After a tense game in Foxborough last Sunday, the Patriots were able to defeat the Miami Dolphins. Injuries were suffered on both teams, as well as an ejected player from the Miami team (and rightfully so). The Patriots started out strong but slowly let the Dolphins back into the game; luckily it ended before much else happened. Many key players kept New England ahead and essentially won them the game.
Patriots’ Receiving Core and Backfield
There was no one or two key offensive players in the game. The Patriots’ receivers, tight ends, and running backs all pushed the tempo of the game to keep Miami out of breath. There are a number of players’ statistics worth mentioning. Rex Burkhead had a standout game with 13 carries and two catches for 53 combined yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown came shortly after an athletic run that pushed New England ahead 22 yards to give them a first and goal.
Dion Lewis can’t be stopped by any defensive unit. He ended the afternoon with 15 carries and one catch for 113 combined yards. Whenever the team needed a crucial third-down conversion, Lewis was the go-to guy. Brandin Cooks never fails to impress, seeing as he ended with one carry for 11 yards, six catches for 83 yards, and one touchdown. Cooks’ best play of the game came after the team was 3rd and 14 due to penalties. Brady threw long to the receiver who caught a 37-yard pass which later resulted in a touchdown for the Patriots.
Last but certainly not least, Rob Gronkowski pulled away with five receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Gronk’s second touchdown came shortly after the tensest part of the football game. Bobby McCain (Miami) had just got ejected from the game for throwing a punch at Amendola while he was still on the ground. Following that, Ndamukong Suh ripped Lewis a new one with a face mask penalty that wasn’t called by the referees. Needless to say, Gronkowski’s touchdown provided much-needed relief from the building pressure.
Stephon Gilmore and Jonathan Jones
Both Stephon Gilmore and Jonathan Jones proved to be much-needed help defensively for New England. Jones stepped up his game from last week with nine tackles, one sack for 15 yards, one quarterback hit, and one fumble recovery on special teams. One of Jones’ unofficial pass breakups resulted in a failed fourth down attempt for Miami early in the fourth quarter, giving the ball right back to New England where the team scored another touchdown. During the following defensive drive, the cornerback’s sack forced the Dolphins to punt away their last real chance at a comeback.
Gilmore had a similarly impressive game, finishing with one tackle, one (actually two) interceptions, and one pass defense. Gilmore has a bad habit of not staying on his man and during this game, he could be seen on his player at all times, which is why his man wasn’t targeted very much. Finally, Tom Brady owes Gilmore for intercepting the ball on the drive he handed to Miami with his interception.
Trey Flowers and Elandon Roberts
The Patriots’ defensive unit finally fulfilled their duty to pressure and sack the opposing team’s quarterback. Trey Flowers blossomed, completing the game with three tackles, one assisted tackle, two sacks for 16 yards, two quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. Elandon Roberts finished similarly with three tackles, one assisted tackle, two sacks for 13 yards, and two quarterback hits. Together, these defensive players propelled the rest of the unit to continually put pressure on the quarterback. The pressure worked; Miami’s quarterback had to throw the ball away multiple times to avoid lost yardage as well as the seven sacks he received. Defensive Coordinator, Matt Patricia, also gets a shout-out for getting through to his players!
Ted Karras and LaAdrian Waddle
Mistakes do happen in the pros, but this one is simply upsetting. Early in the second quarter, Tom Brady was looking around, evaluating the Miami defense, when the football goes flying past him. Ted Karras, the second string center filling in for David Andrews, snapped the ball before Brady called for it. Brady got crushed as he tried to recover the ball, and Miami’s Reshad Jones ran it in for a touchdown. Luckily the price of that miscommunication wasn’t the game, but at some point, it could be and mistakes like that just can’t happen. LaAdrian Waddle had a shaky game, noticeably not blocking well for Brady. Brady took some bad hits/sacks in the game against Miami, and it only takes one to really injure him. Waddle and company have to be on their game especially when they play teams with players like Ndamukong Suh, who is notoriously known in the NFL for injuring players and provoking fights.
Tom Brady had a tough game. Overall, Brady completed 18-of-28 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns, as well as 1 interception. His play started off bad, originally going 3-and-out on the opening drive of the game before New England’s fake punt that eventually turned into a touchdown. Throughout the game, the quarterback received eight particularly violent (and some late) hits along with one sack. However, Brady by no means had a terrible game. He now has 26 touchdowns, trailing only Carson Wentz of the Eagles.
It appears that it was only a matter of time before Malcolm Butler’s name would feature here again. Butler ended with four tackles, two pass breakups, and one forced fumble. The statistics don’t sound bad until penalties are brought up. Late in the second quarter, Butler was called for defensive pass interference, and the football was moved up to the spot of the infraction. 34 yards from where Miami was currently sitting. Now Miami sat right in front of the goal, but (luckily for Butler) it wasn’t converted into a touchdown. Instead, they settled for a field goal, but points are points and that was all on Butler. As said about Ted Karras, mistakes like those simply can’t happen.
This Sunday, the Patriots move to face off against the Buffalo Bills who are 6-5. With a few minor adjustments, the team should be unbeatable and another easy win will ensue.