After the Eagles' best first quarter of the season, one in which they gained 146 total yards and outscored Miami 16-3, things cooled down. After a shaky second quarter, Philadelphia is clinging to a 16-13 lead. Here are some takeaways so far:
Special Teams Have Been The Difference
Caleb Sturgis' first game as an Eagle didn't go as the third-year placekicker hoped it would. The 26-year-old missed an extra point and a 33-yard field goal in the critical 23-20 road loss to Washington in Week 4, but head coach Chip Kelly stuck with the young kicker. Since then, he's been largely automatic, nailing 12 of his 13 attempted field goals, with his only miss coming on a 50-yard attempt in Carolina in Week 7. But against his former team, the Dolphins, Sturgis shanked a 32-yarder, the result of a low snap and late hold by long snapper Jon Dorenbos and punter Donnie Jones.
Later in the quarter, another special teams miscue hurt Philadelphia, as the Eagles allowed linebacker Zach Vigil to run free into the backfield. The ball was blocked by Vigil and knocked out of bounds at the Philadelphia 12. Two plays later, the Dolphins scored their first touchdown of the game, trimming the deficit to 16-13 with 5:52 left until halftime.
Stagnant Running Game Hurt Eagles In The Second Quarter
In the first quarter, Sam Bradford completed seven of his eight passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, earning a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He followed that up with another strong performance in the second, going 9-of-12 for 90 yards, but Philadelphia gained just 8 yards on the ground in the quarter after rushing for 40 in the in the first and were unable to put any points on the board. DeMarco Murray's rushed 12 times for 48 yards (4.0 yards per attempt), but Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles have combined for 0 yards on six carries so far.
Dolphins Offense Heating Up, But Philadelphia Holding Its Own
In the first quarter, the Eagles' defense held the Dolphins to just 67 yards of total offense on three drives, scoring three points in the process. On Miami's first drive of the second quarter, they more than doubled that total, driving 74 yards down to the Philadelphia 4-yard line before settling for their second field goal of the game.
On their next possession, the Dolphins took advantage of the aforementioned short field created by Zach Vigil's blocked punt. Miami scored from 13 yards out on a well-designed crossing pattern on its second play from scrimmage. But on the Dolphins' final two drives of the first half, they mustered just 10 total yards on eight plays, punting twice.
At halftime, the Eagles lead 16-13 and get the ball to start second half.
The Eagles returned home to face the Dolphins in Week 10 of the regular season. View the full gallery here...