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Week 13 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 31, Miami Dolphins 37


What you need to know

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles offense was not the problem against the inspired Dolphins as Philadelphia was shocked with a road loss in Miami. The Eagles bolted out to a lead, but their defense rarely forced a stop in the second half as the secondary was gashed by repetitive high-point plays by Mike Gesicki and (mostly) DeVante Parker to the tune of a career day. Miles Sanders and Dallas Goedert were featured with Jordan Howard still out and Zach Ertz iffy entering the weekend to even play. While active, Ertz was a secondary target within the passing game. Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor returned to the lineup, a welcome sight for a previously gutted wide receiver corps as the passing game did rebound with the quality matchup for more than 300 yards and a trio of touchdowns.

Miami Dolphins

In one of the more surprising games of the weekend, Miami was able to walk away with their third win of the season after beating the Philadelphia Eagles. It was not without consequence, after they lost their starting running back to injury for the rest of the season. DeVante Parker looks like a legitimate number 1 receiver in this offense and made several big catches deep down the field over Philadelphia defenders. Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked 3 times but still looked to have more time in the pocket than any other time this season and was able to bring Miami back from a 28-14 hole early in the second half. Miami also pulled off one of the greatest trick plays of the season when holder Matt Haack took a direct snap from the 1-yard line, rolled to his right, and tossed a touchdown pass to kicker Jason Sanders. Haack was lined up in the middle of the field with just the long snapper and the rest of the offense were in 2 bunch formations on opposite side lines. It was an amazing play that gave Miami a brief 14-13 lead at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. The defense held their own and sacked Carson Wentz twice and came down with an interception on the final Hail Mary attempt of the game. The ball was not knocked down and there was a brief moment it looked like an Eagles player was going to make a catch on the final play. Miami has 3 very winnable games against the Jets, Giants, and Bengals in the next 3 weeks and could continue to watch their high draft pick slide down the board.

Philadelphia Eagles

QB Carson Wentz, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 46 - 310 - 3 TD / 1 INT
Wentz rebounded in Miami, posting his first 300-yard game in nearly two months and the same with at least three touchdowns. Wentz did not scramble in the game, a rarity for the mobile quarterback, as he rolled out on many occasions and was fueled by the return of Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor to a maligned wide receiver group. Wentz at two near interceptions in addition to a hail mary interception on the final play of the game in a comeback attempt. Wentz was surgical at times with stick throws downfield to Alshon Jeffery on two occasions and a perfect corner route to Nelson Agholor on a two-point conversion. The Giants and Washington continue the string of quality matchups for Wentz and the passing game as their playoff chances dwindle with the crushing road loss to Miami.

RB Miles Sanders, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 83 - 0, Rec: 5 - 22 - 1 (5 targets)
Sanders dominated the Eagles backfield as expected with Jordan Howard out against Miami. Jay Ajayi sparsely played and the rookie saw a by-far career high 22 touches as a result. Sandersí interior rushing attempts were the best combination of power, cutting, and vision of his young career, consistently churning through contact and showing speed to the edge when required. Sanders added a walk-in swing route touchdown as a receiver, getting lost in coverage by the Miami secondary. Sanders was stuffed on two other receptions to prevent an even bigger performance.

WR Alshon Jeffery, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 137 - 1 (16 targets)
Jeffery returned to the lineup for the Eagles injury-riddled wide receiver group against Miami and more than doubled the targets of any other player in the road loss. Jeffery was an intermediate route maven and the chemistry with Carson Wentz was pronounced. Jeffery extended on a contested seam route to make a chunk gain and powered through a defender on a red zone hitch later for a touchdown. Jeffery added two deeper route receptions in the second half and drew a long defensive pass interference penalty in addition to his season-high performance. The Giants offers another exploitable matchup for Jeffery next week.

WR Nelson Agholor, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (6 targets)
Agholor was back in the lineup after a one-game absence as the secondary target to Alshon Jeffery. Agholor had two targets thwarted by poor throws by Carson Wentz, however, the pair connected on a perfect deep sideline target and a corner route two-point conversion. Agholorís long after-the-catch opportunity where he broke a tackle was called back by penalty. Agholor has not found the end zone since Week 3 but has another optimistic matchup next week against the Giants.

TE Dallas Goedert, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 66 - 0 (7 targets)
Goedert had one of his best games of the season with Zach Ertz questionable entering the game but ultimately being active against the Dolphins. Goedert collected after-the-catch yardage on three of his receptions, including an over-the-middle jaunt for more than 20 yards. Goedert has been regularly featured on designed screen passes this season and this week was no exception with a chunk gain. Goedert also had a reception called back by penalty, his own false start, on the play. Goedert has at least five targets in each of the last five games and a hearty 21 targets over the last three.

TE Zach Ertz, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (6 targets)
Ertz was a question mark to be active against Miami but played and saw six targets despite Dallas Goedert being the featured tight end. Ertz had one notable reception, finding after-the-catch yardage for more than 10 yards, but was otherwise held in check. Ertz added a drop and nearly scored late in the game on an end zone target which was knocked out by a defender at the last moment.


Miami Dolphins

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 39 - 365 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 2 - 0
The Eagles secondary struggled to cover anyone this week and saw the field goal holder throw a touchdown to the kicker. With that fact in mind, the season high 365 yards and 3 touchdowns from Fitzpatrick make a lot more sense. The opening drive looked like the early part of the season for the Dolphins with Fitzpatrick throwing an interception on the very first play. He was looking for Parker across the middle and threw it just behind his receiver. Ronald Darby came down with the interception and Philadelphia went down and drove for the gameís first touchdown. Things went much better from there with Fitzpatrick connecting with Parker for 2 touchdowns. The first came on a 43-yard bomb deep down the left side. It was a 4th and 4 play where Fitzpatrick laid the ball up to Parker down the sideline. He went up and over Darby who fell on the play and Parker was able to tip toe down the side line and in for the score. The second touchdown was of the 17-yard variety and came on the heels of a 21-yard pass to Mike Gesicki. Fitzpatrick again laid the ball up to Parker, this time down the right-side line and in the end zone. Parker went up between 2 defenders and made the catch in the back of the end zone. There was some griping about offensive pass interference, but it was a clean play for the touchdown. The third touchdown was a 14-yard strike to Gesicki. Fitzpatrick was flushed out of the pocket and rolled to the right where he was able to find his big tight end in the corner of the end zone after running a wheel route. The broken play made the defender come up to play the run and gave Gesicki just enough room in the back of the end zone to make the catch. This game was vintage Fitzpatrick. He threw the ball deep down the field, took chances, and played with a sort of swagger we have not seen in Miami this season. He has 3 very winnable games in the next 3 weeks before a season ending show down against the Patriots.

RB Patrick Laird, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 5 - 1, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (5 targets)
The overall box score may look abysmal for Laird, but he had a very productive game after taking over for the injured Ballage. He also came up big when it mattered most and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the 4th quarter. After big pass plays to Gesicki and Parker, it was Laird who punched it in from 4 yards out. It was a pure power run up the middle that he was able to punch in for the score. He then caught the 2-point conversion pass on the very next play from Fitzpatrick. He may have only averaged .5 yards per carry, but he played an important role in the 4th quarter and led the team In carries by a wide margin. Myles Gaskin is the only other competition for carries right now and it should be Laird the rest of the way leading the back field.

RB Kalen Ballage, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 0 - 0 (1 targets)
While the end result may have been positive for Miami, they lost their starting running back to a knee injury. Ballage was carted off the field and his season is expected to be over. He struggled since taking over the leading duties and that continued today with 0 net yards on 3 carries. He was given every opportunity as players in front of him were traded or released and he was just not able to make anything happen. Patrick Laird led the back field after the injury to Ballage.

WR Albert Wilson, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 31 - 0, Rec: 5 - 32 - 0 (5 targets)
All of the touchdowns may have gone to Parker, Gesicki, and Laird, but it was Wilson who did it all this week. He led the team in rushing with only 2 carries. He ripped off a 28-yard run off the edge after Ballage took the direct snap and pitched it to Wilson who was coming in motion. That one carry accounted for more yards on the ground than any other player had for the entire game. Wilson also caught all 5 of his targets with the longest catch going for 13 yards and a first down. He may not have had the long catches or scored the touchdowns this week, but he consistently helped move the chains and has seen an increased role since Jakeem Grant went down with an injury.

WR DeVante Parker, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 159 - 2 (10 targets)
The Dolphins must be glad they could not work out a trade partner for Parker as he has turned into a true number 1 receiving option in this offense down the stretch. He caught 7 of his 10 targets for over 150 yards and 2 touchdowns this week. Philadelphia has been one of the worst defenses when it comes to covering receivers on the outside and Parker and Fitzpatrick took full advantage of that. After an errant pass behind Parker led to an interception on the first play of the game, the new dynamic duo torched the Eagles defense with several deep shots down the field. Parkers first touchdown was a 43-yard bomb deep down the left side. It was a 4th and 4 play where Fitzpatrick laid the ball up to Parker down the sideline. He went up and over Darby who fell on the play and Parker was able to tip toe down the side line and in for the score. The second touchdown was of the 17-yard variety and came on the heels of a 21-yard pass to Mike Gesicki. Fitzpatrick again laid the ball up to Parker, this time down the right-side line and in the end zone. Parker went up between 2 defenders and made the catch in the back of the end zone. There was some griping about offensive pass interference, but it was a clean play for the touchdown. Parkerís longest play of the game was his 43-yard touchdown, but he also had a key 34-yard catch to help setup the Patrick Laird touchdown run in the 4th quarter. Parker struggled with drops early in his career but has started to catch just about everything thrown his way this season. He has emerged as the top option in this offense and has 3 very favorable matchups in the next 3 weeks to continue to put up big numbers. He is well on his way to a 1,000-yard season and could finish with 8-10 touchdowns.

WR Allen Hurns, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (4 targets)
It was not the most productive game for Hurns, but his 3 catches did help set up key moments in the game for other players to score. Hurns caught 3 of his 4 targets and averaged 11 yards per catch. He has soaked up some of the targets that would have gone to Jakeem Grant and Preston Williams before they were lost to injury. He continues to fill the same role that Kenny Stills had a year ago and always has the chance to break a long play. He did not get the box scoring garbage time touchdown at the end of the game this week, but he continues to be effective in this offense. Hurns should have a good chance to do some damage in the upcoming weeks with games against the Jets, Giants, and Bengals on the schedule.

TE Mike Gesicki, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 79 - 1 (7 targets)
The rookie tight end now has his second career touchdown in as many weeks and is starting to play the role everyone had envisioned for him in this offense. He was the second leading receiver behind Parker this week and did a lot of damage outside of his touchdown catch. Gesicki caught 5 of his 7 targets including his 14-yard touchdown. Fitzpatrick attacked the seams against a weak Philadelphia secondary and used the size of Gesicki against the smaller defenders. He had a pair of 21-yard catches up the seam to help set up pivotal touchdowns for Miami. His 14-yard touchdown catch came on a wheel route and some improvisation from Fitzpatrick. Gesicki was attacking a void in the zone coverage when he saw his quarterback flushed out of the pocket to the right. He turned his route up field and settled behind the corner in the back of the end zone. The Eagles defender came crashing down when they thought Fitzpatrick was going to run the ball and did not have enough time to correct and get back to Gesicki before he made the touchdown catch. It was a play that showed great chemistry between the two players and is hopefully a sign of big things to come.