Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Dolphins
**This was edited and updated 12/2**
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - The Philadelphia Eagles headed south for a much-needed win. But they left with a gut-wrenching 37-31 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The Eagles defense made a statement on the first play of the game when Ronald Darby intercepted a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass setting up the Philadelphia offense with the ball in the red zone. Three plays later Carson Wentz found Miles Sanders in the flat and he scored from 15 yards out.
The Dolphins took the lead in the second quarter thanks to a trick play on fourth and goal that resulted in a touchdown. The Eagles battled back and answered with a touchdown from Wentz to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside with six seconds remaining in the first half. They added a two-point conversion to hold a 21-14 lead at the break.
The Eagles grabbed a 28-14 lead in the third quarter but ultimately were outscored 23-3 the rest of the way and as a result fall to 5-7 overall. They trail the Dallas Cowboys by one game in the NFC East.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Miles Sanders - Sanders had arguably his best all-around game of his rookie season. He started the scoring for the Eagles on their third offensive play of the game when he was wide open in the flat and caught a pass for a 15 yard touchdown. Sanders rushed the ball well too. He hit the holes that were there and took what he could get. He also got the corner a few times for some solid gains. Sanders carried the ball 17 times for 83 yards. He also caught five passes for 22 yards and a touchdown.
Alshon Jeffery - Jeffery returned to the lineup and Wentz appeared to enjoy having him back. The pair connected numerous times including for a 10 yard touchdown in the third quarter. Jeffery made some nice catches in the game. He also caught a couple of passes in traffic to help move the chains. Jeffery hauled in nine passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.
Carson Wentz - Wentz had a pretty good game overall. He got off to an inconsistent start in the first half. His mechanics were not solid and it resulted in some more throws that sailed high or wide. Wentz settled down in the second half and moved the team up and down the field. He found some good chemistry with Alshon Jeffery. Wentz completed 28 of 46 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns with an interception on the Hail Mary at the end of the game.
Jake Elliott - Elliott provided a good chunk of points for the Eagles early in the game. He booted field goals from 48 and 43 yards out in the first half. Elliott added another field goal in the fourth quarter. However, he appeared human when a 49 yard attempt just hooked left and missed earlier in the game.
Derek Barnett - Barnett was a pain in the Dolphins backside on multiple occasions. He was harassing Ryan Fitzpatrick with hurries or sacks. It was nice to see the former first round pick produce like that in this game. Now he has to get more consistent from game to game. Barnett finished second on the team with six tackles including one sack, two tackles for a loss and four quarterback hits.
Fletcher Cox - Cox disrupted a lot of what the Dolphins were looking to do up the middle. He helped shut down the run. Cox also made Fitzpatrick uncomfortable at times in the pocket. He had two tackles including a half a sack and two quarterback hits.
Jalen Mills - Mills got beat on multiple plays for touchdowns. Granted, he was in a mismatch against taller receivers, but could have played those passes a little better with his body. Instead, he allowed two touchdowns on jump balls. Mills was later called for a costly pass interference penalty on third down in the fourth quarter allowing a Dolphins drive to continue.
Ronald Darby - Darby helped the Eagles get off to a good start. He picked up an interception on the first play of the game setting the Eagles offense up with their first possession inside the red zone. That drive ended with a touchdown. But Darby struggled later in the game trying to defend passes from Devonte Parker. Parker won a pair of jump balls over Darby for big gains including a touchdown.
Tim Jernigan - Jernigan was doing a good job of getting to Ryan Fitzpatrick but failed to avoid roughing the passer multiple times. He was called for a pair of roughing the passer penalties that kept the ball moving for the Dolphins. Jernigan has to have better judgment and avoid those killer penalties.
Doug Pederson - Pederson made a big mistake in my mind when the Dolphins lined up for a field goal trailing 13-7 and then split wide into a truck play formation. Pederson should have called a timeout and reset his defense to make sure they were ready for it. Instead, the play continued and the Dolphins got a huge jolt from a fourth and goal touchdown pass from the punter to the kicker. Other than that, Pederson called a decent game. I frankly thought they would set up the pass more with the run given the Dolphins entered the game ranked 31st against the run. Ultimately the Eagles tallied 386 yards of total offense. However, running the ball more than 19 times would have eaten more time off the clock, perhaps shortened the game a little more and helped to control momentum.
Jim Schwartz - Schwartz was exposed in the sense that the Eagles did not make adjustments to match what the Dolphins did in the second half. Sure, the Dolphins scored on a trick play. But with a 28-14 lead in the second half, his defense did not combat what Miami did to avoid putting Fitzpatrick under such intense pressure with the pass rush. Also, Schwartz did not devise a plan to help his undersized corners who were getting beat on jump balls by Devonte Parker and Mike Gesicki. Along with that, his defense continued to take some undisciplined and costly penalties that helped to extend drives.