Dolphins vs. Eagles takeaways: Tua Tagovailoa has perfect passer rating in Miami blowout win

The Miami Dolphins showed a glimpse of how efficient their offense can be in 2022, even showcasing the deep ball between Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill in Saturday’s dominating 48-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Tagovailoa connected with Hill on a 51-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage, a preview of what the Dolphins expect from their new-look offense in 2022.

Tagovailoa played a few series for Miami, going 6 of 7 for 121 yards and a touchdown in limited work — connecting with Hill twice for 64 yards in Hill’s one series of action. Both of the Dolphins’ first two plays were completions from Tagovailoa to Hill, which led to a Tagovailoa touchdown pass to River Cracraft that gave Miami a 7-0 lead — and the lead for good.

The Dolphins scored on all three series Tagovailoa played, building a 17-0 lead before he and the first team exited. Sony Michel capped off Tagovailoa’s final drive with a touchdown run, as he ended his night with five catches for 15 yards. Cracraft, fighting for a spot on the Dolphins, had four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

The Eagles rested their first team in this one, starting most of their second team in the finale. Gardner Minshew started at quarterback with Reid Sinnett entering in the second quarter. Carson Strong, the undrafted free agent from Nevada, did not enter the game until the fourth quarter.

Jason Huntley finally got the Eagles their first touchdown in the fourth quarter, a 67-yard run that cut Miami’s lead to 41-10. Huntley led the Eagles with 11 carries for 93 yards and four catches for 22 yards as he’s battling for a roster spot as the fourth running back and primary kick returner.

Takeaways from the preseason finale and recap of all the action can be found in our live blog below.

Eagles make a business decision

Nick Sirianni typically doesn’t play his starters in preseason games the week of joint practices, and showcased that Saturday night by resting the first team and not dressing a majority of them for this game. The Eagles don’t like to show anything and use a lot of research in their process of becoming one of the healthiest teams in the league.

Resting the starters allowed Sirianni to give his team three weeks off prior to the September 11 season opener against the Detroit Lions. Expect a small injury report in Week 1 for Philadelphia, with the lone question marks being Miles Sanders (hamstring) and Jason Kelce (elbow). Both should be ready for Week 1.

Just two QBs on the final 53-man roster?

The Eagles have Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew as roster locks at quarterback, but they’ll face a crucial decision on whether to keep three quarterbacks on the initial 53. Reid Sinnett could have cemented his status on the roster, but didn’t play well in the preseason finale against Miami.

Sinnett finished 12 of 22 for 104 yards with an interception in the loss, including throwing a pick six to Elijah Campbell that gave Miami a 24-0 lead. Campbell read Sinnett the whole way when he was looking towards Grant Calcaterra after taking a few steps to his left, a poor throw veteran quarterbacks shouldn’t make.

Carson Strong couldn’t even get into a 41-3 game in the fourth quarter immediately, showcasing his roster status. Strong has not had a good camp and preseason, so developing on the practice squad might be in his future. The Eagles can allocate a roster spot to a deserving player and just keep two quarterbacks come Tuesday.

Tyreek Hill shows off on the first play

Hill was in this one for just four plays, but he made most of his cameo. Whether Hill was facing the Eagles’ second team defense or not, he showcased tremendous burst at the line, blowing past K’Von Wallace for a 51-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage.

Hill would have scored a touchdown if Tagovailoa led him better on the throw, as the All-Pro receiver had to adjust to the ball and create a new catch point. The Dolphins still have something brewing with Tagovailoa and Hill, as the two connected for two catches for 64 yards on the first two plays.

To stop Miami in 2022, teams will have to contain Hill. The cheetah is still fast.

Miami’s rushing attack showed glimpses of San Francisco

No matter who the Dolphins put in the backfield, they were able to churn out yards in Mike McDaniel’s zone run scheme. Miami rushed for 203 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry, but the final three carries were kneedowns. Prior to the kneedowns, 32 carries for 206 yards — 6.44 yards per carry.

The Eagles second and third team defense struggled to penetrate the offensive line and stop the zone run scheme, as Gerrid Doaks led the way with 11 carries for 67 yards, followed by Myles Gaskin having six carries for 39 yards. Chase Edmonds didn’t play, but Raheem Mostert had two carries for 29 yards and Sony Michel five carries for 15 yards.

The zone-run scheme will be crucial this year with the three-headed monster Miami plans to use at running back (Edmonds, Mostert, Michael) and Tagovailoa’s mobility under center. Miami can run block with this revamped offensive line, which will set the tone for the big pass plays downfield. The offense will start with the run game, which will wear down a defense for four quarters.

Surprise at safety?

Reed Blankenship, an undrafted free agent from Middle Tennessee, has played his way into the 53-man roster consideration thanks to his strong preseason at safety. The Eagles are thin at the position and Blankenship has made his case for a roster spot with 16 tackles in the preseason — including five in the finale.

Marcus Epps and Anthony Harris are the starters, but it gets tricky after that. K’Von Wallace struggled in the preseason finale and hasn’t been great throughout camp, while Jaquiski Tartt hasn’t played like the veteran that was brought in to challenge for a starting safety spot. Andre Chachere may have a spot for special teams, but the Eagles are going to have to make some crucial decisions on the weakest part of their roster.

Blankenship has played well enough to earn a roster spot. Tuesday will be an interesting day for him.

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