicking competition with Randy Bullock this offseason. Elliott was cut, then signed to the Bengals’ practice squad. The Eagles plucked him after their kicker, Caleb Sturgis, suffered a quad injury in the opener against the Washington Redskins.

He has gone 8-for-10 in field goal tries since joining the Eagles, including, of course, the 61-yarder against the Giants. He followed that up with a 4-for-4 performance against the Chargers, all from 40-plus yards.

He says his size (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) keeps him from being noticed in public. He’s quickly become a household name in Philly, though, and all because of a pep rally field goal kicking contest.

“Yeah, you definitely gotta take a look back and just kind of realize how lucky I am and how thankful I am to be in the situation I’m in,” he said. “Looking back, it’s a lot of fun to remember that story and kind of go forward.”