Patriots make Dolphins feel unwelcome at Gillette Stadium

Traci McCartney New England Patriots Reporter

By Traci McCartney // @traciamc

New England Patriots 38 – Miami Dolphins 7

The Patriots looked like themselves again on Sunday. They beat the Miami Dolphins 38-7, and Miami’s seven points came in the 4th quarter.  It was almost like they were having an identity crisis earlier on.

Maybe it was like trying to live with a whole bunch of new roommates where you’re still trying to find out who everyone is and how they’re going to contribute to this new household.

Whatever it was, as the Patriots so often do, they rectified it in their game against the Dolphins, who, albeit only three games in, were at the top of the AFC East, undefeated. But Gillette has a strange mystery to it, especially for the Dolphins.

In the Bill Belichick era, the Dolphins are 3-19 in Foxborough.  The last time they won in Patriots’ country was in 2008 after quarterback Tom Brady sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 1.  The Patriots defense didn’t look good last week, and neither did the offense quite frankly.

But it seemed like the winds of change were blowing through New England this week. There were reports that the atmosphere seemed a little lighter during practice after the loss in Detroit. But would it translate to the game on Sunday? It sure did.

The Patriots had the possession advantage with the offense on the field for over 36 minutes. And the defense didn’t allow a Dolphins’ score until a little over two minutes left in the game. It was all Patriots, all the time. The return of defensive end Trey Flowers and defensive back Patrick Chung added some much-needed energy to the defensive squad.  

Although the defense had been allowing over 400 yards of offense on average for opposing teams in the first 3 games, they gave up only 172 yards, 75 of which came late in the 4th quarter on the Dolphins’ only scoring drive. They registered two sacks on the day: one by defensive lineman Adam Butler and one by recently signed defensive end/outside linebacker John Simon.

Tom Brady looked like Brady again. Although he threw two interceptions, he completed 22 of 35 passes for 274 yards and 4 TDs. The Patriots offense improved their third-down efficiency, which had been a big concern, converting 10 of 15 third downs.

They were able to work wide receiver Josh Gordon into the offense where he was targeted twice and had two catches for 32 yds. And he had a critical block that allowed running back James White to score on a 22 yd run, his first of two touchdowns in the game.

Yes, I think Josh Gordon is going to fit in just fine and Patriots’ fans should be excited for what’s to come.

The running game ramped up as well, with 175 yds of rushing offense. Rookie RB Sony Michel had a great game, rushing for over 100 yards and scoring his first NFL TD. Once again, fullback James Develin did his job, blocking out in front of Michel to open holes and create running lanes.

The Patriots looked better in all phases of the game this week. Will it continue into week 5? We’ll find out on this short week as the Patriots take on QB Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night. The Colts will be coming into Foxborough with a 1-3 record after a loss at home to the Houston Texans.

#GoPats  #OnToIndianapolis

 

Talk Patriots with Traci on Twitter @traciamc

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