PHILADELPHIA Byron Maxwell was worried about Zach Ertz when he was supposed to be worrying about Torrey Smith.
That’s the simplest way to explain what went wrong on Carson Wentz’s 50-yard touchdown pass to Smith on the Eagles’ first drive of the game.
Philly faced third-and-8 from midfield and Maxwell was lined up opposite Smith, the Eagles’ deep threat.
Smith ran a deep post, but Maxwell saw Ertz break to the sideline. So he left Smith to cover Ertz, leaving Reshad Jones exposed in the end zone.
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Jones had no chance, and appeared to yell at Maxwell after the play’s completion.
“It was a bust on my part,” Maxwell said. “I saw the guy running the seven [route], and I just thought, coming off, I should have just kept on the post. I had him covered. I should have just stayed on the post. The eyes play tricks on you. You think you see a lot. Sometimes it don't work out.”
Maxwell added: “Everybody's got to do their job, basically. That's really what it was today, me included. That bust was pretty big. That was the start of things. We should have been off the field.”
The touchdown capped a rough week for Maxwell, whom Wentz targeted time and again in the team’s joint practices. He gave up two other completions in the first half of Thursday night’s game. It was Maxwell’s worst stretch of football since the beginning of the 2016 season, which resulted in his temporary benching.
But the Dolphins then had Tony Lippett as a capable replacement. That’s no longer the case, as Lippett is out for the season with a torn Achilles. If Maxwell falters again, the Dolphins like likely turn to Alterraun Verner, a late-summer pickup who has played well.
“This game right here helped a lot. You always learn from your failures.”