Strong fertilizer applications can burn roots and kill plants as most products are salt based. This may be the cause of your plant's demise. It is also possible that some root rot or other organism had already moved in and was killing the plants anyway. When conditions are really wet and soil remains saturated for a period of time such root rots can really become a big problem.
Also I'm not sure rabbits are the only culprit that may have eaten the leaves. They generally don't reach that high unless the plants were really small.
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