PHILADELPHIA — The Dolphins played a decent game, considering numerous challenges faced, including injuries, but fell 31-17 at the Eagles on Sunday night.
Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa each had strong moments, but the Dolphins quarterback threw a key interception in the fourth quarter.
Tua was targeting Raheem Mostert as Miami tried to tied the score at 24 and the ball was intercepted at the Eagles’ 1-yard line.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni then went for it twice on fourth-and-1 from his own 26 and own 37, converting both with Hurts “Tush Push” sneaks.
The Dolphins fall to 5-2. Philadelphia is 6-1.
Miami had too many penalties and a subpar rushing attack on this night.
The Dolphins were missing injured left tackle Terron Armstead and injured cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey, who total 14 Pro Bowls.
Miami also began with game without top rookie running back De’Von Achane and Pro Bowl caliber-center Connor Williams.
Then, during the game, Miami receiver Jaylen Waddle was sidelined with a back injury and left guard Isaiah Wynn left the game with a quad injury. Waddle later returned; Wynn did not.
And in the third quarter, safety Jevon Holland and linebacker David Long left the game after the collided with each other. Holland soon after returned; Long did not.
Here are five instant takeaways:
Offensive Line Challenges
The Dolphins entered play without center Connor Williams.
Williams seemed to be running fairly well in pregame warmups, but was held out due to a groin injury.
Miami was penalized for delay of game on their first offensive play of the game.
Liam Eichenberg made his third career start at center.
In the first quarter, Miami lost left guard Isaiah Wynn to a quad injury.
Lester Cotton entered the game in his place.
Cotton had a first-quarter holding that negated a Miami touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Tyreek Hill.
Later, Cotton had a false start.
Miami’s offensive line has performed remarkably well this season. But it’s very, very challenging for that to continue without starters Terron Armstead, Isaiah Wynn and Connor Williams at left tackle, left guard and center.
Still not Cam Smith’s time as a cornerback
Xavien Howard could not go in this one, also due to a groin injury.
Howard also tested out the injury in pregame but it was determined it was best to hold him out.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio went with Eli Apple and Kader Kohou on the outside with Parry Nickerson and Elijah Campbell as the fifth and sixth defensive backs.
Unfortunately, Fangio must feel rookie Cam Smith is still not ready.
Apple was a primary target of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Nickerson was in coverage on a 33-yard completion to A.J. Brown down to the Miami 1-yard line.
Kohou made a huge play on a blitz but had a hard time on several other plays while covering Brown.
It’s hard to believe that without Howard and Jalen Ramsey available for a Week 7 game, it’s very disappointing that Smith, a second-rounder is not deemed the best option to replace one of them in the lineup.
Chubb, Phillips, Wilkins, and Long play with fire
Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips, Christian Wilkins, and David Long all played with fire in their bellies for the Dolphins defense.
Chubb had a sack-forced fumble of Hurts recovered by Wilkins.
In the third quarter, Chubb added a second sack.
Phillips had a first-half sack in which he beat Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson.
Why is that so unusual?
Johnson hadn’t allowed a sack over 1,127 snaps dating back to Week 11 of the 2020 season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Miami linebacker Long was flying around, playing physically and with passion.
Wilkins was called for a questionable roughing-the-passer call, shoving Hurts a tad late. But he also played with great energy.
The Dolphins were one of the worst teams in the NFL in penalties in Mike McDaniel’s first season. And they had largely corrected that problem in 2023.
But in the first three quarters on this game, the Dolphins have 8 penalties for 60 yards and the Eagles has zero penalties for zero yards.
Christian Wilkins (2), Lester Cotton (2), Zach Sieler, Eli Apple, Austin Jackson were penalized.
On a key fourth down pass attempt by Tua to Cedrick Wilson in the third quarter, it appeared a facemask penalty could have been called on Philadelphia.
It’s hard to imagine Philadelphia did not commit penalty through three quarters, but that’s what the on-side officials suggested.
This & That
Chase Claypool made his debut at receiver for the Dolphins, with Robbie Chosen scratched… The Eagles converted their bogus “Tush Push” a few times, including on a goal-line touchdown run by Hurts. That’ll be banned by the NFL next year… Cedrick Wilson made a very important second-quarter catch for 29 yards, arguably his biggest catch as a Dolphin… The Dolphins had 4 rushes for -7 yards in the first half… Tyreek Hill had a key drop on a third-and-3, with Miami driving to tie the score at 17…. But Hill also had a 27-yard touchdown catch, beating three Eagles…