Eagles Earn Hollow Victory In MiamiBREAKING NEWS, Coaching Staff, Defensive Line, Eagles, Eagles Free Agency, Front Office, General News, Linebackers, News, NFL, Offensive Line, Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Secondary, Special Teams, Tight Ends, Wide Receivers Sunday, December 11th, 2011
The Philadelphia Eagles enjoyed a successful trip down to Miami on Sunday, and picked up a 26-10 victory over the Dolphins. They overcame a slow start, and scored 24 unanswered points to take a commanding 24-7 point lead into the half. Juan Castillo’s defense turned in one of their stronger efforts of the season, collecting nine sacks and forcing three turnovers.
However, this win is about as hollow as they come. What took place in this game isn’t any legitimate sign of improvement. The Eagles were fortunate to be playing a mediocre opponent today. Even though Miami had been playing well entering the game, there just wasn’t any way that an offense that had been carried by a career backup quarterback (Matt Moore), a first-round bust (Reggie Bust), and a banged up offensive line could sustain the level of play that they’d shown against the Raiders and Chiefs in recent weeks.
Today the Dolphins were simply inept. They had control of the game early, and let the Eagles back in with their own mistakes. The game began to turn once Dan Carpenter missed a 55-yard field goal and gave the Philadelphia offense a short field to work with. After that, the Dolphins would commit three costly turnovers, lose a pair of starting offensive lineman to injury, and struggle in key short-yardage situations.
The Dolphins showed what they are today: a bad football team. Even though the Eagles’ defense should be given some credit for their improved play, they haven’t turned a corner by any means. The highest compliment that Juan Castillo can be given for this game is for the blitzes he threw at the Dolphins. Several times in the game, the Eagles lined up with only two down-lineman, and had a trio of players standing up ready to shoot the gaps. This plan of attack generated pressure on Miami quarterbacks Matt Moore and J.P. Losman several times throughout the day, and helped Casey Matthews pick the first sack of his career.
There were several elements of this game that were really disturbing. The Eagles did all that they could to let the Dolphins hang around and get back into the game.
The special teams play that called for DeSean Jackson to throw the ball across the field to Curtis Marsh was a complete disaster. The Eagles led 17-7 at the time, and decided to reach deep into their playbook for a high-risk, cute play that ended in a turnover that gave Miami a short field. Luckily for Reid & company, the inept Dolphins turned the ball over on the following play. The team was in control of the game at the time, and had no need to try such a risky move.
The Eagles’ offense closed up shop after the second quarter. After they scored their final touchdown of the second quarter, they couldn’t do anything to create further separation from the Dolphins. Of their 24 points, 14 of them came as a result of a short field. How will this offense fare against the much more legitimate defense of the New York Jets next week if they couldn’t dominate the Dolphins this week?
By this point in the season, we know what this team is, and we know what their problems are. Though the commentators Tim Ryan and Chris Myers seemed rather optimistic about the Eagles coming together, winning out, and stealing the division, the reality is that a lot of this team’s issues were masked by poor play of the Dolphins, but they’ll resurface soon enough.
– Michael Vick talked about playing a safer, more controlled game during the week. He didn’t follow through on those ideas. Vick allowed the Miami pass rush to shake him up early in the game, and returned to the wild, erratic form that he’s displayed throughout the season. He missed a number of open receivers, and threw in an interception on an ill-advised throw across his body.
– The offensive line had one of their worst games of the season. Though they performed well in some short-yardage situations in the redzone. However, throughout the day they had trouble battling the Miami defensive line. The line allowed constant pressure on Vick, and failed to create running lanes for LeSean McCoy.
– McCoy didn’t gain a lot of rushing yards, picking up just 38 on 27 carries. However, he was able to score two touchdowns on the goalline. The Dolphins did a great job of staying disciplined and shutting down McCoy.
– DeSean Jackson scored just his third touchdown of the season, and his first since the win over the Cowboys.
– Only one catch for 13 yards for Jeremy Maclin in his return. He’s still struggling with his injury problems.
– The defensive tackles really shined today. Derek Landri, Cullen Jenkins, and Mike Patterson all performed exceptionally well. They dominated in short-yardage situations, and stopped the Dolphins on several 4th and 1 situations.
– It seems like every week there are good things to say about Landri. He just keeps working hard and making plays, he’s one of the few players on this defense I want to hang on to beyond this year.
– Trent Cole and Jason Babin each collected three sacks today. Babin (who had his second three-sack game of the year)now has 15 on the season, currently tied for the league lead with DeMarcus Ware. This was the best game the Eagles had gotten from Cole since he injured his calf early in the season.
– Casey Matthews was passable in the nickel role today. He picked up a sack (his first positive play of the season?), but there were several times that he blew coverages or got blown away by an offensive lineman.
– Nnamdi Asomugha gave up another touchdown, this week to Brandon Marshall. What happened to the player that rarely so much as gave up a completion in Oakland?
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