The Miami Dolphins had a prime opportunity to silence the critics and squash the narrative that they hadn’t beaten a quality opponent by going into Philadelphia under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football and defeating the defending NFC Champion Eagles in front of the entire viewing world.
Instead, they gave the naysayers more ammunition by losing by multiple touchdowns while playing mistake riddled football throughout the entire contest.
The league’s highest scoring offense was stymied by a strong defensive unit. The defensive line of the Philadelphia Eagles abused Miami’s banged up offensive line — shutting down the Dolphins’ high octane run game en route to just 45 yards rushing on 12 attempts. The Eagles totaled four sacks in the contest while holding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to just 216 yards passing on the night.
The team may not like it. We, as fans, may not like it. However, the Dolphins are going to have to show up and play good ball during one of these big games against a tough opponent if they want to be viewed as serious contenders for a conference crown or a Lombardi Trophy ceremony at season’s end.
Sunday night was a failed opportunity to do so, but there are more games left to be played, and more chances for Miami to shift the narrative.
For now, we take a look back at the good, bad and ugly from the Miami Dolphins 31-17 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Miami Dolphins maintain their lead in AFC East race despite loss
The Dolphins lost on Sunday night, but they claimed a small victory earlier in the day when their biggest competition for the AFC East crown — the Buffalo Bills — lost a shocker to the then 1-5 New England Patriots.
As a result, Miami went into Sunday Night Football knowing that no matter the result, they would maintain their hold on first place in the division.
That being said, it would have been much nicer to extend their lead over the Bills to two games, especially since the Dolphins dropped their first head-to-head meeting with Buffalo earlier this year.
The Dolphins can’t spend too much time relishing the Bills’ defeat, however, as they play those same Patriots this upcoming Sunday — albeit at the friendly confines of Hard Rock Stadium in sunny South Florida. Still, they’ll need to play much better than they did against the Eagles — and much better than the Bills did against Mac Jones and company — if they want to avoid a similar embarrassment.
Dolphins rack up penalties while Eagles draw zero flags
Very rarely do you see a bigger disparity in the amount of penalties called — or not called in Philadelphia’s case — than what happened on Sunday night.
The Miami Dolphins were penalized 10 times for a total of 70 yards, with many of those calls of the questionable variety, while the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t called for a single accepted flag (minus offsetting penalties) despite very clearly, and obviously, committing multiple violations throughout the game.
If you’re feeling like a bit of a masochist while reading this, do a quick Twitter (or X) search and you’ll find compelling video evidence that shows multiple fouls that could have been called, but weren’t, against the Eagles if it were not for the incompetence of the officiating team.
David Long Jr. was nearly decapitated while screaming towards quarterback Jalen Hurts on a blitz, but despite the obvious hold, no flag was thrown.
Later in the game, Cedrick Wilson Jr. had his head twisted by a blatant facemask grab on a fourth down throw in Philadelphia territory, yet the penalty went uncalled and the Dolphins gave the ball back to the Eagles with no points put on the scoreboard.
The Dolphins can’t entirely blame the loss on the poor officiating, but it did make for a very frustrating viewing experience for many Miami fans on Sunday night.
Miami suffers more injures
The Miami Dolphins are not a healthy team at the moment.
Going into their week seven contest with Philadelphia, Miami was already missing their two top cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard, two starting offensive linemen in left tackle Terron Armstead and center Connor Williams, and an electric rookie running back in De’Von Achane.
It’s always going to be a tough task to claim victory with the amount of talent temporarily shelved for the Dolphins, however when the team loses even more players during the course of the contest, the idea of winning slips further from their grasps.
Early on, Miami went down another starting offensive lineman when left guard Isaiah Wynn exited with a quad injury. Lester Cotton was forced into action as a result. Not long after, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle left the game with a back injury. He would return, however his performance was hampered due to the pain he was suffering from all night long. Later in the game, safety Jevon Holland and linebacker David Long Jr. collided on a play where both were in coverage and ran blindly into each other at a high rate of speed. Each man left the game, with Holland returning after a few snaps, however Long missed the remainder of the contest with a suspected concussion.
It’s hard to win in the National Football League. It’s even harder when so many of your star players are sidelined or slowed with injury.
Side note: with both Ramsey and Howard missing this game, why didn’t we see rookie Cam Smith take any meaningful snaps in Miami’s secondary? Why does Vic Fangio insist on playing a journeyman like Parry Nickerson over getting some much needed seasoning on the Dolphins’ first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Something definitely needs to change on that front...
The Dolphins maintained their lead in the AFC East despite a loss to the Eagles on Sunday. It wasn’t pretty, but it only counts as one in the loss column. How are you feeling about our Dolphins now? Do we dare use the “fraud” word this early on, or do we continue to have patience with the squad until they finally show they can beat a legitimate opponent? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!