The Miami Dolphins are good enough to beat teams like the Philadelphia Eagles when they play well.
The Dolphins did not play well Sunday night. As a result, they are 5-2 and seriously banged up with still two games to go until the bye.
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Miami Dolphins vs. Philadelphia Eagles Instant Observations
Mistakes Doom Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins got punched in the mouth Sunday, but it wasn’t the Eagles’ physicality that ultimately doomed them.
Rather, they self-destructed.
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Despite a rash of injuries and a ton of penalties, the Dolphins had the ball with a chance to tie early in the fourth quarter.
Yet a series of self-inflicted wounds proved fatal — most notably a drop by Tyreek Hill and then an interception by Tua Tagovailoa at the goal line. Tua underthrew a pass to Raheem Mostert that Darius Slay picked off.
Miami Dolphins’ Defense Collapses Late
At one point Sunday, the Dolphins were without five starters on defense due to injury.
Cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey didn’t even dress, and David Long left with a head injury in the second half.
And yet, Vic Fangio’s group survived the best they could — and even put points on the board with a pick-six by Jerome Baker.
But the Dolphins couldn’t stop the Tush Push. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni called that play twice on fourth down deep in Philadelphia territory in the fourth quarter.
That set up a 42-yard completion from Jalen Hurts to A.J. Brown to put the game away.
With 137 receiving yards in tonight’s game, A.J. Brown has become the third player in NFL history to reach 125 receiving yards in five consecutive games 📈
He joins Calvin Johnson (2012) and Pat Studstill (1966) in the record books. pic.twitter.com/otjtx8f4g3
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 23, 2023
Major Injuries on Offense
The Dolphins offense took not one but two major hits in the first half Sunday.
Miami’s offensive line was down two starters even before left guard Isaiah Wynn hurt his leg on the team’s first possession. Lester Cotton took his place, playing between fellow backups Kendall Lamm and Liam Eichenberg against an elite defensive front.
As a result, the Dolphins managed just 45 yards on the ground.
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The news got even worse when Jaylen Waddle limped to the sidelines with a back injury late in the first half. He limped to the locker room and missed much of the second half.
That left the Dolphins with just four available wide receivers for a good chunk of the game: Tyreek Hill, Cedrick Wilson, Chase Claypool, and Braxton Berrios.
Danny Crossman, Call Your Office
The Dolphins’ special teams could ultimately be their undoing.
Danny Crossman’s unit was bad last year and has again made major mistakes in key moments this year.
In the first half of Sunday’s game, Jake Bailey shanked a 31-yard punt, and Crossman’s kick coverage team allowed Boston Scott to get loose for a 38-yard return that gave the Eagles great field position. Philadelphia scored one of its two first-half touchdowns on that possession.
The poor form continued after the break. On the Dolphins’ first punt of the second half, Elijah Campbell committed a false start.
A Very Penal Game for Miami
A very telling first-half stat comparison from Sunday:
- The Dolphins committed six infractions for 45 yards (a figure that admittedly included a bogus roughing the passer call on Christian Wilkins).
- The Eagles were called for zero penalties for zero yards (a figure that was as much a reflection of the officials’ willful blindness than anything else).
The tone was set on literally the Dolphins’ first play — which never happened, because Miami couldn’t get the play off in time.
In all, the Dolphins were called for 10 accepted penalties for 70 yards.
The Eagles, meanwhile, could do no wrong in the officials’ eyes. They didn’t even call a clear and obvious facemask/pass interference penalty on James Bradberry on a fourth-down incompletion.
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