Offensive line wins games.
Conversely, an offensive line can lose games.
The Miami Dolphins offensive line was decimated by injuries to T Jake Long and G Vernon Carey in the first half and their replacements, especially T Nate Gardner, were unable to prevent the Philadelphia Eagles from pressuring the quarterback all day. C Mike Pouncey, normally reliable, had trouble snapping the ball in the shotgun formation at times, reminding some of the struggles he went through last year as a senior at Florida. T Marc Colombo was abused all day, mostly by DE Jason Babin, who ended the day with three sacks. The Philadelphia Eagles defense managed nine total sacks and another eight hits on the quarterback in their 26-10 win over the Dolphins on Sunday.
QB Michael Vick threw for 208 yards and a touchdown in his return from injury. Vick wasn't particularly sharp throwing the ball in his return (15 completions in 30 attempts with an interception), but he was able to extend plays with his legs and make the plays he needed to at the right time.
The Dolphins struggled to run the ball in the first half, but managed to finish 109 yards for the game, mostly on the back of RB Reggie Bush. Bush finished the day with 103 yards on 14 carries and did his part in a third quarter drive, breaking runs of 12 and 17 yards to set the Dolphins up at the Eagles 2 yard line, but the Dolphins failed to convert and had to settle for a field goal. RB Daniel Thomas struggled most of the game, finishing with four yards on seven carries. He was stopped for negative yardage on a few occasions, including near the goal line.
QB Matt Moore, who had been playing effectively the previous several weeks, was injured in the third quarter on a hit by LB Brian Rolle and didn't return. Before he left the game, Moore had completed 11 of his 19 passes for only 95 yards, but did throw a touchdown to WR Brandon Marshall in the first quarter. Backup QB J.P. Losman came in and briefly led the Dolphins on a drive, but fumbled the snap on a fourth down conversion attempt and was mostly unproductive during his time in the game.
All was not bad for the Dolphins on Sunday. Their run defense proved up to the task of stopping RB LeSean McCoy, who was held to a mere 38 yards in 27 carries for an average of 1.4 yards per carry. McCoy managed to score two touchdowns in the game, but both were from the goal line, one on the play after Eagles S Kurt Coleman intercepted Moore and returned it to the one yard line. McCoy entered the game ranking second in the NFL in rushing yard with 1,134, only three behind Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew and was averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
The loss ensures the Dolphins their third consecutive losing season under Tony Sparano, who will fall to 4-9 in his fourth season as head coach. There has been much speculation all season about Sparano's status, and this loss will not quell any rumors. The best the Dolphins can do at this point is finish 7-9 (which is the team's record each of the past two seasons), but have one more matchup with the New England Patriots and the New York Jets, each of whom have playoff aspirations. The Dolphins will play the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo next week.
Final Score: Eagles 26, Dolphins 10