It couldn’t have looked much easier for the Patriots as they cruised to a 35-17 win over the Dolphins. Despite a few uncommon New England mistakes, the Dolphins were never even close to being in the game, as the Patriots were firing on all cylinders in all three phases of the game. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
– The Patriots offensive line did not have a strong game against Miami. They gifted the Dolphins with seven points when center Ted Karras snapped the ball to an unsuspecting Tom Brady, which was then picked up and taken into the end zone by the Dolphins. They also let Brady get hit a lot by an aggressive Dolphins defensive line, including giving up a sack for a six yard loss. The one highlight was Nate Solder who had a fantastic day in both pass and run blocking.
– As surprising as this sounds, Tom Brady threw a bad pass today that was intercepted by the Dolphins. This gets its own line because it is such an uncommon occurrence.
– Dion Lewis had a fantastic day running the football, with 15 carries for 112 yards. He cranked off a number of 10+ and 20+ yard runs, breaking tackles and slipping through holes to keep the Patriots offense rolling all day long. He didn’t get much help from the referees either, after getting clearly thrown down by the facemack by Ndomukong Suh and not getting a call. He has taken the lead running back role in stride and has made a serious impact for Josh McDaniels’ offense.
– New England’s defense played one of their best games of the season. Yes, it was against a putrid Dolphins offense, but that does not mean it wasn’t great to see. They finished with two interceptions, seven (!) sacks, and two fumble recoveries. They were aggressive and determined, and didn’t take the weak Dolphins roster for granted. They could have played better defense on Jarvis Landry in the first half, but some of that seemed more scheme issues than anything else considering Landry had a quiet second half.
– Stephon Gilmore has continued on an upward trend after another solid outing against Miami. He finished with an interception (he would have had two if Duron Harmon hadn’t stolen one right from his hands) and a tackle, along with a few pass break ups. This has been a good stretch for him to get his confidence back and play at the elite level that he is used to.
– As was already mentioned, New England’s front seven had a great game. They had consistent pressure on Matt Moore all day, which is not a common occurrence for that unit.
– Matt Patricia was creative with his play calling, using a few different cornerback blitzes that resulted in a Jonathan Jones sack. It was good to see the defensive coordinator thinking outside the box and expanding the potential play calls for the New England defense.
– The Patriots offense was clicking all game long, with the Dolphins seemingly powerless to stop them. Other than his interception, Brady was on point, finishing 18/28 for 227 yards and four touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks in particular had great games catching the football from Brady, exposing the Miami secondary and taking chunk plays with ease. Again, Miami’s defense is certainly not elite by any metric, but sometimes Patriot teams play down to their competition.
– Brady now has 26 touchdowns and just three interceptions on the season. He set an NFL record for the most touchdowns by a quarterback over the age of forty (Brett Farve – 25). He will destroy that record over the last five games of the season, as the quarterback is playing some of the best football of his career.
– Fun fact: Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is actually eight months younger than Tom Brady.
Bill Belichick won’t be happy with the team because of some of the unnecessary mistakes, but it is a solid win for the team heading into a hostile game against Buffalo next weekend.
Until next time – B$