“This is Our New Norm” – Ten Takeaways from Dolphins 37, Eagles 31

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

When Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception on the very first play, you thought it might be one of those days. It might be one of those days where a stinky team just rolls over and dies while collecting a game check and moving on to whatever comes next.

It did happen, but it happened to the Eagles, not the Dolphins. The Birds were the stinky team that rolled over and died, with Jim Schwartz’s defense putting up the resistance of a paper bag that once held ACME canned goods, but it got wet, the bottom fell out, and it was discarded along Oregon Avenue. The cornerbacks looked like Walmart greeters trying to prevent a Black Friday trampling.

It was worse than the scoreline would have you believe. The Eagles ran into an opponent with nothing to lose, coached by a staff that rolled out a kitchen sink of 4th down attempts, an onside kick, and a gadget play where the punter threw a touchdown to the kicker. Miami was fun and aggressive while the Eagles looked like a Wawa cashier struggling to find the right cigarettes for the guy standing at the front of the line, holding everybody else up and ultimately wasting our time.

I know Jeffrey Lurie isn’t the type of owner to speak after games, but if ever there was an opportunity for him to get in front of the cameras and call out this nonsense for what it is, it’s right now. Turns out the “new norm” is feckless football, complemented by a lack of heart, talent, and creativity. This is the lowest point we’ve hit since the Super Bowl win.

Other than all of that, it was a good team performance!

1. Carson Wentz and a moving pocket

They didn’t lose the game because of the quarterback, though I sense that Sunday’s outing wasn’t enough to satisfy the Carson Wentz haters. Theoretically, 31 points should be enough to beat the Miami Dolphins, and if Zach Ertz brought Freddie Mitchell’s hands to South Florida, then maybe things would have turned out differently.

What I liked from Wentz on Sunday:

  • hitting Miles Sanders this time on a wide-open swing pass
  • the back shoulder toss for Alshon Jeffery on the 2nd drive
  • tight window to Nelson Agholor on that third down
  • on the second touchdown pass, extending the play with his legs
  • the very pretty pass on the two-point conversion
  • staying in the pocket for the deep shot to Jeffery, which resulted in defensive pass interference
  • the 4th quarter sideline throw for Agholor, which was overturned and ruled a catch
  • the end zone toss to Ertz, which he couldn’t haul in

Honest to God, no sarcasm here, I thought Doug Pederson and Mike Groh did a better job getting Wentz moving with some designed roll outs and play-action plays. He looked better when he was mobile, and even though this one was improvised, I thought it was one of his best sequences of the day:

3rd and goal from the 15, so it’s touchdown or bust on that play. Good awareness to feel the pocket collapse, shift to his right, and then have enough patience to wait for a receiver to get open.

What I did not like:

  • throwing the ball directly at a defender on the second drive
  • sailing a ball high on Agholor
  • on the play-action from the shotgun on the third drive, he probably should have just hit Ertz on the short release
  • right before halftime, overthrowing Agholor in the flat
  • held the ball too long on the 3rd and 7 sack, though nobody was open (just throw it away and take the shorter field goal try)
  • overthrew Jeffery on the sideline in the 3rd quarter, play right after the penalty
  • throwing deep into double coverage for Jeffery

Shrug. I dunno what else to say about Wentz. He threw for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, and if Ertz converts one of those plays, we’re probably talking about a 6-6 Eagles squad right now. It would also have helped if the defense showed one-tenth of a pulse instead putting the team in a shootout with a god-awful Miami squad.

The quarterback can be better, as we all know, but he wasn’t problem #1 in this loss.

2. Paying homage to Izel Jenkins

If you’re under the age of 30, you probably don’t remember legendary Eagles cornerback Izel Jenkins, who was nicknamed “toast” because he always got burned by opposing receivers.

Sunday, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby were paying homage to the man as they took turns getting absolutely roasted by DeVante Parker and others.

Take your pick of plays, but I’ll go with this one, where Mills didn’t even jump to contest the pass:

They’re playing zone there, so Kamu Grugier-Hill is going to pass off Gesicki to Mills, who just.. I don’t know. He doesn’t jump. He doesn’t seem to think the ball is going in his direction. Fitzpatrick throws a nice high pass towards a size mismatch, but Mills does such a poor job tracking and timing whatever challenge that was.

I’ll say this, however –

At least Mills and Darby talked to reporters after the game. Some of the other main guys declined, which tells you all you need to know about this 2019 squad.

3. Driving down the field, with the Dolphins

Fitzpatrick has thrown for 767 yards and seven touchdowns in the last two games against Schwartz’s defense.

After the Eagles went up 10-0, he led the Dolphins on drives of:

  • 6 plays, 84 yards, touchdown (2:40 off the clock)
  • 13 plays, 75 yards, touchdown (6:29 off the clock)
  • 6 plays, 75 yards, touchdown (2:59 off the clock)
  • 6 plays, 61 yards, touchdown (3:24 off the clock)
  • 9 plays, 96 yards, touchdown (3:36 off the clock)
  • 13 plays, 50 yards, field goal (5:52 off the clock)

Those drives weren’t even long. Miami was just rolling right down the field, playing fast and loose and dropping bombs on your moms. Only two of their scoring drives went longer than 10 plays, and one of those was the field goal.

I’m not exactly sure how the Eagles do a fantastic job against the Patriots (Tom Brady) and Seahawks (Russell Wilson), then get sliced and diced by the Dolphins. It’s beyond appalling.

4. “High-pointing” the football

I rarely devote an entry to an opposing player, but it was genuinely enjoyable watching DeVante Parker play on Sunday.

Why?

Because he does what Eagle receivers haven’t been able to do for years, which is high-point a ball. That’s just a fancy way of saying that he attacks the ball at a position where he can extend over the defensive back and limit the chance of a pass break-up.

Behold, some screen shots of Parker snagging footballs in perfect spots:

I’d love to see an Eagle receiver do that. One can dream.

5. When the punter throws a touchdown pass to the kicker

For the third straight week, the Eagles were cooked on a trick play.

This time the god damn kicker caught a SHOVEL PASS from the punter, who had lined up behind a single lineman with the nine other players split out wide. Andy Reid would have loved to come up with this play:

Question:

Why not call a timeout there? Get yourself sorted, first off. Second, the stoppage also serves to make Miami think twice about running that play, right? Maybe they say, ‘you know what, fuck it, let’s just kick the field goal instead.’

But yeah, somebody has gotta be running down the sideline there screaming for a timeout. Run onto the field, throw your hat at the ref, do something like that.

6. Mistakes and breaks

Shockingly, the Eagles committed more gaffes:

Mistakes:

  • false start penalty on the 4th and 2 roll out that would have moved the sticks
  • a second false start in the red zone
  • Ertz dropped pass (might have found the end zone on the first one)
  • Jake Elliott missing his first field goal of the season
  • Tim Jernigan not exactly a fantastic penalty for hitting Fitzpatrick (had two on the day)
  • Nigel Bradham dropping what looked like a pick-six
  • Ertz another end zone drop (good defensive play as well, in my mind)

OF COURSE Jake Elliott missed his first field after signing the new contract. He’s now 17-18 this year and that 49-yard miss would have put the Birds up 31-20 with 4:34 remaining in the third.

Breaks:

  • Dolphins corner dropping the interception after Ertz fell down
  • Miami missed extra point

RE: the refs –

I’m not sure what the hell was up with the called pick play on the 3rd down where Jeffery was also contacted beyond the line of scrimmage. Just throw offsetting flags and replay the down. Thankfully for the Eagles, that Agholor catch was overturned, which gave them some life, but it felt like the refs were inconsistent overall on the day.

7. Ancillary wins and losses

Only two truly bad numbers here:

  • lost time of possession 31:18 to 28:42
  • 0 turnover margin (was +1 until final play of the game)
  • 7-14 on third down (50%)
  • 0-0 on fourth down
  • allowed Dolphins to go 5-12 on third down (41.6%)
  • lost 16 yards on 2 sacks
  • 3-4 success rate in the red zone
  • 10 penalties for 91 yards
  • 23 first downs, 26 for Dolphins
  • ran 67 total plays, Miami 63

Penalties and time of possession, not great. They typically do well in both of those areas but stunk it up on Sunday. Everything else was typical Eagles – good third down number, didn’t take too many sacks, etc. Bummer.

8. Doug’s best call?

Some of the designed pocket-moving plays for Wentz.

That’s it.

9. Doug’s worst call?

Not enough running of the ball. A 46 to 19 pass/run ratio against a team that is hideous against the run is just unfathomable to me. Miles Sanders was running for 4.9 yards a pop and only got the ball 17 times, which very easily could have been 18-22 carries in Jordan Howard’s absence. Miami came into this game allowing 148.2 yards on the ground and the Eagles mustered only 92 because they decided to chuck it on 71% of their plays instead.

Here’s how Judge Judy reacted when finding out that the Eagles only ran the ball 19 times against the NFL’s 31st-ranked run defense:

10. Broadcast notes

Kenny Albert and Ronde Barber with Pete Schrager. The Eagles always play like dog shit when Albert is on the call and I’m not sure why that is.

Barber seemed to be having fun, not taking the game too seriously. I heard him say Nathan “Jerry” at one point, and Carson “Palmer” was another good flub, though he corrected himself mid-sentence on that one. I also believe there was a shot during the broadcast where people appeared to be playing dominoes, and Barber said “that’s definitely Mahjong.”

But the best of all was the accidental F bomb heard on live television:

“…to run up and throw on the move like he does, but he fucking, he finds plays…”

Good point by Barber; Fitzpatrick does fucking find plays to make, especially against Philadelphia.

I also agreed with Ronde when he said the Eagles would be “disappointed” with this performance. That was a good observation by him.

Anyway, it’s another crappy and cold Monday in the Delaware Valley, but let’s try to have a laugh as we wrap up this Pulitzer Prize-winning article:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

22 Comments

  • Gary December 2, 2019 at 8:50 am

    This season is in Howie, Rowe, and the receivers. That’s it.

    Reply
    • Lex luther, ruler of australia December 2, 2019 at 10:31 am

      You have to love the irony here. Parker has been on the trade block for over 2 years. The Eagles have needed WR help for 2 years. Reports are that Howie talked to Miami about him at one point but didn’t pull the trigger. Parker had to have been cheaper than the 3rd rounder they spent on Tate. But wait…the precious compensatory pick thing with Tate was a next level smart and savvy GM move, wasn’t it?

      Reply
  • Dick Vermeil December 2, 2019 at 8:51 am

    I love when this clown ass football team loses! All you morons that thought Doug Pederson was the second coming of Vince Lombardi. The only reason why Pederson won the Super Bowl was because of Frank Reich. I told you then and I will tell you now! Belichick has six super bowl wins but losing to idiot Pederson will always make him sick!

    Reply
  • DGunn aka mr softball question December 2, 2019 at 8:54 am

    Were the Dolphins wide receivers getting away with push offs?

    Reply
  • johnny upton December 2, 2019 at 9:12 am

    these guys are a fuckin disgrace!

    Reply
  • Cuz not releasing plays this weekend cost me $$$ December 2, 2019 at 9:19 am

    I can’t believe my dumb ass had the eagles tied up in a bunch of $$ line parlays and teaser bets . All the had to do was win and cover +3 and I would have had a nice Christmas for the family .

    Yo Doug how bout maybe calling a timeout on the trick play formation . Possibly mix in a couple run plays with Sanders. Yo Jimbo how about maybe adjusting the defense a little when that bearded freak is torching you once again .
    I hate this fucking team. Fuck you Howie

    Reply
  • Dick Vermon December 2, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Buy my Wine!

    Reply
    • JG December 2, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      Gambling ads only on this site, sir.

      Reply
  • Gabe December 2, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Hey Angelo why don’t you be mean to Doug like you were to me! You scared of Doug is the word on the street!

    Reply
  • Casino December 2, 2019 at 9:22 am

    thanks eagles check is in the mail!

    Reply
  • My Son December 2, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Thanks Eagles Daddy lost all his money on gambling you fucking jerks now I get no christmas presents! fuck you!

    Reply
  • Dougs Barber December 2, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Same cut again? 80s was a great decade but time to update Dougie.

    Reply
  • Casino Betting Machine December 2, 2019 at 9:30 am

    Why does the same element stand at me trying to make a decision for 20 minutes holding up the line on game day while there is a line of 50 people waiting to make a bet. Can we get a shot clock installed! Hey homies you got all week oto decide now isn’t the time to stand on da phone talking bout ur gf tryin to make a bet to win 20 dohlars to buy the latest tpain song, holla!

    Reply
    • Pancake December 2, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Drives me insane when they do that . Holding line up putting in $5 parlay bets

      Reply
    • Lenny December 2, 2019 at 11:14 am

      Thats why I love baseball season betting, not a dark cloud in the sky! Walk right up to the machine and make my bet!

      Reply
  • Carson Wentz, 30 Million Dollar Game Manager December 2, 2019 at 9:34 am

    “if Ertz converts one of those plays, we’re probably talking about a 6-6 Eagles squad right now…”

    This is excuse is tired and old.

    Reply
    • Gardner Minschew December 2, 2019 at 9:48 am

      Not as tired and old as your shtick. Say, how did Saint Nick do yesterday?

      Reply
      • 5 more wins December 2, 2019 at 11:54 am

        Carson has this year, then Mr. Foles…
        5 more wins…

        Reply
        • Truth about Wentz December 2, 2019 at 12:49 pm

          Nick Foles has career, 4 playoff wins and 1 SB. Wentz has lifetime, none and that’s not changing this season.

          Reply
          • The Truth About Foles December 2, 2019 at 3:39 pm

            And as of today couldn’t play his way back into the starting QB role of a 4-8 team. He will be a legend here no matter what but come on with this bullshit. The term “Catching Lightning in a Bottle” has never been more apt.

  • Joe Nickles December 2, 2019 at 9:38 am

    Suddenly Mike Lombardi isn’t such a clown, now is he…and back to the broom closet Howie, your failed drafts have crushed this team’s present and future.

    Reply
  • Mike Bocher December 2, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Doug Pederson is, outside of maybe Freddie in Cleveland, the worst coach in pro football. His players come and go and do whatever they please, absolutely no discipline, no accountability, the playcalling is atrocious, the gameplan abysmal, the team softer than a down pillow – Dougie P has absolutely no clue what to do and it shows on his blank face and blank mind during games and his bumbling joke press conferences, where the media is far too soft on him – after two seasons without Frank Reich, the coaching on the team has been HORRENDOUS from top down. His assistants are horrible and it shows on the field – this team is barely 500 since Reich left – yes, you are what your record says you are. A softer more poorly-coached team is almost impossible to imagine.

    Reply
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *