Unlike the previous two games, where the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense struggled to score points, it was the defense that struggled on Sunday in a 37-31 upset loss to the Miami Dolphins.
With the defeat, the Eagles are on a three-game losing streak and missed a prime opportunity to tie for the Cowboys for the top spot in the NFC East.
Earlier this week, Dallas lost 26-15 to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving.
But Philadelphia’s offense couldn’t keep up with the Dolphins despite coming to life on Sunday afternoon after only scoring 19 total points in their last previous games.
Carson Wentz — who had one of the worst games of his career last weekend against the Seattle Seahawks — bounced back against the Dolphins’ struggling defense.
The 6-foot-5 gunslinger completed 61 percent of his passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. The last time Wentz had at least two touchdown passes was back in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Coincidentally, that game was also the last time an Eagles wide receiver scored a touchdown.
Speaking of wide receivers, Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery returned to the field on Sunday after missing last week’s game against Seattle.
Jeffery led the team in receiving with nine receptions (16 targets) for 137 yards and a touchdown. Agholor had three receptions (six targets) for41 yards and caught a two-point conversion in the second quarter.
In regards to the Dolphins, Ryan Fitzpatrick shook off a rough start to torch the Eagles’ secondary. The former Harvard man completed 69.2-percent of his passes for 365 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.
Fitzpatrick’s favorite target on Sunday was wide receiver DeVante Parker, who racked up seven receptions (10 targets) for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
On the very first play of the game, the Eagles’ defense set the tone right away as veteran cornerback Ronald Darby intercepted Fitzpatrick. It was the first time in Fitzpatrick’s career that he has thrown an interception on the first play.
After the Darby interception, it did not take long for the Eagles’ offense to score a touchdown. On 3rd-&-7 at the Dolphins’ 15-yard-line, Wentz found rookie running back Miles Sanders in the flat for a touchdown.
The play and throw were eerily similar to what the Eagles ran on their first offensive possession last Sunday against Seattle. However, unlike last week where Wentz overthrew Sanders, they made sure to complete it this time.
With the Eagles on the scoreboard first, it was now time for Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins’ offense to respond. But Philadelphia’s defense forced them into a quick three-and-out, which was capped off by a Josh Sweat sack.
A few minutes later, the Eagles’ offense put together another scoring drive, which was capped off by a Jake Elliott 48-yard field goal.
After both teams traded punts, the Dolphins scored their first touchdown with three minutes left in the opening quarter.
On 4th-&-4, Fitzpatrick threw the ball up to Parker, who leaped over Darby for a 43-yard touchdown reception. The Eagles dialed up the blitz, which gave the Dolphins a favorable one-on-one matchup to exploit.
They quickly provided a swift response to another Elliott field goal in the second quarter which temporarily made it 13-7.
Fitzpatrick and Co. produced a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive, which saw Parker make another ridiculous catch on third down with 9:41 left in the first half.
The Dolphins ended the possession with a trick play on 4th-&-Goal as punter Matt Haack found kicker Jason Sanders for a flip pass touchdown. It was the third consecutive game where the Eagles’ defense has given up a trick-play touchdown.
With 4:40 left in the first half and the Dolphins holding a 14-13 lead, the Eagles responded with their own four-minute scoring drive. The drive ended with rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside catching his NFL touchdown.
Philadelphia went into halftime up 21-13 following an Agholor two-point conversion.
At the beginning of the third quarter, the Eagles’ offense had a short field to work with as the Dolphins tried to catch them off guard with an onside kick.
Philadelphia put together a seven-play, 47-yard scoring drive, which ended with Wentz finding Jeffery for a 10-yard touchdown reception.
However, the Eagles’ 28-14 lead would not last for long as Fitzpatrick found Parker for another touchdown a few minutes later, cutting Philadelphia’s lead down to eight points.
With 4:34 remaining in the third quarter, Philadelphia had a chance tack on at least three points, but Elliott missed a 49-yard field goal for his first miss of the season.
The Dolphins took full advantage and scored their first touchdown of the second half as Fitzpatrick found tight end Mike Giescki in the back of the end zone.
With unease already surrounding the organization entering Week 13, a 28-26 lead after three quarters provided little relief.
Things got worse in the fourth quarter when Miami running back Patrick Laird scored a rushing touchdown and converted a two-point conversion to give Miami a 34-28 lead.
The teams would trade field goals in the final minutes, providing Wentz with a chance to tie the game with a hail mary as time expired. But it was intercepted in the back of the end zone to saddle the Eagles with their worst loss of the season.