Wearing their throwback jerseys — which should be permanent — the Miami Dolphins have now won three of their last five games and yesterday, they did it in fashion. They beat the Philadelphia Eagles 37-31 Sunday after a Hail Mary pass was picked off by rookie cornerback Chris Lammons. It was a shootout at Hard Rock Stadium and after the start of the third quarter, the Dolphins offense took off. It was 28-13 after the beginning of the third and the Dolphins went on to score 24 unanswered points before the field goal by Eagles kicker Jake Elliot, who had hooked a field goal left earlier in the second half.
Let’s give some love to the performances from Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. First off, I was wrong — Fitzmagic should start the remainder of the season. More importantly, Parker should be a pro-bowl receiver this season. He has been playing out of his mind all year and deserves it given the circumstances under which he’s played. Yesterday he made Eagles defensive backs Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills fans with 7 catches for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. Parker also averaged 22.7 yards per catch. Gesicki had 5 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. This makes it back-to-back weeks that Gesicki has scored a touchdown despite scoring none either this season or last season. Both players are on the rise and should be vital parts of the Dolphins in 2020 and beyond.
Fitzmagic continues to impress. He hasn’t had his signature “Fitztragic” game. He’s been reliable and at times, even magical. He started the game with an interception on the very first play and honestly, I thought we were in for the classic Fitztragic performance, but it never happened. Once running back Kalen Ballage got injured, offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea started to call more down the field throws. He mixed in some plays in the flats and standard crossing routes. It looked like O’Shea had begun to call the offense the way it was meant to be and things started to click. You never wish for a player to be injured. Hopefully, Ballage is okay. However, he left the field on a cart and will most likely be out for the season.
Now for the most significant play of the game and a nominee for the play of the year. The special team touchdown throw came from punter Matt Haack to placekicker Jason Sanders. It was a play “for the brand” and can be found below:
Just your standard punter to kicker touchdown pass!
— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) December 1, 2019
The president of the brand and former punter, Pat McAfee, was involved in a play similar to this a few years ago, when he was on the Indianapolis Colts. Quickly — for those unaware of the brand — McAfee has deemed the special teams unit as “the brand” and as a former punter, celebrates when the brand succeeds. That play was significantly different as the punting unit came on the field and immediately went to the right side. Leaving receiver Griff Whalen alone with the snapper. McAfee has called it “the worst play of all time” and I’d have to agree.
Yesterday, Haack took the snap, faked a defender to the right, rolled out and threw a no-look pass to Sanders, who successfully caught it and then went on to kick the extra point. It was terrific. Haack and Sanders showed up for the brand yesterday and gave the Dolphins the boost they needed.