The New England Patriots ensured that this trip to South Beach would not end in a ‘miraculous’ loss. This time, they left nothing to chance. There would be no stunning defeat on a last-second Dolphins pass and double lateral. Instead, the Patriots would dominate this contest from start to finish. Antonio Brown caught a 20-yard touchdown pass in his Pats debut. New England’s highly-touted defense scored twice on interception returns in a two-minute span in the fourth quarter. In short, New England annihilated the Miami Dolphins, 43-0 on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, winning for only the second time in their past seven trips to Miami.
Sony Michel was the first Patriot to find the argyle-patterned Miami endzone on Sunday. Michel scored on a one-yard slice through Miami’s porous defensive line. Tom Brady threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns. While his first was the second-quarter strike to Brown, his second was to James White with only 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter. At the time, the Pats were already holding a cruise-controlled 37-0 lead. Unlike last season, however, New England would keep its proverbial foot hard-pressed to the accelerator. Brady was also credited with a rushing touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the third quarter.
As expected, Brown was the focus of much attention on Sunday. There was some question as to whether the four-time All Pro would suit up for this game. On Tuesday, his former trainer filed a civil lawsuit, which alleged three instances of sexual assault. However, Brown was active and made his presence felt. New England’s latest acquisition celebrated his touchdown by vaulting into the first row of the Hard Rock Stadium seats. In addition to his touchdown grab, he also made an 18-yard catch on his first play for the Patriots. He finished with 56 yards on four receptions, all in the first half.
New England’s defense once again turned in a stout performance. In doing so, they are continuing to prove that they may be the very key to the team’s success in 2019. The Patriots defense outscored the Miami offense, with interception returns for touchdowns of 54 yards by Stephon Gilmore and 69 yards by Jamie Collins. The Patriots were also very effective in getting pressure on both Miami quarterbacks, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Their defense totaled seven sacks and four interceptions. The defensive shutout earned the Pats their most lopsided win in the 108-game history of their series with the Dolphins.
Despite the one-sided nature of this tilt in South Beach, the Patriots were determined to put in a 60-minute effort. On Sunday, they did just that. In the process, they improved to a record of 2-0 for the first time since 2016. Throughout this two-game span, they have beaten their opponents by a combined score of 76-3. In an image that could not be more opposite, the Dolphins are 0-2 for only the second time since 2012. They have lost by a combined score of 102-10.
The Patriots’ battered offensive line was dealt another blow when left tackle Isaiah Wynn left in the first half with a foot injury. He was replaced by Marshall Newhouse replaced him. Wynn did not return to the game. More information is expected on his health on Monday.
STONE IN THE SHOE?
Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed two extra points and a 48-yard field-goal attempt on Sunday. He has missed three extra points in the past two seasons, all in Miami. It should be noted that sweltering temperatures can often affect performance, especially for a kicker. However, It will be interesting to see if Gostkowski continues to struggle in the coming weeks. It should be expected that he will be practicing diligently, alongside holder Jake Bailey, who is also the Pats rookie punter.
The Patriots return to the friendly confines of Foxborough, as they host to the New York Jets on Sunday. New England has won the past six meetings between the two teams.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC