The Eagles won the game, 38-31.
First Half Summary
The Dolphins opened the game with the ball, with running back Jay Ajayi picking up 28 yards on two carries. The drive did not last long, however, as Laremy Tunsil was beat on the pass rush, leading to a strip sack of quarterback Jay Cutler and the Eagles recovering.
The Eagles’ possession was not long either, but for a completely different reason. On a 3rd-and-eight play, the Dolphins secondary blew the coverage - with obvious confusion on who was supposed to be covering whom - and quarterback Carson Wentz connected with wide receiver Torrey Smith for a 50-yard touchdown. Reshad Jones, the Dolphins’ strong safety, immediately began yelling back at cornerback Byron Maxwell, who appeared to peel off of coverage, despite Smith being his responsibility.
The Dolphins continued with futility on the next drive, picking up just two yards on three Ajayi runs. Miami punted after the three-and-out.
Philadelphia again started attacking the Dolphins defense, with Went finding tight end Zach Ertz for 14 yards on first down. Running back Wendell Smallwood then added eight yards, followed by Wentz bobbling the ball, picking it up, and managing to find Ertz again, who broke a Jones tackle for an 18 yard gain. After a near sack by Cameron Wake forcing an incomplete pass, Smallwood picked up six yards before Andre Branch completed the sack of Wentz on third down and forced a punt.
After two possessions by both teams, the Dolphins are being dominated early in this contest, on both sides of the ball. The offense, which is relying on Ajayi almost exclusively, is not picking up enough yardage, while the defense is making way too many mistakes in coverage.
The figured it out on the third possession, however. After a nice third-down conversion with Cutler stepping up in the pocket to avoid the rush and finding Kenny Stills, Cutler threw a deep jump ball to DeVante Parker, who went up, got the ball, and kept running for a 72-yard gain. Ajayi then finished the drive with a two-yard run for the tying touchdown.
If the Dolphins can keep up that kind of offensive production this season, they could be a fun team. But, they have to figure out how to get off to faster starts. It was a problem last year, and they cannot let it continue to be a problem into this season.
Things quickly continued to go Miami’s way in the next Eagles possession. On first down, defensive end William Hayes deflected the Wentz pass up in the air and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips caught the ball, returning it 18 yards to the Philadelphia two-yard line. Ajayi then punched it in again for a 14-7 lead.
The Eagles again began moving the ball on the Dolphins on their next possession. Rookie defensive tackle Davon Godchaux made a nice play early in the drive, breaking off his block to make a tackle on Smallwood, but he was called for a face mask penalty and gave up an extra 15 yards. Wentz again started attacking Maxwell, who have up some big chunks of yards, with the Eagles eventually scoring on a 15-yard slant pass from Wentz to Alshon Jeffery.
Miami responded fairly quickly, however, with a 17-yard pass from Cutler to Jarvis Landry, then a 15-yard run from Ajayi followed by a 42-yard gain on a pass interference call as Cutler attempted to connect with Stills. Cutler then found Julius Thomas for a one-yard touchdown pass.
Following a pair of punts, the teams then traded interceptions, with Matt McGloin now in the for the Eagles at quarterback being picked off by linebacker Lawrence Timmons at the Eagles’ seven-yard line. Matt Moore, who came in for the Dolphins at quarterback, then was picked off on the next play when he attempted to find DeVante Parker in the endzone.
The Eagles then were able to take the 50-yard interception return and turn it into a short-field touchdown. It did not take long for them to score again as Moore was picked off again on the next Miami possession on a deflected pass intended for Thomas - an interception that Mychal Kendricks returned for a touchdown.
After the kickoff, Miami would punt, then force a punt from the Eagles. With 1:02 remaining in the half, the Dolphins were able to move the ball, behind Moore connecting with running back Kenyan Drake for five yards, Parker for six yards, and Landry for 32 yards, to have kicker Andrew Franks connect from 56-yards out, bringing the score to 28-24 at the half.
First Half Reactions
- The first half was an up-and-down period for both teams, especially the Dolphins. They struggled to find their rhythm early, then, once they did, they scored in bunches. The defense would look good on one possession - or one play even - only to struggle the next.
- Maxwell was picked on throughout the half, and once the Eagles found a running game, the Dolphins could not do a lot to stop it.
- Ajayi finished the half with 53 yards rushing on nine carries with two touchdowns.
- Cutler was 5-for-8 for 105 yards with a score.
- Parker had two receptions for 78 yards, with Landry picking up 49 yards on two catches and Stills adding two receptions for 18 yards.
Second Half Summary
Philadelphia started the second half with the ball, immediately again attacking Miami’s defense. The running and passing game worked to move the ball from their own 21-yard line all the way to the Dolphins’ 12, but the drive stalled there and they settled for a Caleb Sturgis, the former Dolphins’ kicker, field goal. The Eagles extended the lead with the kick to 31-24.
Miami’s first drive of the second half went backwards, losing a yard on the first play, a Damien Williams run. Then, new quarterback Brandon Doughty was sacked for a seven-yard loss. Williams picked up seven yards on 3rd-and-18, but Miami still had a net loss of one yard on the possession and were forced to kick it away.
Miami’s defense held the Eagles to a three-and-out on their next drive.
The Dolphins’ next drive lasted all of 14 seconds as Jakeem Grant caught a short pass from Doughty, bounced off two tacklers and was immediately gone. No one on the field has the speed to keep up with Mighty Mouse when he gets an open field in front of him, and the Dolphins, just like that, tied the game at 31.
The Dolphins would again force a punt from the Eagles on the next drive, giving up one first down by then shutting down the possession.
On first down, Doughty just overthrew Grant on a deep ball attempt, barely missing a huge gain for the offense. Storm Johnson then picked up six yards on a left-end run that almost could have gone for more if not for a good solid tackle by Kamu Grugier-Hill. Leonte Carroo picked up another five yards on a short pass, followed by Johsnon adding three more before Doughty was intercepted on a pass attempt toward Grant.
The Eagles returned the ball to the Miami five yard line. After a one-yard gain by Byron Marshall, Lafayette Pitts was called for pass interference in the endzone, giving the Eagles a 1st-and-Goal from the one-yard line. Two run attempts by Marshall were denied by the Dolphins defense, who held up in the middle, only to have a one-yard pass from McGloin to Marcus Johnson, barely beating some good coverage by Pitts. The Eagles retook the lead 38-31.
After a Miami three-and-out, Philadelphia started a deliberate drive in an attempt to run time off the clock, starting 10 minutes away from the end of the game. Short passes and conservative runs over ten plays (including a replayed down after a penalty) took about 5:30 off the clock before the Dolphins were able to force a punt.
David Fales came in for the Dolphins at quarterback after the punt, but was not able to get the offense to move and the team punted. Second-team punter, Matt Haack, blasted the ball 63 yards on the kick, with a muffed catch by the Eagles leading to Philadelphia getting the ball at their own three yard line.
The Dolphins called timeouts after the first- and second-down runs by the Eagles, hoping to get the ball back with some time remaining on the clock. The Eagles were able to convert the third-down play with an eight-yard run from Byron Marshall, essentially sealing the game.
After another first down, the Eagles killed the clock with a couple of kneels and got out of the preseason week three contest.
Running back Senorise Perry - knee
Tightend Thomas Duarte - concussion
Final Immediate Reactions
- I really do not know how to feel about this team yet. The offense looks great at times, but then stalls for no apparent reason. The defense seems like it is the exact opposite, with a lot of question marks followed by one or two great plays.
- Cutler looks like the right choice to replace the injured Ryan Tannehill this year, and he is looking more and more comfortable with the offense.
- Timmons looked like a good linebacker addition and was doing a lot out there for the defense.
- Grant should easily be on the team if there was any question.
- Maxwell has to figure out whatever his issue was out there tonight and fix it immediately.
- Darren Rizzi must have torn into the special teams this past week, as they looked a million times better. Adding back in some of the veteran players helped, but Rizzi could not have been happy after the embarrassment of the Baltimore Ravens game, and they came out and executed tonight.
- Mike Pouncey being back in the starting lineup was good to see, and his presence clearly made a difference in the early running game.