Dolphins lose star receiver Jaylen Waddle to back injury, fall to Eagles 24-17 on Sunday night

Jaylen Waddle

The Miami Dolphins suffered a double blow on Sunday night as they lost their star receiver Jaylen Waddle to a back injury and fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-17 in a crucial AFC East matchup.

Jaylen Waddle

Waddle exits game in second quarter

The Dolphins were trailing 17-3 in the second quarter when Waddle, who had two catches for 24 yards, was hit in the back by Eagles rookie safety Marte Mapu while trying to make a catch. The play resulted in a penalty for unnecessary roughness, but also sent Waddle to the locker room with a back injury. The Dolphins later announced that he was questionable to return, but he did not come back to the field.

Waddle, the sixth overall pick in the 2023 draft, has been one of the most explosive and productive receivers in the league this season. He entered the game with 47 catches for 621 yards and six touchdowns, leading all rookies in receptions and ranking second in receiving yards and touchdowns. He also had a 101-yard kickoff return touchdown in Week 5 against the New England Patriots.

Without Waddle, the Dolphins struggled to generate big plays in the passing game. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 23 of 32 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw an interception and was sacked four times. Tyreek Hill was the only Dolphins receiver to have more than 50 yards, finishing with nine catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Eagles dominate first half, hold off late rally

The Eagles, who improved to 5-2 and took sole possession of first place in the NFC East, dominated the first half with their balanced offense and aggressive defense. Quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 189 yards and a touchdown on 16 of 21 passing, and also ran for 47 yards and a score on nine carries. Tight end Dallas Goedert had six catches for 89 yards and a touchdown, while running back Miles Sanders added 76 yards on 14 carries.

The Eagles scored on their first three possessions, taking a 17-3 lead with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Hurts to Goedert, a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Hurts, and a 42-yard field goal by Jake Elliott. The Dolphins got on the board with a 23-yard field goal by Jason Sanders in the first quarter, but failed to capitalize on a fumble by Hurts that gave them the ball at the Eagles’ 38-yard line.

The Dolphins showed some life before halftime, as they drove 72 yards in eight plays and scored on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to Hill, who beat double coverage by James Bradberry and Terrell Edmunds. The score cut the deficit to 17-10 at the break.

Dolphins rally falls short in fourth quarter

The Dolphins came out of halftime with more urgency and energy, as they forced a three-and-out by the Eagles and then marched 75 yards in nine plays to tie the game at 17-17. Tagovailoa found tight end Mike Gesicki for a 12-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal, capping off a drive that featured four completions to Hill for 40 yards.

The Eagles responded with a long drive of their own, taking up more than seven minutes of clock time and going 80 yards in 15 plays. They converted three third downs along the way, including a third-and-10 at their own 20-yard line when Hurts scrambled for 11 yards. They also benefited from a roughing-the-passer penalty on Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah that negated an interception by cornerback Xavien Howard. The drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Sanders that gave the Eagles a 24-17 lead with 9:43 left in the game.

The Dolphins had two chances to tie the game in the fourth quarter, but both ended in turnovers. On their first possession, Tagovailoa threw an interception to Bradberry at midfield after his pass was tipped by defensive end Josh Sweat. On their second possession, Tagovailoa was strip-sacked by linebacker Davion Taylor at his own 29-yard line with 1:48 remaining. The Eagles recovered the fumble and ran out the clock to seal the win.

What’s next for both teams

The Dolphins (4-3) will try to bounce back from their second straight loss when they host the Buffalo Bills (5-1) next Sunday. The Bills are coming off a bye week and have won four straight games against the Dolphins, including a 35-0 rout in Week 2.

The Eagles (5-2) will look to extend their winning streak to four games when they visit the Detroit Lions (0-7) next Sunday. The Lions are still searching for their first win of the season after losing to the Los Angeles Rams 28-19 on Sunday.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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