Noah Igbinoghene gets first start of season with top cornerbacks out vs. Jaguars

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Noah Igbinoghene had become somewhat of a forgotten man in the cornerback room after struggling in the 2020 season and a healthy scratch in four of the Dolphins’ first five games in 2021.

But with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones ruled out because of respective injuries, Igbinoghene, the No. 30 overall pick in last year’s draft, made his first start since Week 4 of the 2020 season.

Igbinoghene played all 62 of the defensive snaps in the team’s 23-20 loss in London on Sunday. He finished with four total tackles. He was in coverage on quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. He was also in coverage on a 20-yard completion to Jones on third-and-8 on the game-winning drive.

The Dolphins had expected to play the Jaguars without Howard, ruled out on Friday with a lingering shoulder and groin injury.

But they were without their high-priced cornerback tandem as Jones was ruled inactive because of an Achilles and groin injury. Jones was limited in practice through the week and listed as questionable to play.

Brian Flores said after the game that the team worked out Jones before the game but didn’t feel he was physically ready to play.

Miami had five cornerbacks active: Igbinoghene, Justin Coleman, Nik Needham, Trill Williams and Elijah Campbell. Coleman started alongside Igbinoghene on the outside and Needham started in the slot. Entering Sunday’s game, Igbinoghene, Williams and Campbell haven’t played a single defensive snap.

Wide receiver Preston Williams and DeVante Parker were also ruled inactive because of injuries. The top receivers for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, playing his first game since fracturing his ribs in Week 2, were Jaylen Waddle, Albert Wilson, Mack Hollins, Kirk Merritt and Isaiah Ford. Merritt and Ford were elevated from the practice squad for the game. Waddle had a team-high 10 catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

The Dolphins also deactivated third-stringer Reid Sinnett, offensive tackle Greg Little and tight end Adam Shaheen (knee). Jacoby Brissett backed up Tagovailoa after being listed as questionable because of a hamstring injury.

Wilkins sacks former teammate Lawrence

Lawrence and Dolphins defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, teammates at Clemson, had a fun back-and-forth in the lead-up to Sunday’s game. Lawrence said Wilkins was “annoying” but added that he was “one of my favorite people.”

Asked about the comments on Friday, Wilkins joked that Lawrence’s comments were a fair assessment. In Sunday’s game, the two former Tigers were pitted against each other for the first time in their NFL careers and Wilkins often spent time talking to Lawrence following plays.

After years of not being able to hit Lawrence in practice, Wilkins strip-sacked him in the third quarter and defensive lineman Zach Sieler recovered the football. It was a crucial play, with the Dolphins trailing 17-13 and the Jaguars in scoring position. It also marked the first forced turnover since the team’s streak of 26 consecutive games with a takeaway ended in the Week 5 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It’s definitely good, I kind of said that to him on the field,” Wilkins said after the game. “It’s crazy, we’re here, we are in the NFL, we are in London playing against each other and who ever would have thought. And I’m pretty sure he still thinks I’m annoying. Pretty sure he would say that after this game. We are definitely just blessed to play this game at a high level, and to be here, as well.”

This and that

  • Waddle caught two touchdown passes, joining Jarvis Landry, Brandon Marshall, Melvin Baker and Chris Chambers as the only Dolphins rookies to catch multiple touchdowns in a game.

  • The Dolphins moved to 1-4 in London games. Their sole victory came in 2014, a 38-14 win over the then-Oakland Raiders.

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