Once again…reports of the demise of the New England Patriots have been greatly exaggerated.
The Patriots thoroughly dominated the Miami Dolphins 38-7 on Sunday. In the process, they handed them their first loss of the season, and may have restored the balance of power in the AFC East.
The Patriots had been the subject of much malignment this week leading up to this game. Over the past two games, the Pats have had tangible problems in all three phases of the game. Most prominently, they struggled on defense and were offensively slowed by a seeming lack of weapons.
That was not the case on Sunday.
While they have yet to solve each problem, the Patriots took a major step towards finding their rhythm on defense shutting out the Dolphins up until just under three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Pats defense held Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to 100 passing yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Miami managed only one touchdown late in the fourth quarter, when backup Brock Osweiler tossed a 6-yard strike to running back Frank Gore.
On offense, Sony Michel gave his critics ‘something to talk about.’ The Patriots rookie running back rushed for 112 yards and is the first rookie to have a 100-yard game since Brandon Bolden did it 6 years ago to the day. Michel also recorded his first career touchdown.
Wide receiver Josh Gordon made his much-anticipated Patriots debut with two catches (each obtained on third-down) for 32 yards. James White led the Patriots in receiving yards with 68 yards and two touchdowns. Receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett each hauled in a touchdown, as well.
The Patriots improve to 2-2 on the season, and avoid what would have been the franchise’s worst start in more than 19 years. Simply put, the Patriots were much more proficient in execution this week. Tom Brady wanted actions, not words. He got that on both sides of the ball in Sunday’s blowout. After the game, Brady restated his objective:
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“What you say is important, but what you do is more important. I think we’ve got to do more doing and less saying and just get the job done.”
Never ones to rest on their laurels, the Patriots will be hard at work, in a short week of preparation. Sunday’s win is a step in the right direction. However, there is still a long way to go before the 2018 New England Patriots reach their desired destination.
After passing Ben Coates for most receptions by a tight end in franchise history, Rob Gronkowski exited the game with ankle injury and did not return.
Linebacker Elandon Roberts and defensive lineman Adam Butler also exited the game late in the fourth quarter, and did not return.
-This game marked the 17 year anniversary of Tom Brady’s first game as a starter, where he beat Peyton Manning and the Colts.
-Brady has now thrown more touchdowns over 40 years old than any other quarterback in the history of the NFL.
-Patriots owner Robert Kraft has become the fastest owner in NFL history to reach 300 franchise wins.
-Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is now the third coach in history to have 280 wins in his career.
-At halftime, former Patriots offensive lineman, Matt Light was honored, in conjunction with his becoming the 27th inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Light was officially enshrined at a ceremony on Saturday.
The Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on Thursday night. Wide receiver Julian Edelman is expected to make his 2018 season debut, after serving a four-game suspension for a presumed violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
-Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the NFL and the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC