Saying that The Eagles lost to the Dolphins byt one point is true, but at the same time not a true emobidment of what happened. Saying the Eagles threw the game away by not scoring a touchdown in three quarters and having one field goal in 11 drives? That’s more accurate. But there’s one player who potentially hurt the team more than any other on what became a vulnerable Eagles Offense.
It’s not Sam Bradford, it’s not even Mark Sanchez…it’s Miles Austin. Austin and Riley Cooper played a combined total of 97 Offensive snaps and ended the game with 0 catches. But Austin was far more damaging to the team than Cooper and his new haircut. Why? Let’s analyse just how much Austin cost the team.
The first play was this drop on third and eight. Austin was challenged by rookie Bobby McCain and showed no sign of trying to get in front of the corner to stop him pushing the ball out of reach. Instead Austin just clutched oxygen and watched the ball sail straight through his arms..and this is where things started to go wrong.
Then there was this play with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. TOUCHDOWN MILES AUSTIN!
Not quite….because somehow he was unable to get both feet down and instead barely steppedout of bounds. It’s a minor error in what was otherwise a big catch but it’s an error a receiver of both his experience and stature should have ironed out a LONG time ago..it’s a rookie spacial awareness mistake and one that cost the team what would have been a game winning touchdown.
Then with 4.30 minutes left on the clock, Austin not only allows an interception..BUT DOES NOTHING TO EVEN BRING DOWN JONES OR GET IN THE WAY. Now to Austin’s defense, Sanchez should have probably dumped it off to Celek who was open for a short gain but the ball was thrown over him which is perfect for the much taller Jones who’s able to make the pick..but Austin is positioned in front, he should easily be able to at least jump up and get in the way of the ball. Another play without a score, an interception and with it arguably the game.
To put the icing on the cake it was almost as if Austin had given up by this point. He firstly lined up in the wrong spot then ran back..strike one. Austin ran a crossing route over the middle, wide open, didn’t look for the ball..that was thrown DIRECTLY in front of him resulting in an incompletion. Sanchez showed his frustration imminently and understandably so. That pass was there for the taking and Austin wasn’t even paying attention.
In conclusion, there were TWO touchdowns that should have been and ended up as an interception and called back because of Austin’s poor performance. For someone taking that many snaps, you have to be making plays and he simply wasn’t when the team needed him most. As the receivers around him improve, Austin remains stagnant and that’s a big problem.
photo credit: All rights go to the NFL and CBS for the broadcast screenshots.
Feature image credit: Charles Trainor JR- Miami Herald