Instant analysis of Eagles' embarrassing loss to Dolphins

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 01, 2019 - 4:29 pm
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If there is a low point to the Eagles’ 2019 season, they better hope this is it — because is hard to imagine it could get much worse.

The Eagles lost to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, 37-31, the team’s third loss in a row and a loss that dropped them to 5-7 on the season. 

There is plenty of blame to go around for the loss, but it starts with the defense, that was picked apart all day by a Dolphins’ defense that was averaging 14.8 points-per-game. 

Here are some takeaways from the loss:

The Defense: The last two weeks it was the offense that struggled. This week it was the defense, and it was not pretty. The Dolphins moved the ball up-and-down the field throughout the game, especially in the second half. The issue did not seem to be scheme related — it was simply the Eagles’ defenders getting beat one-on-one repeatedly. 

How bad did it get on Sunday? The Eagles’ defense allowed 20-unanswered points in the second half, which is more than the Dolphins averaged per game all season. It wasn’t like the offense was putting the defense in tough positions — all three of the Dolphins’ touchdown drives went at least 61-yards, with one going 96-yards. 

The final nail in the coffin was a 13-play, 50-yard drive that killed close to six minutes off the clock and ended in field goal that put the Dolphins up by nine with just over three minutes to play. 

The offense certainly holds some blame for the loss, but there is no doubt this one falls on the defense. 

Wentz: If Wentz needed a confidence booster, he got something close to it on Sunday -- unfortunately it came in a loss.   

Wentz finished the game with three touchdowns, but one of the main reasons to think Wentz could build upon Sunday’s game is how the Eagles used him. Wentz was moved out of the pocket quite a bit against the Dolphins, and he made some of his best plays when he on the move. 

The day nearly started off on a disastrous note for Wentz, whose first pass of the game was dropped by a Dolphins’ defender. Wentz threw a touchdown on his second pass, however, an easy score to a wide-open Miles Sanders from 15-yards out just over one minute into the game. 

Arguably his best play came near the end of the first half, when after the play broke down, Wentz was able to scramble out of the pocket and fired a pass to receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for a touchdown in the back of the end zone. The pass gave the Eagles the lead heading into the half, 21-14.  

Wentz still had his moments that were concerning, as his accuracy remained an issue. His first pass of the second drive of the game went right into the hand of defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who had dropped back into coverage. Later in the drive Wentz had Agholor open over the middle of the field, but sailed it over his outreached hands. One of his worst passes of the game came with just under one minute to play in the first half, when he had a wide-open Agholor along the sideline on the 10-yard line, but sailed it over his head.

Fake Kick: Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team, and the Dolphins’ fake-field goal for a touchdown was certainly one of those moments. The play really has to be seen to be believed:

Parker: Like the fake field goal, you almost just have to tip your cap to Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker — he was that good on Sunday. Parker made a number of big catches, two of which went for a touchdown and another that set one up. Early on Parker picked on cornerback Ronald Darby, but he eventually made his way to Jalen Mills, who was also unable to stop him. 

Pass Interference: On 3rd-and-goal from the four-yard lie with just under six minutes to play in the half, Fitzpatrick’s pass to receiver DeVante Parker fell incomplete. The Dolphins challenge that there was pass interference on the play, and considering how it had been called this year, it seemed unlikely it would not be overturned — until it was. The call gave the Dolphins a fresh set of downs, and they took advantage of it, ending the drive with a touchdown that gave them a 14-13 lead with under five minutes to play in the first half. 

Darby: The game got off to a great — but slightly lucky — start for the Eagles. Ronald Darby came away with an interception on the first play of the game for the Dolphins offense and returned it all the way to the 18-yard line. A review showed that Fitzpatrick’s intended target was tripped up by linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, but the refs didn’t overturn the call, and the Eagles’ offense scored three plays later to take a 7-0 lead. Darby’s day was far from perfect, however, as he let up a 43-yard touchdown catch to receiver Devante Parker down the left side of the field. Darby had decent coverage, but Parker simply out jumped him and made an acrobatic catch, then stayed in bounds to run the rest of the way. The touchdown pulled the Dolphins to within three, 10-7, with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter. Parker beat Darby deep again later in the half, hauling in a 42-yard pass that set up another Dolphins’ touchdown. 

Ertz: Ertz had one of the worst drops of the day, as midway through the third quarter, a pass that hit him right in the hands on the five-yard line bounced off and fell incomplete. The drop was a big on, as instead of perhaps a touchdown or at least a fresh set of downs inside the five, the Eagles had to attempt a field goal — which they missed. Ertz also dropped what should have been a touchdown in the end zone on the Eagles' final drive of the game when they were trying to pull off a comeback. 

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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