PHILADELPHIA — In the showdown between teams which had been criticized for supposedly not beating any good teams this season, the Eagles prevailed, 31-17, over the Miami Dolphins Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
In the shootout between quarterbacks Jalen Hurts of the Eagles and Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins it was Hurts, by a victory.
Hurts threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to spark the Eagles, getting another monster game from receiver A.J. Brown, who caught 10 passes for 137 yards and one TD. The Eagles survived despite two more Hurts giveaways. But it was Hurts who converted four short yardage Tush Push runs into first downs to lock up the decision.
The Eagles limited Tyreek Hill, the league’s most explosive receiver, to 11 catches worth 88 yards and running Raheem Mostert, who led the league in touchdowns to zero points.
The victory was critical in that the Eagles (6-1) must keep pace for the top seed in the NFC with the San Francisco 49ers (5-1), who oppose the Minnesota Vikings Monday night. The Detroit Lions (5-2), Dallas Cowboys (4-2) and Seattle Seahawks are close behind.
The Eagles will be watching that MNF game. For now, they can revel in the glory of a rugged triumph over the Dolphins (5-2).
From the moment the Kelly green pre-game light show began, spectators syncing their cell phones to the music, to the minute the public address announcer introduced “Jalen Hurrrrrts,” the Eagles’ captain found a way to make plays.
It wasn’t always pretty as Hurts’ early fumble set up a field goal in the first half and his pick-six in the second half cost the Eagles the lead. It’s just that there are at least four quarters to a game, and Hurts was bent on playing them all. This wasn’t the national championship game at Alabama, where Hurts was benched in favor of Tagovailoa, who led the Crimson Tide to the title.
In a bumpy game the Eagles led by 17-3 in the second quarter before a late drive by the Dolphins reduced that. Tagovailoa threaded a 27-yard scoring pass to Tyreek Hill between Eagles defenders James Bradberry, Terrell Edmunds and Sydney Brown in the last minute of the first half.
At the intermission Hurts had matched Tagovailoa with one touchdown pass. Hurts had also scored himself, his sixth TD run of the season as part of the Eagles’ 17-10 intermission lead.
“It’s a big win,” Hurts said, “especially coming off how we played last week. That’s a hell of a team; a tough team to deal with.”
The third quarter offered plenty of twists and turns.
Corner blitzer Kader Kohou deflected a Hurts pass into the arms of Jerome Baker, who returned the ball 22 yards to knot the score at 17-all with 4:02 left in the frame.
The interception followed a stop by the Eagles, who survived a drop by Hill in the end zone and took over on downs at their own 21. But the Eagles promptly marched 75 yards in eight plays to go ahead 24-17 on Hurts’ 14-yard lob to Brown, who muscled his way through the Dolphins.
The Dolphins were positioned to tie the game when Darius Slay intercepted Tagovailoa trying to connect with Raheem Mostert on a wheel route near the goal line. The 16-yard return got the Eagles out of danger.
It was that kind of 47-degree night at the Linc.
The Eagles put the game away with a spinning, powerful three-yard run by Kenneth Gainwell with 4:50 left in the contest. It gave the Eagles a 31-17 advantage with 4:46 to go.
The Birds got off to a solid start despite losing the coin flip and being unable to defer. Yet seven rushes, four passes and 71 yards into the series the Eagles stalled at the 8-yard line of the Dolphins and settled for a 24-yard Jake Elliott field goal.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, were flagged for delay of game before their first snap. Early on, the crowd noise blew up their exotic motions. Shortly thereafter the Eagles hit bumps in the road.
Hurts lost his second fumble of the season later in the first quarter, Bradley Chubb knocking the ball loose and the Dolphins recovering at the 23-yard line of the Eagles.
The Eagles caught a break when Lester Cotton, replacing the injured Isaiah Wynn, drew a holding penalty wiping out what would have been a 12-yard scoring pass to Hill.
The Dolphins settled for a 40-yard field goal by Jason Sanders knotting the game at 3.
Left offensive tackle Jordan Mailata’s textbook rolling block sprung Dallas Goedert for a 19-yard score on a screen, giving the Eagles a 10-3 lead with 11:25 left in the first half.
Goedert had five catches for 77 yards on the night.
Hurts was more adept managing an 80-yard drive he capped with his sixth rushing score giving the Eagles a 17-3 advantage with 3:10 left in the first half.
Just when it appeared the Dolphins were done, Tagovailoa led them to the TD with 39 ticks left in the first half. But after the intermission, the Birds’ defensive line started to wear down the Dolphins. The Eagles would wind up with four sacks of the elusive Miami quarterback.
Source: Berkshire mont