The Eagles offense couldn’t convert a one-point deficit and good field position into points in three late fourth quartertries Sunday during a 20-19upset loss to the Dolphins.
And as a result, the Eagles not only fell below the .500 mark again, they also lost their starting quarterback and leading rusher to concussions.
What looked like a blowout after 15 minutes later showed how mistake-prone the Eagles are on both offense and defense as the Dolphins came storming back.
And though the Birds had the advantage in most of the important stat categories, badly timed drops and miscues led to their Week 10 demise.
Here are three storylines that dominated during the Eagles’ fifth loss.
With the Eagles leading by three in the third quarter, a nasty hit that sent Sam Bradford into the locker room to begin the Mark Sanchez era (part II) in Philadelphia. After an impressive two and a half quarters (19-for-25, 231 yards and a touchdown), the most anticipated NFL injury occurredto leave the veteran who started eight games in 2014 to lead the Eagles in relief.
Sanchez looked like a confident field general on the field for the Eagles, pushing the offense at a pace even faster than Bradford’s. However on his third drive (after a field goal and punt), the quarterback looked just like his predecessor, with an interception in the end zone to Reshad Jones ending what could have been the Eagles’ game-winning drive (with the score 20-19 Dolphins).
Philly got one more try and after one first down, the offense failed to convert a fourth and ten at midfield (a pass to Matthews didn’t advance him past the first-down marker). In all Sanchez was 14-for-26 for 156 yards and an interception.
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Maybe the Eagles cursed themselves with a red-hot start out of the shoot.
The Eagles had their foot on the throttle early, with a Brent Celek 60-yard catch and run starting things off for Philly. Two plays later Josh Huff made a leaping touchdown grasp on a play extended by a scrambling Sam Bradford to put the Eagles ahead 7-3. It was the first time all season the Eagles scored a touchdown on their opening drive (and just the second first quarter touchdown of the year).
To add even more fuel to the fire, the Eagles took advantage of a Miami mistake on the ensuing kickoff, causing a sack, fumble and safety (from safety Walter Thurmond)with the Dolphins pinned at their own 1-yardlineto jump ahead 9-0. It was their first safety since 2013.
Ryan Mathews added six more points on the Eagles’ next drive, putting the Eagles ahead 16-3 after the first 15 minutes. Philly was the worst in the NFL in first-quarter scoring heading onto the game at 1.2 points per game (just 10 total) through their first eight.
Caleb Sturgis missed a chip shot field goal in the second quarter. Later that same period, the Eagles’ first bunt was blocked giving the Dolphins an extremely short field at the Philadelphia 12-yardline. Ryan Tannehill was able to turn the big special teams play into points for the Fins, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 16-13 after a 13-yard TD pass to Miller.
Bradford also made his share of mistakes, three times fumbling (two of them on key third down plays). All three recovered by the Eagles themselves, but did directly lead to punts.
After allowing the Dolphins to drive deep into Philly territoryas the third quarter wound down, a bizarre touchdown on a batted ball, by Connor Barwin, put Miami on top 20-16. Tannehill appeared to throw the ball into a lunging Barwin, sending the football skyward into the end zone.
In a scene resembling an NBA jump ball, Jarvis Landry somehow came up with the ball to secure a much-needed Dolphins touchdown.