Ryan Fitzpatrick upsets the Eagles again in Florida.
Last season, the veteran quarterback commandeered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an early-season win over the Eagles. On Sunday in Miami, in front of a pro-Eagles crowd, Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns as the Dolphins overcame a 28-14 third-quarter deficit to beat the Eagles 37-31.
Let's get to the nitty gritty in the Game Recap.
Big Picture Outlook
The Eagles are now 5-7 and 0-3 since the bye week. They remain a game behind Dallas for first place in the NFC East. Philadelphia has four games remaining, all against division rivals beginning with a Monday night showdown against the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on December 9.
As bleak as the outlook is, the offense got back on track with the return of Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor to the lineup. The defense that had been among the league's best in the month of November wilted under the South Florida sun. Miami scored 23 consecutive points in the second half. After starting with an interception and two punts, the Dolphins' offense scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives (not including an end-of-half kneeldown. The only other time the Dolphins punted for the remainder of the game was after milking the clock in the game's final minute.
With 5:48 remaining in the third quarter, tight end Zach Ertz had an uncharacteristic drop of a second-and-7 pass over the middle from quarterback Carson Wentz which would have put the Eagles in a goal-to-go situation. Wentz was sacked on the next play for a 10-yard loss and Jake Elliott missed his first field goal of the year. The Dolphins took advantage of the good field position and scored on a Fitzpatrick 14-yard pass down the right side to tight end Mike Gesicki to cut the Eagles' lead to 28-26.
Wentz bounced back from a poor performance against Seattle completing 28-of-46 passes for 310 yards with a touchdown and an interception on a last-second Hail Mary for a QB rating of 93.6. Head coach Doug Pederson did a good job of getting Wentz outside the pocket. Having Jeffery and Agholor made a world of difference for Wentz and the offense.
Miles Sanders had 17 of the 19 rushing attempts by the Eagles for a career-best 83 yards (4.9 yards per carry). Sanders also hauled in the first touchdown of the game on a 15-yard reception down the left sideline to finish with five catches (on five targets) for 22 yards.
Jeffery returned to the lineup for the first time since the November 3 win over the Bears and had nine catches for 137 yards and a touchdown, his most yards since last December's win at Los Angeles (160). His touchdown, a third-quarter 10-yard score over the middle, gave the Eagles what seemed to be a comfortable 28-14 lead with 11:44 remaining in the quarter.
Agholor also returned to the lineup after missing the Seattle game with a knee injury. He had three catches for 41 yards as well as a two-point conversion. Agholor's 24-yard grab down the left sideline put the Eagles in scoring position on the team's fourth-quarter drive that ended with a 37-yard field goal. He also had a nice catch-and-run wiped out due to penalty.
Rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside caught his first career touchdown at the end of the first half on a scramble drill. The 15-yard score made it 21-14 Eagles at halftime.
Ertz battled through a hamstring injury to finish with 24 yards on three catches. He had the aforementioned drop. He slipped on the offense's opening drive on what could have been a touchdown for him. On the Eagles' last scoring drive, Dolphins cornerback and former Eagle Eric Rowe knocked the ball out of Ertz's hands in the end zone preventing a touchdown. The Eagles had to settle for an Elliott field goal.
Dallas Goedert had six catches for 66 yards. He was effective on tight end screens as four of his six receptions moved the chains.
The pass protection for Wentz was sound with the return of right tackle Lane Johnson and right guard Brandon Brooks. Wentz was sacked twice in the game. On the ground, the Eagles averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 19 attempts. False start penalties were an issue. Overall, the Eagles had 10 penalties on the day for 91 yards.
Dolphins lead back Kalen Ballage suffered a leg injury and exited early. The Dolphins had just 58 rushing yards on 20 carries (2.9 yards per carry). That shouldn't come as a surprise as the Dolphins ranked last in yards per game and yards per carry coming into this matchup. The biggest rushing gain was on a Wildcat play as wide receiver Albert Wilson picked up 28 of his team-high 31 yards on the day.
This is where the Eagles struggled. Cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills had poor performances as wide receiver DeVante Parker had a career outing with 159 yards on seven catches and two scores. It appeared as if everything Fitzpatrick threw in Parker's direction came down as a score. Even plays that Parker didn't come with, such as a back-shoulder throw in the end zone that was defended by Mills, was challenged and called pass interference by the refs.
The Dolphins were 3-of-3 on fourth down and 4-of-4 in the red zone.
Tight end Mike Gesicki caused problems for the defense as he was matched up against the corners on a consistent basis. He had the touchdown and back-to-back first-down receptions on the fourth-quarter drive that resulted in a field goal to make it 37-28.
Despite not much of a rushing attack, the Dolphins mounted drives of 84 yards, 75 yards, 75 yards again, 61 yards, and 96 yards in this game.
Defensive end Derek Barnett had a sack and stopped Fitzpatrick on a two-point conversion in what was his best performance of the season.
Does this come under pass defense or special teams? For the third game in a row, the Eagles were victims of a trick play. After the incompletion to Parker that was reversed into a pass interference call, the Dolphins decide to go for it on fourth-and-goal. The holder, punter Matt Haack, lined up in the shotgun behind center Daniel Kilgore (not the long snapper Taybor Pepper). The Dolphins had five players lined up wide left, including kicker Jason Sanders. Haack took the snap, rolled left, and shoveled the ball to Sanders, who got lost in the wash for a touchdown.
Sanders also hit a 51-yard field goal for the Dolphins' final points, and to make it a two-possession game.
Elliott missed his first field goal of the season, but connected on his three other attempts.
Take a look at the best photos from the Eagles' clash against the Miami Dolphins.