The Dolphins came up with their third victory in five games when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 37-31 at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
We examine the five biggest plays of the game...
1. Parker's fourth-down TD catch
Trailing 10-0 in the final three minutes of the first quarter, it really wasn’t a surprise to see the Dolphins offense stay on the field on a fourth-and-4 from the Eagles 43-yard line. It was a bit more surprising to see Ryan Fitzpatrick throw a deep pass down the left sideline, given the lower percentage of success on those throws. No worries. DeVante Parker was covered one-on-one by the Eagles’ best cornerback, Ronald Darby, on the outside. Fitzpatrick’s pass was perfectly thrown, as it went over Darby into the hands of Parker behind him. Parker landed at the Eagles 19, and did a great job of maintaining his balance and staying in bounds as he ran into the end zone.
2. Fitzpatrick’s 42-yard completion to Parker
This second play involving Parker came on a third-and-13 from the Dolphins 41 when they trailed 13-7 in the second quarter. At this point, it looked as though the Dolphins needed to produce offensively to be able to stay with the Eagles. On this particular play, Parker again was matched up one-on-one with Darby, and Fitzpatrick just threw the ball high and deep as Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox closed in on him. While Darby overran the ball a bit while backpedaling, Parker got himself in perfect position to make another leaping grab before being tackled at the Eagles 17-yard line. The long gain set the stage for the most memorable play of the game.
3. "Mountaineer Shot"
What more can be said about the play of the year for the Dolphins? Eagles coach Doug Pederson said after the game his team was prepared for any gadget play the Dolphins might throw at them and just tipped his hat to the flawless execution. From the Dolphins’ standpoint, they got the look from the Eagles they wanted, and Matt Haack did the rest, complete with his no-look shovel pass to Jason Sanders for the first punter-to-kicker touchdown pass in NFL history. We broke down the play further Sunday.
4. Eguavoen’s sack in the third quarter
While it was the offense and special teams that stole the spotlight on this day, we’d be remiss if we didn’t have at least include one defensive play. It came in the third quarter with the Eagles leading 28-20 and facing a third-and-7 from the Dolphins 20-yard line. Lining up at middle linebacker, Sam Eguavoen rushed up the middle before looping around the right side of the offensive line and getting to Carson Wentz. Eguavoen, who weighs about the same as Wentz but is 5 inches shorter, refused to let Wentz out of his grasp and finally put him down with some help from Taco Charlton and Christian Wilkins. The 10-yard sack pushed Jake Elliott’s field goal attempt to 49 yards and he was wide left for his first miss of the season. Those missed three points left the Eagles needing two scores after they took over possession at their 25 with 3:37 left.
5. Fitzpatrick’s fourth-down completion to Parker in the fourth quarter
Another reason the Eagles needed two scores was Sanders’ clutch 51-yard field goal right before that drive. And that field goal wouldn’t have been possible without the Dolphins converting a fourth-and-1 from the Eagles 38-yard line. This was yet another Fitzpatrick-to-Parker connection, though this one wasn’t a jump ball. Rather, it was a quick slant from the left side and Parker got a just bit ahead of Darby, who nonetheless had very good coverage on the play. But Fitzpatrick threw a perfect pass where only Parker could catch it, and Parker completed the play by grabbing the ball with his arms extended. Even though it was only an 8-yard gain, short by Parker standards on this day, it may have been his most impressive play of the game.