The Dolphins used some great individual performances and one play for the ages to come up with their third victory of the season Sunday.
The Dolphins scored 23 consecutive points in the second half to overcome a 28-14 deficit and defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 37-31 at Hard Rock Stadium.
Punter Matt Haack threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to kicker Jason Sanders on a fourth-and-goal after taking a snap in shotgun formation as the only player in the pocket behind center Daniel Kilgore, as four players lined up far to the right and five were lined up wide to the left.
After taking the snap, Haack started running to his left, while Sanders snuck behind Eagles defenders from left to right. With Eagles players closing in on him, Haack pitched the ball to Sanders, who caught it while kneeling and then fell over backward.
The play, one of the most creative in Dolphins history, made Sanders the first NFL kicker in the NFL to catch a touchdown pass since 1977 when Jim Turner had a 25-yard reception for the Denver Broncos.
The Dolphins took the lead for good on Patrick Laird’s 4-yard run in the fourth quarter, after which he caught a two-point conversion attempt pass to make it 34-28.
Sanders’ 51-yard field goal with 3:37 left gave the Dolphins a nine-point cushion that all but clinched the victory for the Dolphins.
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott made his third field goal of the game with 1:51 left in regulation, but Dolphins returner Marcus Sherels recovered the ensuing onside kick, and Chris Lammons intercepted Carson Wentz’s Hail Mary in the end zone on the final play.
Two of Fitzpatrick’s touchdown passes went to Parker, the first one a magnificent 43-yard play in the first quarter.
Parker’s score came on a fourth-and-4 when he out-jumped Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby to come down with a high Fitzpatrick pass down the left sideline, and then managed to keep his feet in bounds for the final 20 yards to the end zone.
The two huge plays — the Parker and Sanders touchdowns — gave the Dolphins their points in the first half, after which they trailed 21-14.
The Dolphins went for another big play to start the second half, with Sanders attempting an onside kick.
That one, however, didn’t work because Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards recovered the kick at the Dolphins 47.
After the Eagles to re-establish their 14-point lead, the Dolphins took control.
First, they answered with a flawless 75-yard drive that saw Fitzpatrick go 5-for-5 and Myles Gaskin gain 11 yards on the only rushing attempt of the drive.
The drive started with completions of 11 and 21 yards to Gesicki and ended when Parker perfectly high-pointed Fitzpatrick’s 17-yard pass in the back corner of the end zone.
Linebacker Sam Eguavoen’s sack of Carson Wentz on the ensuing possession pushed back an Eagles field goal attempt, and Jake Elliott was wide left from 49 yards out.
The Dolphins then drove 61 yards for another touchdown, with Fitzpatrick completing four more passes without a miss.
The last pass was a 14-yard hook-up in the back of the end zone to Gesicki with a high pass that went over cornerback Jalen Mills. Fitzpatrick was sacked on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, leaving the Dolphins trailing 28-26.
Wentz threw three touchdown passes for the Eagles and Elliott kicked two field goals.
The game didn’t start off well for the Dolphins.
On the first snap of the game, Parker’s crossing route was disrupted when he collided with Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. That led to Darby being able to get to the spot where Fitzpatrick was throwing and an easy interception.
Three plays later, Wentz connected with Sanders on a 15-yard swing pass and the Eagles had an early 7-0 lead.
After Elliott’s first field goal, the Dolphins answered with Parker’s first touchdown to cut their deficit to 10-7. The drive featured a 28-yard run by Albert Wilson after he took a handoff from Kalen Ballage in the Wildcat formation — it was the longest rushing play of the season for the Dolphins.
Ballage would leave the game in the second quarter with a leg injury.
After a second Eagles field goal, the Dolphins took their first lead of the game on Haack’s TD flick to Sanders, which capped a 75-yard drive.
The big play of the drive was a 42-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Parker, who won a jump ball.
The drive appeared to stall when Fitzpatrick’s third-and-goal pass from the 10 fell incomplete in the corner of the end zone, but the Dolphins successfully challenged that Mills committed defensive pass interference against Parker.
Philadelphia answered with their own touchdown drive, which ended with Wentz’s touchdown pass to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
It capped a wild first half, and set the stage for an equally dramatic second half.