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December 01, 2019

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Dolphins game

Eagles NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles strolled into Miami, and smacked around the lifeless, hopeless Dolphins, winning by the score of... Wait, what? The Dolphins beat the Eagles? And the Eagles gave up 37 points to them? How did that happen?

As always, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Hot Knife Through Butter' Award: The Dolphins' offense, going through the Eagles' defense

There was a stretch during this game from when there was 5:45 left in the first quarter until there was 3:37 left in regulation in which the Eagles simply couldn't get the Dolphins off the field. The Dolphins had the following six drives, not including a one-kneeldown drive to end the first half:

  1. 6 plays, 84 yards, 2:40, Touchdown
  2. 13 plays, 75 yards, 6:29, Touchdown
  3. 6 plays, 75 yards, 2:59, Touchdown
  4. 6 plays, 61 yards, 3:24, Touchdown
  5. 9 plays, 96 yards, 3:36, Touchdown
  6. 13 plays, 50 yards, 5:53, Field Goal to go up two scores

Heading into this game, here is where the Dolphins ranked in some basic offensive categories:

 Dolphins offenseStat NFL Rank 
 Points per game14.8 30th 
 Yards per game264.9 30th 
 Yards per play4.4 32nd 
 First downs per game17.3 28th 
 Turnovers22 29th 

Against the Eagles, the Dolphins scored 37 points, they racked up 409 yards, they gained 6.5 yards per play, they had 26 first downs, and they only turned the ball over once on a play in which the Eagles should have probably been flagged for pass interference.

The Eagles' defense was beginning to look good after some expectation-beating performances against the Bills, Bears, Patriots, and Seahawks. It looked like they saved up all their badness for this matchup, because they were atrocious.

2) The 'No, Doug, They're Not a Good Team' Award: Doug Pederson

In his post-game press conference, Pederson remarked repeatedly that the Dolphins are a good football team. As we noted above, the Dolphins' offense is very, very bad. The numbers don't lie. But maybe the defense, which Pederson studied all week because he runs the offense, is good? Maybe that's why he said they're good?


Heading into this game, here is where the Dolphins ranked in the same basic categories laid out above, but on the defensive side of the ball:

 Dolphins offenseStat NFL Rank 
 Points allowed per game31.5 32nd 
 Yards allowed per game400.9 30th 
 Yards allowed per play6.2 31st 
 First downs allowed per game22.6 30th 

Oh, and they were missing like eight players in their secondary.

The Dolphins are decidedly not a good football team, and saying that they are downplays the shit sandwich product the Eagles put on the field against them.

3) The 'You Got Mossed' Award: Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills

Like he did in the preseason during the 2017 season, Darby got "mossed," twice, by DeVante Parker. The first one was a 43-yard touchdown.

The second was a 42-yard gain that led to the Dolphins' second touchdown.

And then for good measure, Parker mossed Mills in the red zone for a TD.

The Eagles could have traded for Parker in either of the last two seasons, and would be their best receiver right now. Instead they traded a third-round pick for 8 games of Golden Tate last season, and a fourth-round pick for Genard Avery, who isn't getting playing time.

And finally, Penn State alum Mike Gesicki mossed Mills:

Darby and Mills were in reasonably good position to make some of those plays, but simply could not match the length and athleticism of their opponent. Maybe they're just not good enough?

4) The 'Not For Long' Award: The Eagles' pass rush

The Eagles' pass rush came out hot, heavily pressuring Ryan Fitzpatrick early, but it was fleeting. Once the Dolphins got rolling offensively, the Birds' pass rush died. 

I'm sure the excuse will be that the Dolphins started keeping more guys in to block, or that Fitzpatrick starting getting the ball out quicker. That's tired. It's not as if the Eagles' pass rushers didn't have their opportunities anyway, and they couldn't capitalize against a very bad Miami offensive line.

5) The 'Points Left On the Board' Award: Zach Ertz

Zach Ertz was listed as questionable heading into this game, and he would have been better off if he didn't play, as he probably left three touchdowns on the board:

  1. In the first quarter, he fell on his own (no contact with a defender) on a ball that would have otherwise been on the money, that was instead almost intercepted.
  2. With an 8-point lead in the third quarter at the Miami 20, Ertz got wide open and dropped a ball right that was head-high right in his hands that likely would have gone for a score. At a minimum, the Eagles would have had 1st and Goal from inside the 5. Instead, Carson Wentz was sacked for a loss of 10 on the next play, and Jake Elliott missed his first field goal of the season, a 49-yarder. The Dolphins scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. That was a huge momentum- and game-shifting play.
  3. And finally, he got two hands on a ball in the back of the end zone very late in the game that he should have had, but was out-muscled by the defender.

This was Ertz's worst game since the Eagles-Bengals debacle of 2016.

6) The 'Fool Me Three Times, Shame On All of Us for Still Watching' Award: The Eagles vs. trick plays

For the third consecutive week, the Eagles were fooled on a trick play that went for a touchdown. This time, the Dolphins' holder threw to the kicker for a TD.

The Dolphins' kicker now has more TD receptions this season than Mack Hollins.

7) The 'Shoot Self in Foot' Award: The Eagles' game-changing penalties

The Eagles had 10 penalties for 91 yards. Many of them either extended Dolphins drives, or stalled Eagles drives. What's one way to lose to a 2-9 team? Yep, commit a lot of dumb penalties.

8) The 'Philly Killer' Award: Ryan Fitzpatrick

As we may have noted a few times already, the Eagles lost to a very, very bad team. But giving credit where it's due, Fitzpatrick played very well, completing 27 of 39 passes for 365 yards, 3 TDs, and a pick that shouldn't have counted.

Last year when he was with the Bucs, he completed 27 of 33 passes for 402 yards and 4 TDs. Add him to the list of Philly killers. 

9) The 'Here Comes the Mob' Award: Carson Wentz

Wentz had some plays that he'd like to have back in this game. He also had some great throws. On the day, he was 28 of 46 for 310 yards, 3 TDs, and a pick on a Hail Mary.

Unquestionably, this has been an under-performing season for Wentz. At the same time, this game, in my view, mirrors most of the rest of this season, in that he's not at the top of the list of this team's problems, but criticism is going to continue to hone in on him, and is going to get louder after this loss.

10) The 'Better Off Dead' Award: The Eagles' playoff hopes

If the Eagles run the table the rest of the way (LOL!), they will clinch the NFC East. They still "control their own destiny!" 

Who cares? They are going nowhere, and winning the absolutely atrocious NFC East is only going to give them a draft pick somewhere in the 20's. If the season ended today, by the way, the Eagles would be picking 12th, per

The Eagles badly need an impact player on the offensive side of the ball. That's probably more important that being one-and-done in the playoffs.

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