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Alain Poupart: Ugly Quarter Too Much To Overcome

Posted Dec 11, 2011

Some random thoughts and observations on a strange day all around at Sun Life Stadium.

• You can start with the weather, which provided intermittent rain in the early going before the sun came out for good. There was no significant effect, although Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick slipped a few times.

• And, no, it wasn’t because of the rain or a slick jersey that Vick was able to escape the grasp of Dolphins pass rushers on a few occasions. It was just the guy’s incredible quickness and mobility.

• The Dolphins still got to him for four sacks, but that number could have been a lot higher.

• Dolphins quarterbacks Matt Moore and JP Losman didn’t have the same luck avoiding pass rushers, and the result was nine sacks for the Eagles. It’s tough to muster much offense when the quarterback is constantly under duress.

• It also was a strange game with what seemed to be an inordinate amount of yapping on both sides. There also was pushing and shoving throughout, and Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and Philly linebacker Keenan Clayton both were flagged for roughness on the same play after trading shoves that were borderline punches.

• It was a strange day for the Dolphins defense, which completely shut down the explosive Eagles attack for most of the first quarter and the entire third and fourth quarters. Unfortunately for Miami, this game was decided in a painful second quarter.

• Want proof on the previous statement? The Eagles managed 36 yards on their first three drives, and 57 the entire second half.

• That second-quarter collapse wasn’t so much on the defense as it was on turnovers — three of them to be precise. Perhaps the most damaging was the last, Moore’s fumble when he was sacked on a first-and-10 from the Eagles 24-yard line. The Dolphins had just been handed a gift by the Eagles, who decided it might be a good idea to have punt returner DeSean Jackson throw across the field after fielding Brandon Fields’ kick. But the recipient of Jackson’s pass, Curtis Marsh, was hit immediately by Tyrone Culver. The result was a fumble that Culver himself recovered. The Dolphins gave the ball back on the very next play with the Moore fumble, the Eagles marched 73 yards on only four plays and that was pretty much the ballgame.

• This also was a game where the Dolphins got beat up. Tackle Jake Long was lost in the first half, Matt Moore was knocked out of the game in the third quarter, and for good measure Vernon Carey and Vontae Davis also were injured.

• The Dolphins also had problems in short-yardage situations, something they’ve been very good at in the last couple of seasons. Miami was 0-for-4 in third-and-1 or fourth-and-1 situations, and that most definitely was strange.

• What wasn’t strange was the defense shutting down LeSean McCoy. The Dolphins have been stopping everybody in recent weeks. The Eagles running back came in only 3 yards behind the NFL rushing leader (Maurice Jones-Drew) but could manage only 38 yards on 27 carries.

• On the flip side, Reggie Bush had a lot of long runs and finished with 103 yards on only 14 carries.

• And that was another strange development, the way the Dolphins opened up holes in the running game but had problems in pass protection. Of course, the opposing defense had something to do with that.

• Lastly, that 16-yard touchdown pass from Moore to Brandon Marshall that gave the Dolphins a 7-0 lead was about as pretty a throw as we’ve seen in a Dolphins game this season.
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