The Eagles and Sam Bradford took big hits on Sunday afternoon.
The starting quarterback was knocked out of the game in the third quarter after a hard hit and the Eagles couldn’t do enough with Mark Sanchez in the game to beat a depleted Dolphins team.
The Eagles lost to the Dolphins, 20-19, at Lincoln Financial Field.
Bradford was knocked out of the game in the third quarter on a hit from Dolphins linebacker Chris McCain. McCain simply beat right tackle Dennis Kelly and had a clear shot on Bradford. Bradford’s shoulder X-rays came back negative but he did suffer a concussion (see story).
With the loss, the Eagles fell to 4-5 and squandered a chance to have a winning record for the first time this season. The Dolphins improved to 4-5.
The Eagles drove down the field with a chance to take a lead late — 6:27 left to start the drive — but Mark Sanchez was intercepted by Reshad Jones in the end zone as he tried to get the ball to Miles Austin.
Sanchez and the Eagles got the ball back one more time with 1:40 on the clock but after a quick first down, the Eagles turned the ball over on downs.
The Dolphins were trailing at halftime but took their first lead on the first drive after Bradford left the game by way of an 87-yard touchdown drive.
The Eagles, who have been plagued by slow starts this season, actually got off to a hot start against the Dolphins. They scored on their two possessions and picked up a safety when Walter Thurmond sacked Ryan Tannehill in the end zone and the ball popped out of bounds. The Eagles scored 16 points in the first quarter.
That hot start didn’t last.
The Birds had a chance to put more points on the board early in the second quarter but Caleb Sturgis missed a short field goal.
In the middle of the second quarter, Donnie Jones had a punt blocked when Chris Maragos was moved out of the way by Dolphins linebacker Zach Virgil. The Dolphins got the ball on the Eagles’ 12-yard line and scored a touchdown two plays later.
The halftime score was Eagles 16, Dolphins 13.
The Dolphins gave the Eagles plenty of help Sunday. The Fins weren’t able to fall on the Sam Bradford fumble near the Eagles’ goal line. Then, after the punt, Jarvis Landry was called for a taunting penalty, which backed the Dolphins up even farther. The Dolphins had a chance to take a lead but squandered the opportunity.
In the third quarter, on a ball that looked like it wasn’t going to be caught, Miami CB Zack Bowman was called on defensive pass interference.
On the drive after Bradford was knocked out of the game, the Dolphins drove down the field on an 87-yard touchdown drive to take the lead. The touchdown came on a play where Ryan Tannehill’s pass was batted by Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin.
Coming into Sunday, the Eagles had managed just 10 first-quarter points in their first eight games. They scored 16 in the first quarter against the Dolphins.
Brent Celek hasn’t been used much in the pass game but had a big performance Sunday. In the first half, he had three catches for 120 yards. It was the eighth 100-yard game of his career. He had just 71 yards receiving all season coming into the game. He finished with four catches for 134 yards.
The Eagles’ offensive line did a good job last week against the Cowboys but struggled some against the Dolphins and the 31st ranked run defense in the league.
Mychal Kendricks started to look like the 2014 version against the Dolphins. His speed is what makes him a difference-maker.
Malcolm Jenkins missed an interception in the first half and then couldn’t stop Jarvis Landry from catching a touchdown in the second half after a ball was batted in the air by Barwin.
Bradford left the game in the third quarter to get shoulder X-rays that came back negative. He did suffer a concussion on the play.
Running back Ryan Mathews was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
Left tackle Jason Peters was inactive for the second straight game. He has a pinched nerve that’s causing pain in his quad. Peters worked out before the game but was inactive.
Dolphins starting cornerback Brent Grimes missed the game with an illness. He was a surprise inactive.
The Eagles will get to stay at home again next week to face Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Then, they’ll have a quick turnaround to head to Detroit to face the Lions on Thanksgiving.