Ryan L. Fox
It was only two weeks ago that the New England Patriots faced off against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough. During that game, the Pats dominated the Dolphins and smothered them defensive to the tune of 35-17. This week, on Monday night, the two teams squared off against each other down in Miami. However things turned out differently than last time.
The Dolphins received the opening kickoff and began their first drive from their own 19. Dolphins QB Jay Cutler led the team down the field, having uncharacteristically success against usually stingy Pats defense, including successfully converting a 4th and 1 on the Pats 36. The Dolphins drove down to the Pats 11, where the defense finally got a stop. Dolphins K Cody Parkey then booted a 30-yard field goal to give his team an early 3-0 lead.
The Pats started their first possession of the game on their own 25. However on 3rd and 10, QB Tom Brady’s pass for WR Brandin Cooks was intercepted by Dolphins CB Xavier Howard at the Dolphins 40. There, Cutler drove the team down to the Pats 26 before being forced to settle for another Parkey field goal to go up 6-0 with 3:53 left in the first quarter.
The two teams then began to exchange punts with one another, until 9:14 in the second quarter.
There, Brady got the offense rolling as they drove down the field down to the Dolphins 23. Then on 3rd and 5 from the 23, Brady tried to connect with Cooks but Howard was able to break up the pass. However it turned out that Howard was being too hands-on with Cooks, drawing a pass interference call that spot the ball on the Dolphins 3. On the ensuing play, RB Rex Burkhead bowled his way over the goal line. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski booted the extra point through to give the Pats a quick 7-6 lead.
The Dolphins got the ball back on their 20-yard line and took only two plays to get deep into Patriots’ red zone (a 17-yard pass from Cutler to TE Anthony Fasano and then a 47-yard run by RB Kenyan Drake). Then on 1st and 10 from the Pats 16, Cutler found WR Javaris Landry for a 16-yard touchdown pass. But the scoring play was nullified due to an offensive holding call by LT Laremy Tunsil. However the Dolphins were able to still move the ball down and then on 1st and goal at the Pats 5, Cutler found Landry for a 5-yard touchdown pass. This time the play stood as Parkey kicked the extra point as the Dolphins regained the lead 13-7.
A 46-yard field goal by Gostkowski towards the end of the quarter helped pull the Patriots to within 3 as the two teams went into halftime with the Dolphins still out on top 13-10.
The Pats got the ball back to begin the second half. But then on 3rd and 16 from their 14-yard line, Brady tried to find Cooks deep yet again. Instead, Brady found Xavier Howard again as the Dolphins cornerback brought the ball back to the Pats 46. Five plays later, Cutler found WR Jakeem Grant for a 25-yard touchdown pass as the Dolphins extended their lead to 20-10.
The Dolphins then forced another Pats punt and proceeded to drive all the way down to the Pats 4. Then on 2nd and goal from the 4-yard line, Cutler found Landry for the second time in the game. Parkey’s extra point then extended the Dolphins lead to 27-10 with 4:43 left in the third quarter.
After an exchange of punts, the Pats got the ball back with 34 seconds left in the third quarter. The last play of the quarter was a 26-yard pass from Brady to WR Danny Amendola to give the Pats 1st and 10 on the Dolphins 21.
When the 4th quarter began, the Pats continued their drive all the way down to the Dolphins 3. There, Brady found RB James White for a 3-yard touchdown pass as the Pats climbed back into things with the score being 27-17 still in favor of the home team.
Then for the remainder of the 4th quarter, it was a chess match between both teams. The Dolphins tried to run out as much clock as possible while the Patriots tried to put together a scoring drive. The end result was just punt exchanges between the two teams until late in the fourth quarter.
The Pats got the ball back with 2:24 left on the clock and drove all the way down to the Dolphins 1. But then on 1st and goal, RB James White was called for an illegal motion penalty. That backed the ball to the Dolphins 5. Then on 2nd and goal from the Dolphins 5, LT Nate Solder drew a holding call that pushed the ball back to the Dolphins 15. After two straight incomplete passes, the Pats were faced with 4th and goal on the 15-yard line. Coach Belichick sent out Gostkowski to boot a 33-yard field goal to make it 27-20 with 57 seconds left in the game.
However the Dolphins recovered the ensuing onside kick as Cutler had to kneel the ball twice to run out the clock, giving his team the victory.
Top Patriot Performers
The Monday Night Football loss to the Dolphins ended a few streaks for the Patriots.
First it ended an 8-game winning streak against AFC East opponents with their last loss dating back to October 2 last year when they were blanketed at home 16-0 by the visiting Buffalo Bills.
The loss also ended the Patriots’ 8-game winning streak this season, which was currently second in the NFL behind the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 9-game winning streak. Not to mention their streak of 9-games where they rushed the football 80-yards or more this season.
This loss broke a 32-game streak where Tom Brady threw multiple interceptions in one game. The last time he threw a multi-interception game was back on December 6, 2015, where he threw 2 interceptions in a home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
And then there’s the big one that is going to piss Bill Belichick off the most. During the game, the Patriots went 0-for-11 on third down conversion attempts. The last time that happened during a regular season game since September 29, 1991, when the New England Patriots went 0-for-6 on third down conversion attempts in a 24-10 loss to the then Phoenix Cardinals. That’s snaps a 423 regular season game streak where the Patriots have at least converted one third down attempt.
Monday night’s offensive performance by the New England Patriots was by far one of the worst performances this season. After dropping 35 points two weeks ago, they could only muster 20 points against the same Dolphins defense. They were held to a total of 248 yards, the lowest this season, and could only muster 14 first downs. On third down conversions, the Pats ended up going for 0-for-11, the worst s during the Belichick coaching era.
They were also held to 25 rushing yards for the entire game, the first time the team was held to 25 rushing yards or less in a game since October 25, 2015, where they held to 16 yards rushing in a 30-23 home victory over the New York Jets. Not to mention that WR Danny Amendola was the only player surpass 75 receiving. Not to mention that Patriot tight ends were targeted 5 times and only managed just 2 catches for 10 yards (it was TE Dwayne Allen doing all the tight end work).
Weird that this anemic performance coincides with the suspension of one Rob Gronkowski. Makes you wonder if there was a connection.
Fox Fist Bump
No fist bumps this time.
Turd in the Punch Bowl
The whole team played like a giant turd. How the hell do you lose to the same damn team you just faced two weeks ago?! The offense couldn’t muster up anything consistent and the defense couldn’t stop anything to save their own skin. Just ugly, absolutely disgusting!
Play of the Game
The Whole Game Summarized in One Play
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