Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lessons for Leftwich; Rookie QB Thwarted by Dolphins' D

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lessons for Leftwich; Rookie QB Thwarted by Dolphins' D

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

Unfortunately for Byron Leftwich, he doesn't get to face the San Diego Chargers every week.

Fresh off his memorable outing against the winless Chargers last week, the Jaguars' rookie quarterback saw yesterday what an NFL defense filled with Pro Bowl players looks like.

That defense brought Leftwich firmly back to earth during a 24-10 Miami victory at Alltel Stadium.

Hounding him at every turn, the Dolphins forced Leftwich into four turnovers -- three interceptions and a fumble -- that they converted into 10 points.

All the strides Leftwich appeared to make in his first two pro starts, including a 336-yard passing effort against San Diego, suddenly became an afterthought in the wake of the Jaguars' fifth loss in six games.

"We're trying to win now," coach Jack Del Rio said when asked to assess Leftwich's performance. "The bottom line is, we didn't play well enough to win. And I'm looking for wins."

Leftwich's mistakes yesterday raised his personal turnover total to eight in three starts and had the former Marshall standout kicking himself afterward.

"Any time you have that many turnovers and put your defense in the situation we put our defense in, you're not going to win many ballgames," Leftwich said.

Leftwich completed 24 of 42 passes for 256 yards yesterday but was sacked four times and finished with a 45.3 rating. It was the second time in three starts he finished with a rating below 50.

Leftwich overthrew receivers, had trouble holding onto the ball and showed little of the sharpness he displayed against San Diego.

Leftwich has passed for 823 yards in his first three starts, the third-most by a rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger, but that rang hollow to him yesterday.

"You have to fight through adversity, and we didn't do that today," Leftwich said. …

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