Quick Slant: Breaking Down the Five Best Plays from Dolphins VS. Eagles
In the Miami Dolphins’ 20-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, big plays in the first half were few and far between. In the second half, momentum swung like a pendulum, back and forth as neither team seemed able to secure a true lead. Ultimately, it came down to a little bit of skill, and a little bit of luck for Miami.
Not only did plenty of plays go the teams’ way that shouldn’t have, but they also were able to play to their strengths in order to help lock down a victory. In a game like this, there are certainly signature plays that are remembered for the rest of the season. This article breaks down the top five plays from Sunday’s game, and how they helped propel Miami to a victory.
5. Jamar Taylor’s Huge Hit:
This was not just a big play because of the highlight effect. Yes, Jamar Taylor absolutely rocked Jordan Matthews, possibly removing him from the foundation of humanity. However, the situation surrounding the play made it equally impressive.
With 10 minutes left, Miami was up by 4 as Philadelphia drove down the field. Had this pass been completed, the Eagles would’ve had first and goal from their 10-yard line.
Jamar Taylor actually wasn’t covering Matthews’ zone on that play. He read the quarterback, and made a break on the play. He was able to smash into Jordan Matthews, making the catch impossible.
He also sent a message that Miami would not be laying down on this drive, or for the remainder of this game for that matter. This was a huge momentum play, and a great stop, by Jamar Taylor and the Dolphins’ defense.
4. Ndamukong Suh Doing Everything:
We finally got the wow factor. This is only number 4 because it wasn’t really one play. Suh dominated all afternoon. Philadelphia could not block him, as he tormented the Eagles’ backfield.
In Chip Kelly’s offense, tempo helps disrupt the pass rush and establish open plays. The problem for them on this day was that Suh did not slow down. The tempo did not bother him, and he was able to break the pace of Kelly’s offense. He consistently pressured Bradford and closed off DeMarco Murray’s lanes.
We have seen Murray struggle this year with decision-making and finding holes. The Dolphins were able to slow him down so effectively because there were no holes, as Suh occupied multiple defenders. He was also able to torment Bradford, who has been somewhat tentative in his play as he recovers from a torn ACL.
We finally got to see some of the wow plays from Ndamukong Suh. Dragging runners down with one arm, throwing guards aside and attacking the quarterback, and moving at break-neck pace all over the field. If Suh is finally settling into this defensive scheme, fans will be very happy in upcoming weeks.
3. Tannehill to Landry for 6:
To win games in the NFL, you have to get lucky. Something improbable has to happen, and you need to be bailed out by some divine force. On Sunday, Miami has never been luckier than they were on the Tannehill touchdown to Jarvis Landry.
As the ball was snapped, Jason Fox made the poor decision to help on a double team against the defensive end. This was problematic because he entirely missed the linebacker blitz from Connor Barwin, possibly not noticing that Dion Sims had been motioned to the opposite side of the field. Barwin shot off of the edge with nobody impeding his path to Ryan Tannehill. As Barwin approached, Tannehill tried to gun the ball into Jarvis Landry, and it was deflected up high into the air. We all know what happened next.
Connor Barwin actually helped Miami on this play. Had Ryan Tannehill gotten the ball off cleanly, it would’ve almost certainly been intercepted. Malcom Jenkins was waiting in front of Jarvis Landry on the goal line. He read Tannehill’s eyes, and knew where the football was going
The tip sent the ball up so high into the air that it really became a free for all. Around multiple Eagles defenders, Jarvis Landry was able to jump up and almost field the ball like a punt, scoring a touchdown to put Miami ahead.
Like I said, you need to get lucky in the NFL. Without a bit of luck, this play could’ve been a 98-yard pick six, or an interception in the end zone. Luckily, someone had the Dolphins back on this one.
2. Zach Vigil’s Blocked Punt:
Special teams can win you football games.
With the Dolphins down 16-3 late in the second quarter, Zach Vigil shot up the middle on an Eagles’ punt, blocked the ball and secured a red zone possession for the Dolphins’ offense.
Vigil made his mark yesterday, filling in for injured players on special teams, seeing as how the team was banged up in this game. This was a huge play, as Philadelphia scoring again could have put the game out of reach before halftime. Instead, Vigil was able to help get the Dolphins the ball back.
The possession would result in a Tannehill touchdown to Lamar Miller, making it a three-point game. This is the type of play you need to win games. Momentum shifted, and Miami was able to make this a football game again.
Never underestimate the power of special teams. This sequence threw off the Eagles’ rhythm, as they were previously moving through the Dolphins defense with ease. Now, with somewhat shaken confidence and a building surge by Miami, the Eagles were unable to capitalize on later possessions. Zach Vigil’s blocked punt was the play that saved the game. Well, there actually might be one more that was pretty important…
1. Reshad Jones’ Red Zone Interception
Big players make big plays in big games. Reshad Jones has been as big a player as any for Miami this season, and he made the biggest play of the game when it mattered most.
As Philadelphia drove down the field, with four-minutes remaining, Mark Sanchez dropped back and looked into the end zone for Miles Austin. Austin, coming across the left side of the field, had no idea that Reshad Jones was coming up behind him. Jones made a brilliant read on Sanchez, and was able to jump the play and make an outstanding interception to help seal a Miami win.
Jones has been nothing short of sensational for Miami this season and has been one of, if not the best safety in the NFL. It seems like he is making huge plays every game, and his attitude on the back end of the defense goes a long way. Without Brent Grimes, someone needed to step up and lead a unit filled with rookies and inexperienced players. Reshad Jones did exactly what he had to do.
Mark Sanchez is known for ill-advised passes, but this was as much thanks to a great play by Jones as it was to a bad one by the quarterback. Many defensive backs can be boxed out on this play, but Jones’ stealth allowed him to sneak into the receiver for the pick, sealing a win for the Dolphins.
This was the most fitting way to end the Eagles’ chances of victory. Reshad Jones has been the MVP of this season for Miami, and he once again showed us why. Every week we wonder if he can keep doing remarkable things, and he responds with a resounding “YES” each and every time.
Reshad Jones made the biggest play of the day, and helped seal a win for the Miami Dolphins at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Miami Dolphins could not have one that game if these plays had not occurred. Everything they needed to do to beat the Eagles, they did. Fortunately, lady luck also played a role in the entire affair, helping Miami ensure a victory.
The Dolphins cannot count on these many outstanding plays happening every week. The team was able to win in an ugly game, as they did against Washington, but there are definitely mistakes to clean up. Before their game against the Cowboys, Miami will have to watch this film and see how to keep this game out of luck’s hands and control their own fate.
However, this article is not about what the Dolphins did wrong. It is about the opposite. So many things went right for Miami in this game that it seems they had no choice but to win. In an ugly game in which no team seized a true lead, these plays helped tilt the odds in Miami’s favor, allowing them to leave Philadelphia with a win.