It turned out the preseason finale was the closest thing to a dress rehearsal for the Miami Dolphins in the exhibition season.
And they nailed it — from the opening play.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hit star receiver Tyreek Hill deep for 51 yards en route to recording a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Tagovailoa was 6 of 7 for 121 yards and a touchdown later in the opening series.
Tagovailoa led three scoring drives against the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing his one touchdown to River Cracraft, having his third series end in a 1-yard touchdown plunge by running back Sony Michel and his second one result in a 55-yard field goal from Jason Sanders.
While Tagovailoa had Hill, who had two receptions for 64 yards, for the first drive, he also had his night without prized free-agent left tackle Terron Armstead or standout second-year wideout Jaylen Waddle. The Eagles mostly rested their starters on Saturday.
The Dolphins also got the run game going, even as Chase Edmonds sat out the exhibition. Mostert, Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed combined for 98 first-half yards on the ground on 12 attempts.
Starting with a 17-0 lead, defensive back Elijah Campbell, a player on the edge of the active roster cutoff line, had a 30-yard pick-six in the second quarter against former Dolphins third-string quarterback Reid Sinnett.
Miami added a 27-yard field goal from Sanders with 18 seconds left before halftime on a Teddy Bridgewater-led drive where tight end Hunter Long had a potential touchdown catch punched out by an Eagles defender. Long would’ve been called for offensive pass interference anyway if it was ruled a touchdown catch.
Bridgewater went 4 of 10 for 74 yards. The Dolphins led the Eagles, 27-0, at halftime.
Third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson, making a case this preseason for the Dolphins to keep a third quarterback, threw a pair of short third-quarter touchdowns near opposite pylons to reserve tight ends — first a 6-yard connection to Long and then a 4-yarder to Cethan Carter.
After three quarters, Miami leads Philadelphia, 41-3.
The Dolphins conclude their preseason on Saturday. They now have final roster cuts coming on Tuesday and their regular-season opener in two weeks, on Sept. 11, a home game against the New England Patriots.
This story will be updated.