Thursday night, the Miami Dolphins lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in a 38-31 shootout. the game featured 728 yards of total offense, with 52 points scored in the first half. Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 105 yards on 5-for-8 passing with one touchdown. Running back Jay Ajayi added 53 yards on nine carries, giving him a 5.9 yard-per-carry average, scoring two touchdowns.
The offensive play of the game for Miami may have been a 72 yard catch and run from wide receiver DeVante Parker, who continues to show that he is ready to live up to his potential. (Though, to be fair, the catch and run from Jakeem Grant for 69 yards and a touchdown could be in the offensive play of the game argument as well.) Drafted with the 14th overall pick in 2015, Parker has struggled with injuries throughout his first two seasons in the league, recording just 82 receptions for 1,238 yards with seven touchdowns in that span.
For comparison, his receiving mate Jarvis Landry has had more receptions in each of his three seasons in the league (84; 110; 94) and has just about reached Parker’s career yardage in both of the last two seasons (1,157; 1,136).
It has not been the start of the career Parker thought he would have. It is not the start to the career the Dolphins thought he would have. But, 2017 looks like it could be different. After Thursday’s game, Parker discussed his catch along with the connection he is developing with Cutler.
“I have a good connection with him,” Parker stated. “I just like how he has trust in us to just make a play and come down with it.”
He added, “He likes to throw it deep whenever he has a chance. He likes tall receivers and likes guys who can go up get the ball.”
Cutler also discussed the play, telling the media, “It was just one-on-one. [With] a guy like [Parker], one-on-one opportunities you got to try and find those matchups for him and give him a shot at the ball and he can do things like that.”
Last week, Cutler described Parker as a “faster Alshon Jeffery,” the Eagles wide receiver with whom Cutler played in Chicago from 2012 to 2016. Jeffery caught two passes for 35 yards and a touchdown on Thursday against the Dolphins, and Parker was asked about Cutler’s comparison of the two receivers after the game. “I feel good about it,” Miami’s receiver explained. “He is a good receiver and he makes plays. He is a great receiver and I like that comparison from him.”
The Dolphins have big hopes for Parker this season, and if he continues to make plays like he did on Thursday, those hopes will become reality.