The Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles headlined the Week 7 NFL schedule, with two 5-1 teams meeting on Sunday Night Football. It was a game that was expected to be a high-scoring affair, with both offenses marching up and down the field all night. Instead, it became a frustrating game of attrition for the Dolphins as they battled through injuries and a flag fest.
Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, guard Isaiah Wynn, linebacker David Long, Jr., and safety Jevon Holland were all shaken up during the game, missing at least some playing time if not heading to the locker room for the night. Already missing players like starting center Connor Williams and cornerback Xavien Howard, Miami could not overcome everything that happened to them during the night.
Add ten penalties, compared to none for the Eagles, during the game, and there was no way they could get back into the game once they had fallen behind.
Miami fell to 5-2 with the loss while the Eagles moved to 6-1 with the victory.
Dolphins 17 - 31 Eagles
Immediate Post-Game Reactions
The refs were brutal in this game. Just miserably bad. Missed calls all over the place. But, Miami was not good enough on the night to say the loss was the ref’s fault. The Dolphins could not get everything together on Sunday night.
The story that Miami has not beaten anyone this year will continue, and rightfully so after this performance. Like the Bills in Week 4, the Eagles punched the Dolphins in the mouth and Miami could not get back up. They tried - tying up the score 17-17 after being down 14 points, but once they got there, they had nothing else.
Miami needs to get to the bye in three weeks and need to get some of their top players back. They need the defense to step up and the offensive line to get at least some of their starters back.
The Dolphins are a better team than what we all saw on Sunday night, but they have to prove it on the field. Two bad showings in key matchups is not going to make people believe this team is a true Super Bowl contender.
The good news is, with the Buffalo Bills loss earlier in the day, Miami is still in first place in the AFC East. They have to fix the problems shown tonight, and get healthy, if they are going to stay in that spot the remainder of the year.
First Quarter Reactions
The Eagles received the opening kickoff, with new Miami wide receiver Chase Claypool, making his team debut, making the tackle at the Eagles’ 23-yard line. Philadelphia turned to the ground game to start the possession, running it four times with D’Andre Smith for 18 yards before quarterback Jalen Hurts threw his first pass. On 1st-and-10 from the 46-yard line, Hurts attempted a deep pass to wide receiver DeVonta Smith, but cornerback Eli Apple broke up the reception just before Smith could bring it in. A couple of plays later, Hurts threw the first of two straight passes to tight end Dallas Goedert, with both plays gaining 22 yards. Starting with a 1st-and-Goal from the eight-yard line, the Eagles would lose two yards, then gain a yard, then three more yards, before settling for a field goal. Eagles 3-0.
The Dolphins struggle to stop tight ends. Goedert is going to feast all night at this rate. The defense needs to figure out covering Goedert, but they also need to make sure they continue to bottle up Hurts. Forcing a field goal was the definition of Miami’s bend-don’t-break defensive mentality.
Miami began the drive with a delay of game penalty, not exactly the start the offense needed. They were able to make up the loss of yardage, with wide receiver Jalen Waddle taking a shovel pass eight yards then wide receiver Tyreek Hill gaining 15 ya
rds on a crossing route. The drive stalled there, however, with running back Raheem Mostert losing five yards before a gain of no yards on another short pass, then an incomplete pass. Miami punted.
That is not going to cut it against the Eagles tonight.
Philadelphia started with Swift again, this time picking up two yards on the ground. After an incomplete pass, Hurts was sacked by linebacker Bradley Chubb, with defensive tackle Christian Wilkins recovering the fumble and giving Miami the ball.
There we go! Defense stepping up and putting pressure on Hurts. They were disciplined, leaving him no where to run and Chubb got in there - along with linebacker Jaelan Phillips - to force the turnover.
The Dolphins moved back and forth on the possession, picking up three yards with a pass to Hill, then losing two yards on a Mostert run. Then gaining 16 yards on a pass to Waddle followed by a one-yard loss on a Mostert run. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw short to Hill, losing five yards, then a holding penalty negated a 12-yard touchdown to Hill. An incomplete pass on 3rd-and-Goal from the 22-yard line led to a Miami field goal. Tied 3-3.
The offense is stumbling over itself - including literally as tackle Kendall Lamm, starting in place of Terron Armstead at left tackle, being injured as another lineman stepped on him. They cannot afford to play like that, especially when they can steal some points off the turnover.
After the kickoff was returned out to the 40-yard line, the Eagles picked up seven yards on a Swift run around the right side. Hurts then found Smith across the middle of the field for eight yards as the first quarter ended.
Miami looks like they are pressing too hard to start this game. They need to settle down and play like they have the last couple of week.
Second Quarter Reactions
Hurts threw to Goedert for three yards to start the second period, then found wide receiver A.J. Brown for six yards. On 3rd-and-1, running back Kenneth Gainwell was stopped by Phillips to set up 4th-and-1. On a tush-push - or brotherly shove as they now want to have the play called - both Philadelphia and Miami were called for offsides, leading to a replay. The second tush push worked and the Eagles picked up two yards for the first down. After cornerback Parry Nickerson broke up a screen pass attempt, the Eagles were gifted 15 yards and a free first down by a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty. Swift then picked up a yards before Hurts threw a tight end screen to Goedert, who took it 19 yards for the touchdown. Eagles 10-3.
The referees are off tonight. Even Terry McAuly on the broadcast is pointing out where they are missing calls - including the Wilkinson roughing the passer penalty. Miami’s defense is struggling, especially in covering Goedert, but they are really going to have issues if the refs are giving the Eagles free downs and yards. Miami brought a blitz on the touchdown play, and it was just a perfectly designed play by the Eagles to beat it.
Starting at their own 34-yard line after a return from wide receiver Braxton Berrios, Miami did nothing with the ball on their first possession of the second quarter. Running back Salvon Ahmed picked up a yard on first down, then Hill gained six yards on a reception, but an incomplete pass on third down led to a three-and-out punt.
Not going to cut it. The offense needs to look more like the track meet offense that they are if they want to avoid getting out of hand quickly.
The Eagles offense is not having any of the struggles the Miami side is having. They started with the ball at their own 20-yard line, quickly moving from there out to midfield on seven plays, highlighted by a 10-yard pass to Brown, and a 13-yard pass to Smith. Add in a five-yard penalty on cornerback Eli Apple for defensive holding, and the Eagles were clearly in rhythm. Four plays later, on 4th-and-3, Hurts was pressured by Chubb, but got free and found Brown 33 yards down the field at the Miami one-yard line. A tush push later and the Eagles were putting up more points. Eagles 17-3.
Nothing is working for Miami right now. Even when they are getting pressure, the Eagles are finding ways to counter. The Dolphins have to wake up and get into this game right now. The 14-0 deficit they erased last week is not the 17-3 deficit they are facing now against the reigning NFC champions on the road. Something has to change right now.
A four-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Hill started the drive, but then a backward pass to wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, Jr., who looked to pass turned into a seven-yard sack. After offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties were sorted out, Miami moved back five yards on a false start flag. On 3rd-and-18, Tagovailoa found Wilson for 30 yards and a first down as the clock reached the two-minute warning. Tagovailoa threw to Berrios for seven yards on 1st down, then found Hill for 15 yards on the next play. From the Eagles’ 29-yard line, Tagovailoa threw to Wilson for four yards, then threw to running back Jeff Wilson, Jr., for four yards. A sack of Tagovailoa brought up 3rd-and-8. Tagovailoa looked right to start the play, but knew he was coming back to Hill on the left, dropping a perfect pass into double coverage for the score. Eagles 17-10.
That pass to Wilson was a spark. Will Miami be able to get things moving now?
Okay, maybe Miami has woken up now. That was a gorgeous pass from Tagovailoa to Hill. Not having Waddle hurts, but Berrios and Cedrick Wilson seem to be stepping up.
Jaelan Phillips sacked Hurts on the next play, with the Eagles letting the clock run down to the half.
Miami scored just before the half and get the ball to start the second half. If they can score there, they will bring this back to a tie and put a rough first half behind them. They are not playing in rhythm right now, but they are still in this game. Even with the Waddle injury, they are starting to find themselves. How they open up the second half may be the deciding factor to this game.
Tua Tagovailoa is 13-for-16 for 129 yards with a touchdown, giving him a 121.1 passer rating. For a half that felt as frustrating as that, Tagovailoa’s numbers are actually still pretty good.
Hill has eight receptions for 65 yards and the score.
The ground attack is completely nonexistent at this point. Ahmed has one yard on one carry while Mostert has lost eight yards on three attempts. The Eagles are trying to force Miami to be one dimensional - but that could work perfectly for the Dolphins if they find their rhythm and if Berrios and Wilson can step up.
The defense needs to tighten up, especially with Hurts running ability and Goedert picking up chunk yards. If they can continue to pressure Hurts and get Philadelphia out of their own rhythm, Miami is in this.
Third Quarter Reactions
The Dolphins opened the quarter looking more like the team they have been through the first six weeks of the season. After a Mostert run for two yards, Hill caught a pass over the middle for 17 yards. Then Mostert picked up seven yards and five yards on two runs. After a pass to Ahmed for no gain, Tagovailoa threw a bubble screen to Hill for 10 yards - but a holding penalty negated the play. Tagovailoa looked like he had Ahmed deep down the sideline, but the two could not connect and Miami faced a 3rd-and-19. A screen pass to Mostert picked up six yards, but a false start penalty on the punt pushed Miami back another five yards before Jake Bailey could kick the ball away.
The offense has life but has cannot overcome the penalties right now. That is eight penalties on the Dolphins so far this game, while the Eagles have had none. Every time the Dolphins appear to have some rhythm, the flags fly.
The Eagles picked up a first down with a nine-yard pass to Brown and a four-yard run by Swift. After that, however, the Miami defense stepped up, with linebacker David Long, Jr., pressuring Hurts who ran into defensive tackle Zach Sieler and Chubb for the sack, then an eight-yard pass being stopped by Wilkins before Apple broke up the third down pass and forced a punt.
That was better by the defense. Can they keep it up for the rest of the game? And can Miami’s offense put up points here? Please?
Miami started the drive with Mostert picking up 21 yards, then 15 yards on two runs and suddenly the Dolphins offense looks like the Dolphins offense. Tagovailoa then threw to Hill for five yards. A clear touchdown pass to Hill followed a two-yard run from Ahmed, but the receiver bounced the ball off his leg and it fell incomplete. Then Tagovailoa threw to Wilson down the sideline, but a clear facemask penalty was ignored by the refs and the Dolphins turned over the ball on downs.
That missed call was blatant. Just no excuse for there not to be a flag there. The face mask turned Wilson’s head, but there have still been no penalties on the Eagles.
Hurts dropped back to pass on first down, with cornerback Kader Kohou blitzing off the offense’s right. He jumped and deflected the pass, with the ball falling straight to linebacker Jerome Baker who returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. Tied 17-17.
No flags? Wow. That may be the most impressive part of a great play for the Dolphins defense. Kohou played that perfectly.
Hurts scrambled for 12 yards to open the next possession. Dolphins linebacker David Long, Jr., and safety Jevon Holland ran into each other, covering crossing routes on the play and both remained down on the field for a while. They eventually could both get up and go to the sidelines on their own. Hurts then avoided pressure and somehow found Smith deep for 25 yards. He was flushed out again, this time finding Brown for eight yards. A three-yard Swift run was followed by a short pass to Swift for two yards. A 10-yard pass to Goedert followed an incomplete pass before Hurts threw a short pass to Brown, who broke a tackle and scored from 14 yards out. Eagles 24-17.
That injury situation was ugly. Both players were looking at their receivers and running at full speed, crashing right into each other. Holland returns to the field a few plays later while Long is still on the sideline. The defense struggled there, especially with Hurts moving around. Have to keep him contained and finish the pass rush with sacks.
Miami was forced to use a time-out at the start of the drive to avoid a delay of game penalty. After the stoppage, Tagovailoa found Waddle for 14 yards as the receiver returned following a back injury. The third quarter ended after the play.
Fourth Quarter Reactions
After the break, Miami started with a three-yard run from Mostert - with the running back just missing breaking it for a huge break. The ninth Miami penalty of the night, a false start penalty, backed the Dolphins into 2nd-and-12. Tagovailoa was able to find Hill, but the pass fell incomplete, before a 3rd-and-12 pass to Waddle picked up exactly what was needed for the first down. A beautiful back-shoulder pass to Cedrick Wilson gained 19 yards and moved Miami to the Philadelphia 26-yard line. A mistimed snap on first down led to a three-yard loss as Tagovailoa just sat down to give up the play. On second down, the snap rolled back to Tagovailoa, who somehow picked it up and threw to Waddle for five yards. On 3rd-and-8, Tagovailoa looked to the endzone, but he floated the ball and safety Darius Slay picked it off.
Ouch. There was some good on that drive, but the two bad snaps and a poor throw from Tagovailoa ruined whatever goodness there was. Miami needs the defense to step up here to allow the offense to fix this.
Apple perfectly read a pass into the flat, with the pressure leading Hurts to throw the ball away rather than risking an interception by Apple. Swift picked up five yards, then Hurts threw to Brown for four yards. A tush push gave the Eagles a first down. Gainwell picked up two yards before an incomplete pass and a seven-yard pass from Hurts to Brown. On 4th-and-1, another tush push gave the Eagles another first down. A Swift run for no gain, then a six-yard pass to Brown set up 3rd-and-4. An offside penalty gave the Eagles a first down, then Hurts threw to Brown for a 42-yard gain, setting up a 1st-and-Goal as the Miami eight-yard line. A three-yard run for the score followed a Gainwell run for five yards. Eagles 30-17.
Just brutal tonight.
The Dolphins, needing to score quickly, began with an eight-yard pass to Waddle. Back-to-back sacks of Tagovailoa set up Miami in a 4th-and-10 with 3:23 remaining in the game. Tagovailoa attempted to find Hill on the next play, but it fell incomplete.
The fourth down pass was well short of the line of gain, so even if it had been caught, it would not have converted anyway. This was just a beating all night.
After a three-yard loss on a Swift run, the running back picked up 22 yards before the two-minute warning and three kneels ended the game.