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The Battle of the Irrelevant’s: Dolphins vs Eagles
Posted By Calvin Reed On Dec 9 2011 @ 6:14 am In Miami Dolphins | No Comments
Battle of the Irrelevant’s
While the underachieving Philadelphia Eagles are again floundering, the last-place Miami Dolphins continue to flourish.
The Eagles look to avoid a third consecutive loss Sunday when they face an improved Dolphins team trying for a fourth straight home victory.
A popular Super Bowl preseason pick, Philadelphia (4-8) is one defeat away from guaranteeing only its second losing record since 2000. Though the Eagles have dropped four of five since winning two straight to conclude October, they still have a slim shot to win the mediocre NFC East.
For that to happen, however, Philadelphia needs to win its last four games while first-place Dallas must lose three of four and the New York Giants drop two of four.
“We definitely know the circumstances,” receiver Jason Avant said. “We need a lot of stuff to happen, but the only thing we can do to control us is go out and put a good performance this week, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Quarterback Michael Vick will be back leading the charge after missing the last three games with two broken ribs.
“I’ll definitely be out there,” said Vick, who has lost eight of his last 11 starts with the Eagles. “I feel like I’ve got to be accountable for my team. I want to be there. It’s a desperation last four games. It’s unfortunate that we’re in the situation that we’re in now, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
What Vick must do is help the Eagles take better care of the ball.
Philadelphia has turned it over an NFL-high 29 times, including four on interceptions from backup Vince Young in last Thursday’s 31-14 loss at Seattle. The Seahawks returned one of those picks 55 yards to set up a touchdown and another 77 yards for a score.
LeSean McCoy, however, had no trouble hanging on to the ball, scoring TDs via the ground and air against the Seahawks. The NFC’s leading rusher with 1,134 yards, McCoy is first in the NFL with 15 scrimmage touchdowns — the second-most in franchise history behind Steve Van Buren’s 17 in 1945.
The Eagles are facing the Dolphins (4-8) for the first time since beating them 17-7 at home in 2007, and they’ve won three of the last four meetings. However, they are well aware of Miami’s recent improvement.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game because they have a very good football team and a very good defense so we’re going to have to do the things that are going to put us in a position to win the game,” Vick said.
Since starting 0-7, the Dolphins have outscored their opponents 139-54 while winning four of five.
“We’re having fun,” said linebacker Kevin Burnett, who returned an interception 34 yards for a TD in last Sunday’s 34-14 win over Oakland. “I can’t explain how much that takes away the pain and the feeling of being on the losing end of the spectrum.”
Though coach Tony Sparano’s future with the team remains cloudy, the Dolphins continue to play with confidence. Their last four wins have come by an average of 21.5 points and they’ve forced seven turnovers during the last four contests overall.
“Our whole demeanor is changed,” defensive end Jason Taylor said. “Our swagger has changed. This team is a lot looser now and not playing uptight, not preparing uptight, not acting uptight. And that shows on Sunday.”
Matt Moore has completed 64.3 percent of his passes while throwing for eight touchdowns and one interception over the last five games.
Teammate Reggie Bush topped the 100-yard mark for the second time this season when he ran for 100 and a TD on 22 carries against the Raiders.
Bush, who has a career-high 667 rushing yards, has 111 and two TDs on 33 rushes in three games — including the playoffs — versus Philadelphia.
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