MIAMI, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 01: Matt Haack #2 of the Miami Dolphins throws a touchdown pass from a fake field goal against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Sleepwalking Eagles Ambushed By Ryan Fitzpatrick (Again)
The Eagles were given a golden opportunity this weekend.
With the good news of a Dallas Cowboys loss on Thanksgiving night, the Eagles were tasked with facing the lowly 2-9 Miami Dolphins in what many would describe as a “get-right” game following their two ugly home showings against the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.
Despite holding a 28-13 lead in the second half, Doug Pederson’s team choked away the late lead with gaffes in all three phases of the game. The offense didn’t generate points on a single drive after their first score in the third quarter. The defense was picked apart by veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who always seems to play some of his best football against the Eagles. And then you had Jake Elliot, fresh off of his new five-year deal, miss a critical kick in the second half that could have kept it a one-score game in the fourth quarter.
After getting torched by Fitzpatrick when he was with Tampa Bay last year, Jim Schwartz’s defense was once again woefully unprepared for the veteran, who lit the team up for 365 yards and three touchdowns.
Mind you, this comes on a much less talented Miami team, a Miami team that possesses absolutely no threat to run the football. The only established weapon the team has is DeVante Parker. And Schwartz couldn’t scheme to take advantage of the limits of this Dolphin team.
- A much better showing for Carson Wentz this week, who threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, however Wentz still displayed some of the recurring problems that he’s had all of throughout the season. Inaccuracy on the deep ball, hesitation on going through his progressions, but he was not the reason they lost this week.
- Alshon Jeffery returned to have one of his biggest games as an Eagle, recording nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. Alshon has taken a lot of flak this year, but he’s still a capable playmaker in this league, and I think a lot of people have been too quick to write him off.
- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside picked up his first career touchdown at the end of the first half on a broken play. JJAW stayed with Wentz until the quarterback was able to find him in the back of the endzone.
- Zach Ertz gutted out a hamstring injury to suit up and play, but had only three receptions, and several big drops, including one in the endzone in the second half.
- Nelson Agholor probably played his best game of the season, picking up 43 yards and a two-point conversion reception.
- Miles Sanders gained 83 yards on 17 touches. You can’t help but feel that Sanders could have done a lot more, and Doug Pederson really wasted an opportunity against a poor Miami run defense to really unleash Sanders.
- Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills couldn’t contain DeVante Parker, allowing the former top draft pick to pile up seven catches for over 150 yards and two touchdowns. Darby and Mills actually had decent position on a couple of plays, but were unable to break up the passes.
- Mike Gesicki also gave the defense fits, pulling in over 70 yards and a touchdown of his own.
- The pass rush picked up a couple sacks on Fitzpatrick early in the game, but completely disappeared in the second half. Fitz was able to sit back and deliver his throws easily in the second half.
- Disasterous play from Tim Jernigan in the third quarter. Jernigan began a play by jumping offsides, giving the Dolphins a free play, and then compounded the mistake by roughing the passer, creating a big gain for Miami.
- Cre’von LeBlanc made his 2019 debut, and seemed to hold up very well for a guy who hasn’t played all year.
- I’ve seen enough of Nate Gerry. He may be the smartest guy on the field, but he’s so slow, awkward, and constantly at the scene of the crime, getting swallowed up by offensive players.
- Nigel Bradham has some of the worst hands I’ve ever seen. The veteran dropped an interception that could have swung the game in the fourth quarter.
- I thought it was a major mistake not to call a timeout when the Dolphins lined up in their trick play formation. It was a play that was obviously designed to take advantage of confusion and unpredictability, and given that it was the first half, the Eagles would have been wise to just call a timeout and force Miami to rethink their strategy.
The Eagles are proving more and more that they just aren’t a good football team.
When you look at all of the close games that this team has lost over the course of the season, those are situations that quality teams find ways to win.
Facing a 2-9 team with the season on the line, the sense of urgency just wasn’t there. They let a bad team hang around, and got themselves burned in embarrassing fashion.
At 5-7, this team has no business going to the playoffs in their current state.