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November 15, 2015

Halftime observations: Eagles 16, Dolphins 13

Back at .500, the Philadelphia Eagles have an opportunity to reel off some wins here against bad teams in the next three weeks. That would include taking care of business against the 3-5 Miami Dolphins in the friendly confines of The Linc.

The Eagles had an awesome first quarter, followed by pretty close to a disastrous second quarter. Hey, at least that’s a little different! Here is what I saw in the first half:

The good

•    Not only did Chip Kelly scrap the terrible swing pass to DeMarco Murray on the opening drive, he dialed up a short throw that Brent Celek took for 60 yards. When Celek is noticeably as fast as the other team’s safety, you get the feeling there is a chance to make quite a few big plays.

•    Speaking of Celek, the Dolphins don’t appear to be too keen on covering tight ends. In a turn-back-the-clock performance to 2009, he had three catches for 120 yards before the break.

•    The Dolphins had the third-and-goal play on the opening drive sniffed out. Sam Bradford shocked the world by keeping the play alive with his legs, getting all the way to the sideline, and lofting a touchdown pass across his body to a wide-open Josh Huff in the back of the end zone. That was a beaut.

•    Ka-boom! After this monster hit by Walter Thurmond, it was pretty funny how much every player on the Eagles defense enjoyed signaling for a safety. Gigantic men acting like little kids. 

•    Statistically, this was a good half for Bradford: 15-19 for 193 yards, 1 touchdown and no picks. After a subpar second quarter, though, he’s going to have to respond in the second half.

The bad

•    Missing you, Jordan Hicks. Running back Lamar Miller beat Mychal Kendricks twice on third down (including a 36-yard reception down the sideline) in the passing game on the Dolphins’ opening drive that resulted in a field goal.

•    32-yard field goals need to be automatic, Caleb Sturgis. We’ll cut you the tiniest bit of slack because of that monster kick in Jerry World last week, but that is really, really bad.

The ugly

•    Whoever’s fault the blocked punt was, that can’t happen. In general, the Eagles should be pretty disappointed with how they let Miami hang around. From Bradford and the offense to the defense to the special teams, everybody had a hand in letting the Dolphins stay close. This shouldn’t be a game at this point.

•    The Eagles got insanely lucky that Olivier Vernon didn’t hold on to the ball after Bradford fumbled. Miami would have had first and goal to take the lead. They got even more insanely lucky that Bradford's awful late interception was negated by a roughing the passer penalty.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann