For the first time in a long time, desperation has set into Foxoboro. Not since the times of the Pre-Kraft era have New England Patriots fans feel so antsy about their team this early into the season. Coming into Foxboro were the 3-0 Miami Dolphins, looking to cakewalk their way to victory and send the home team into further tailspin of uncertainty.
But when the ball was first snapped, everybody watching realized that this wasn’t a Patriots team that couldn’t contain the Jaguars or allowed themselves to get bulldozed by the Lions. Taking the field was a focused, well-honed Patriots team that was angry at themselves for their recent poor play and were looking to take their anger out on somebody. And that somebody were the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots were able to force the Dolphins to punt on their opening drive to get their first possession of the game at their own 24. Surprisingly enough it was rookie RB Sonny Michel that carried the workload on the drive, getting 6 carries for 37 on the drive. Even recently acquired WR Josh Gordon got in on the action, hauling in a 13 yard pass from QB Tom Brady on 3rd and 6 from the Miami 16. However the Dolphins defense held up and forced the Patriots to settle for a 20 yard field goal by K Stephen Gostkowski for the early 3-0 lead.
After forcing another Dolphins punt, the Patriots got the ball back on their own 35. They were able to get as far as their own 47. There, on 3rd and 9, Brady looked deep for WR Phillip Dorsett. However Dolphins CB Bobby McCain was able to intercept the pass at the Miami 36 to kill the drive. Luckily the Patriots defense forced a 3 and out and got the ball back to open up the 2nd quarter.
Assisted by a questionable call that kept the drive alive, the Patriots got all the way to their own 45. On 3rd and 6, Brady found WR Cordarrelle Patterson on the left side. Patterson then proceeded to outrun the Dolphins defense for a 55 yard touchdown. Gostkowski made the PAT as it was 10-0.
After the two teams exchanged punts, the Dolphins got the ball back at their own 36. However QB Ryan Tannehill fumbled the snap on the first play of the drive as Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy recovered it at the Miami 22. Then on the next play, Patriots RB James White ran up the middle for 22 yards and the touchdown. Gostkowski kicked the PAT and it was 17-0 in favor of the home team.
After forcing a punt and getting the ball back on their own 15, Brady lead the offense all the way down the field. They covered 85-yards, taking the clock all the way down to just 23 seconds left in the half with 2nd and goal at the Miami 9. After a timeout, Brady found Dorsett in the end zone for a quick strike at before the end of the half. Another Gostkowski PAT then made the score 24-0.
The two teams then began the second half with an exchange of punts as the Dolphins offense could not move the ball against the hungry Patriots defense. The offense got the ball back at their 41 and proceeded to drive down the field, getting all the way down to the Miami 14. There on 3rd and 4, White found the end zone again for the second time. This time it was a 14 yard pass from Brady. Gostkowski’s PAT made it 31-0 with less than 7 minutes left in the quarter.
After CB J.C. Jackson picked off Tannehill at the New England 10, Brady led the offense down the field. They ended the quarter at the Miami 26 and opened up the final quarter from there. On 3rd and 6, Brady found White for a 16 yard gain down to the Miami 10 for 1st and goal. It took two attempts by Michel bowled over into the end zone for a 10 yard touchdown run. The PAT by Gostkowski afterwards pushed the lead to 38-0 with a little under 14:00 left in the quarter.
Following another 3 and out by the Dolphins, Brady got the ball back at the New England 43. Looking to press the lead to 45-0, the offense got all the way down to the Miami 32. However on 2nd and 14 from the Miami 32, Brady’s pass to Dorsett was picked off. This time it was Dolphins CB Minkah Fitzpatrick at the Miami 14, who brought it back to the Miami 25.
With the game out of reach, Coach Adam Gase pulled Tannehill out and replaced him with QB Brock Osweiler. Osweiler led the only successful Miami drive into New England territory, going all the way down to the New England 6. From there, Osweiler found RB Frank Gore in the flat for a 6 yard touchdown. Dolphins K Jason Sanders booted the PAT as it was 38-7. But the drive took over 7 minutes, leaving just a tick just under 3 minutes left in the game.
The Patriots got the ball back as QB Brian Hoyer got one first down before kneeling down in victory formation to run out the clock. When the clock hit 00:00, the Patriots got off the field with a much needed 38-7 victory over their AFC East divisional rivals.
QB Tom Brady: 23-for-35 for 274 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT for a QB Rating of 94.2.1
RB Sony Michel: 25 carries for 112 yards and 1 TD
RB James White: 8 carries for 44 yards and 1 TD, 8 catches (on 10 targets) for 68 yards and 1 TD
WR Phillip Dorsett: 4 catches (of 7 targets) for 55 yards and 1 TD
WR Cordarrelle Patterson: 1 carry for 11 yards, 3 catch (on 5 targets) for 54 yards and 1 TD
DE John Simon Ja’Whaun Bentley: 5 tackles (2 solo, 3 assist), 1.0 sacks
DT Adam Butler: 2 tackles (0 solo, 2 assist), 1.0 sacks, 1 pass deflected
CB Jonathan Jones: 8 tackles (5 solo, 3 assist), 1 pass deflected
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
15 – The number of wins that Brady has against the Miami Dolphins at home in his career as a starter (15-1)
70– The number of touchdown targets Brady has in his career (ties former NFL QB Vinny Testaverde for most all-time)
491– Number of career receptions Gronk has up to this point in his Patriots career, putting him 1st all-time among Tight Ends in franchise history.
300 – Number of victories the Patriots have accumulated under the ownership of Robert Kraft
24 – How many years it took to get to get to that point, the fastest for any NFL franchise under any ownership/ownership group
64% – The percentage of rushing yards that RB Sonny Michel accounted for the Patriots’ rushing attack (112 yards out of 175 yards)
172– Total yards the Patriots defense allowed against the Dolphins, the lowest amount so far in the 2018 campaign
Of 3rd Downs and Rushing Yards
Let’s be honest, the Patriots needed this game more than the Dolphins. From their lackluster performance on defense in Week 2 and just an all-around horrid performance in Week 3, there were already talks about how the Patriots could go into Week 5 at 1-3 and be 3 games behind the potential 4-0 Dolphins in the AFC East division.
However the Patriots showed up and not only defeated the Dolphins, they down right slaughtered them. What was different about this time around than against the Lions or Jaguars were a few things.
When it came to third down conversions, the Patriots went 10-for-15 (66% conversion) on third downs after going 2-for-9 (22%) last week against the Lions. You can’t give your defense a chance to catch their breath if you constantly keep forcing them to go back out after they just got off the field.
Speaking of defense, that was a key aspect compared to last week. Last week against the Lions, the Patriots defense allowed the Lions to go 7-for-14 (50%) in third down conversions. This week, they held the Dolphins to just 3-for-11 (27%). Can’t win if you can’t get off the field.
Next was the Patriots running attack. The Patriots ran the ball for 175 yards (nearly doubling their total last week) and gained 4.4 yards per carry. They got key contributions from Sonny Michel from him running in between the tackles, showing that power running he had in Georgia. But the biggest surprise was with James White. Known only for his pass-catching ability, White touted the rock a few carries and even got a
The defensive side of the ball, the Patriots buckled down. Against the Lions, the Patriots allowed a total of 159 yards rushing. This also included 101 rushing yards by RB Kerryon Johnson alone. This week, they held the Dolphins to a combined total of just 56 rushing yards. To put that in perspective, Michel had double the amount of rushing yards than all the Dolphin rushers combined.
Most people would just poo-poo those two aspects of the Patriots. But you can’t win games if your offense can’t stay on the field and your defense can’t get off it too. Not to mention that with the emergence of Sony Michel, it gives the Patriots another aspect in offense they can really use should their passing attack ever falters.
A new segment dedicated to Cordarrelle Patterson, the supposed ‘X-Factor’ for this Patriots offense. This week, he had 3 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. Yup, he found the red zone folks. In the second quarter, Patterson hauled in a Brady pass and proceeded to outrun Dolphin defenders for the score. Shocking I know.
But then the next two passes he got were the usual screen passes. One was for no game while the other, Patterson lost his footing and lost a yard. Well
Fox Fist Bump
There were a lot of candidates this week but this week I’m giving it to RB Sonny Michel. The kid finally showed why he was taken 31st overall. He pounded his way left, right, and up the middle for his first 100-yard rushing game in his young NFL career. He now gives weapon that the Patriots could use since RB Rex Burkhead went on the IR prior to the game against the Dolphins
The Meatball this week goes to…yup…WR Cordarrelle Patterson. At first I thought the touchdown was going to be the start of something special. But then a catch for no gain and then falling on your ass with nobody around you is just embarrassing.
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