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Patriots-Dolphins Live Blog: Pats Escape With 31-24 Win Over Miami

By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Follow the updates as the Patriots host the Miami Dolphins in their 2016 home opener.

Final — Patriots 31, Dolphins 24 | Box Score

What an up and down day at Gillette. Jimmy Garoppolo was phenomenal in his second career start, tossing three touchdowns, only to get knocked out in the second quarter. In came Jacoby Brissett, who finished 6-for-9 for 92 yards with 12 rushing yards on four attempts.

The defense nearly let New England’s giant halftime lead slip away, with Miami scoring 24 unanswered in the second half, but the Pats didn’t break in the end. LeGarrette Blount helped with some big runs as New England drained the clock in the fourth quarter, finishing the day with 123 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown.

The second half wasn’t pretty, but the Patriots escaped with a win to improve to 2-0 on the season despite losing Garoppolo in the first half. Now they have a short week to deal with, as the Houston Texans come to town for showdown on Thursday Night Football.

But the Patriots are 2-0, half way there to getting Tom Brady back under center.

Stick with CBSBostonsports.com for updates on Garoppolo throughout the evening, and tune in to Patriots 5th Quarter on myTV38 and Patriots Postgame on 98.5 The Sports Hub for full reaction and analysis on that wild one we saw at Gillette.

4th Quarter, 00:02: That was a giant sigh of relief you just felt coming from Foxboro. Duron Harmon picked off Tannehill’s heave into the end zone, sealing the victory for the Patriots.

4th Quarter, 00:09: Devin McCourty broke up a Tannehill bid for Stills along the sideline, setting up a 4th-and-5 for Miami.

4th Quarter, 00:19: The Patriots defense forgot how to tackle, allowing Tannehill to run for 17 yards to the New England 35.

4th Quarter, 1:04: This game just keeps getting more and more interesting. Gostkowski missed it, pushing it right.

That gives Miami one final chance to tie things, though they have no timeouts and 71 yards to march down the field.

4th Quarter, 1:25: Here comes Stephen Gostkowski for a 39-yard field goal attempt to seal it.

4th Quarter, 1:52: No gain for Blount, and the Dolphins burn their final timeout. The Pats face a 3rd-and-13 when play resumes.

4th Quarter, 1:57:  Blount was hit in the backfield for a three-yard loss. Miami called their second timeout to stop the clock.

4th Quarter, 2:00: Facing a 2nd-and-1, Brissett goes up the middle with the QB sneak to pick up two yards. He received a great push from fullback James Develin on the play.

4th Quarter, 2:17: Nine more yards for Blount up the middle, forcing Miami to burn their first timeout.

4th Quarter, 2:48: The Pats had to mix in a pass, so Brissett went short to Bennett, who picked up an important 16 yards to get to the Miami 35.

4th Quarter, 4:25: The Pats needed a yard, facing a 3rd-and-1, and Brissett got it for them with a keeper up the middle. Even better, it keeps the clock moving too.

4th Quarter, 4:39: So far so good, as Blount has rushed for 22 yards on three carries. He’s now over the 100-yard mark on the day.

4th Quarter, 6:06 — Patriots 31, Dolphins 24

This one is getting a lot more interesting with just over six minutes left, as rookie running back Kenyan Drake finds the end zone for the first time in his career to make it a one-score game.

That capped off a nine-play drive for the Dolphins that covered 74 yards in 4:43, making it 24 unanswered points for Miami. Tannehill looks more like Jimmy Garoppolo in the second half, going 20-for-21 for 256 yards.

The Patriots need a nice long drive that milks the clock on this possession.

4th Quarter, 6:45: After Landry picked up five yards on a 3rd-and-2, the Dolphins are moving. Tannehill has passed for a first down on three of his last four throws, and Miami is now set up on the New England 12.

The Patriots D is really struggling with the no huddle right now.

4th Quarter, 10:49: That sloppy turn of events ends with a 28-yard punt by Ryan Allen that was downed at the Miami 26.

There’s still a lot of time left in this one, as the Patriots can’t seem to get enough going to eat any clock.

The good news is Jamie Collins and Patrick Chung are both heading back out onto the field after their scary collision last time out.

4th Quarter, 11:49: Brissett just fumbled as he tried to scramble away from the Miami pass rush, and he’s lucky the ball was recovered by James White at the New England 41 after bouncing around for a bit. It brings up a 3rd-and-29 for the Pats.

4th Quarter, 14:33:  LeGarrette Blount has a potential future as an Olympic hurdler. He just jumped over Bryon Maxwell as part of a 26-yard gain to start New England’s drive.

Blount is up to 88 yards on 21 carries for the day.

4th Quarter, 14:51 — Patriots 31, Dolphins 17

Ryan Tannehill found Jordan Cameron in the end zone, and to make matters worse both Jamie Collins and Patrick Chung are down after colliding in he end zone.

Collins’ helmet hit Chung’s leg, snapping his head back on the play. Chung was also limping after getting up.

Both players are up and moving, but these injuries could be a big concern heading into a short week.

4th Quarter, 14:55: Tough start for the Patriots defense to start the game’s final quarter, as Logan Ryan is flagged for PI after tripping up Parker on his route. It’s a 20-yard penalty that has the ball at the New England 32.

End 3rd Quarter — Patriots 31, Dolphins 10

Justin Coleman is having a tough day in the New England secondary. With the Dolphins facing a 3rd-and-1, he was just burned for a 33-yard connection between Tannehill and Landry, setting Miami up in New England territory.

15 more minutes to go in this one, with New England holding a three touchdown lead.

3rd Quarter, 2:04: Another negative play, a four-yard loss by James White, set up a 3rd-and-22 for the Patriots, and a short pass to White wasn’t going to get it done on third down. After picking up just five yards on the play, the Pats were forced to punt it away.

After an illegal block by Miami on the punt, the Dolphins will take over at their own 12-yard line.

3rd Quarter, 3:58: Brissett does in fact have legs, but he can also be brought down. He was just sacked by Miami’s Jason Jones for an eight-yard loss.

3rd Quarter, 5:16: Jacoby Brissett has some legs! Facing a 2nd-and-9, the QB scrambled for 10 yards off a play fake to pick up the first down.

3rd Quarter, 5:45 — Patriots 31, Dolphins 10

Redemption for Kenny Stills, if there is such a thing with your team down by four touchdowns.

Tannehill connected with the man who dropped a sure-thing touchdown last week in Seattle, this time for a 24-yard touchdown. Justin Coleman got absolutely smoked on the play, likely thinking Stills would drop it.

The Dolphins are now within three touchdowns.

There is some actual bad news for the Patriots on that drive, as safety Patrick Chung appears to have suffered an injury on a DeVante Parker catch along the sidelines.

3rd Quarter, 8:44 — Patriots 31, Dolphins 3

The Dolphins are letting their emotions get the best of themselves, and it’s costing them yards and points.

After Brissett hit Edelman for seven yards on that 3rd-and-4, Miami’s Brice McCain was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for a small tussle/shouting match with Edelman. The penalty set the Pats up at the Miami 9, and on first down Blount bowled into the end zone for the first points of the second half.

3rd Quarter, 9:57: Another 15 yards from the Brissett-Bennett collaboration, turning a 2nd-and-19 into a manageable 3rd-and-4.

3rd Quarter, 10:50: There’s the first completion of Brissett’s career, a 47-yard hookup with Martellus Bennett. It was a short completion, but Bennett threw Byron Maxwell out of his way with a beautiful stiff arm and made his way to the Miami 31 before a pair of defenders took him down.

Bennett is a big guy, so I’m not sure why he was so open there. Chalk it up to the Dolphins defense.

3rd Quarter, 11:35: The Dolphins are funny.

Just when it looks like they’ve put it together, trying to take advantage of New England losing their starting QB, Jay Ajayi fumbles at the New England 34. Trey Flowers had the strip and the recovery, and the Patriots take over after the third Miami turnover of the afternoon.

3rd Quarter, 15:00: Garoppolo has officially been declared out for the rest of this one. That means Julian Edelman is now New England’s backup quarterback.

Halftime — Patriots 24, Dolphins 3

It’s been all Patriots so far today, but the big story is the status of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He left with a shoulder injury after being driven to the field in the second quarter, and is questionable to return. Many are speculating that he may have suffered a broken collarbone on the play.

Which is a damn shame, because Garoppolo was having himself a day before getting hurt. He went 18-for-27 for 234 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Danny Amendola for two touchdowns and Martellus Bennett for the other. The offense was cruising with Garoppolo under center, but have since stalled with rookie Jacoby Brissett thrust into action.

We’ll keep you posted on any Garoppolo news throughout the rest of the afternoon, but it looks like this is Brissett’s team for now.

At least @NFL_Memes is having some fun with this:

2nd Quarter, 00:05: Tannehill went DeVante Parker’s way in the corner of the end zone, but the two couldn’t connect as the ball hit off Parker’s finger tips. So looks like Miami will settle for three points before going into the locker room.

2nd Quarter, 00:11: Tannehill hits Landry for 25 yards down to the New England 9-yard line, setting Miami up for at least a field goal before halftime.

2nd Quarter, 00:58: Two more runs for Blount, another incomplete for Brissett and another New England punt.

The offense is running a little bit different under the rookie…

2nd Quarter, 1:49: There’s the Dolphins offense we’d grown to love over the first 28 minutes of this one. Tannehill went looking for Landry over the middle of the field, but instead found Jamie Collins, who he somehow didn’t see just hanging out.

Landry wasn’t very pleased after the pick, and he tried to throw Collins down on the sideline. The Pats defense took exception, as Landry was escorted off the field by an official (no flags were thrown).

The Pats now take over at midfield.

2nd Quarter, 1:58: The Dolphins are kind of moving the ball, by Dolphins’ standards at least, picking up 29 yards on their first three plays of the drive before the two-minute warning.

They have the ball at the New England 46, and will get the ball back to start the second half. This is a huge possession for the Miami offense, and at the moment, the New England defense.

2nd Quarter, 2:52 — Patriots 24, Dolphins 0

A 34-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski puts the Patriots on top 24-0, as they settle for a field goal with rookie Jacoby Brissett now in for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Blount ran the ball on the first two plays of Brissett’s NFL career, with the rook going Edelman’s way on third down. He delivered a nice pass to Edelman on the left sideline, but Edelman couldn’t come down with the catch.

Garoppolo is questionable to return with the shoulder injury, the team just announced.

2nd Quarter, 4:20: Oh boy, this one is about to get interesting.

Jimmy G. found rookie Malcolm Mitchell for a nice 3rd-and-9 conversion, picking up 15 yards on the play, but Garoppolo was driven into the ground by Kiko Alonso after making the throw. He landed hard on his right shoulder and favored it as he made his way to the sideline, taking a knee before getting there.

Jacoby Brissett is warming up on the sideline.

2nd Quarter, 5:49: And just like that, the Patriots have the ball back. Chris Long recovered a Jarvis Landry fumble at the New England 48, so the offense is back in business.

2nd Quarter, 6:02:  We have the first miscue of the day for the New England Patriots offense, as Amendola fumbles away a third down connection with Garoppolo. The Dolphins now take over at their own 42.

2nd Quarter, 8:45: It’s already pretty ugly for the Dolphins, but it’s actually getting worse.

Facing a 3rd-and-6, they snapped it to nobody, as Tannehill wasn’t ready for it. That happened last year and ended up being a safety; this time it goes for a 25-yard loss.

2nd Quarter, 10:02: We have our first Patriots punt of the day, as Garoppolo and the offense goes 3-and-out. Miami ramped up their pressure, and got a body on Garoppolo as he launched a third down pass to James White a little too far over the running back.

Jimmy picked up four yards on a completion to Hogan to start the drive, so he’s at 199 passing yards for the day.

2nd Quarter, 10:54: The Dolphins are apparently having some headset issues. They’re going to need a lot more than better communication though.

2nd Quarter, 11:33: Another 3-and-out for the Dolphins, who have just one first down this afternoon thanks to a New England penalty.

Tannehill did pick up his first completion of the day, a four-yard connection to Kenyan Drake, but his third down bid to Jordan Cameron was nearly picked by Duron Harmon along the sidelines.

2nd Quarter, 13:10 — Patriots 21, Dolphins 0: Another third down, another Patriots touchdown.

Garoppolo hit Amendola over the middle for their second touchdown of the day. Amendola was wide open, with the Miami blitzing defenders. It’s the first multi-touchdown game of Amendola’s career.

But that pass rush hasn’t been an issue all day, thanks to Garoppolo’s quickly getting the ball out of his hands. He can thank his receivers too, who haven’t had much issue creating separation from Miami defensive backs.

Garoppolo has 195 passing yards on the day, less than two minutes into the second quarter.

2nd Quarter, 13:53: Facing a 2-and-13 to start the second quarter, James White picks up 16 yards with a nice shifty run on a delayed handoff.

End 1st Quarter — Patriots 14, Dolphins 0

Everything went New England’s way over the first 15 minutes of this one, as they own a two-touchdown lead over the Dolphins.

Garoppolo is 12-for-15 with 177 yards and two scores so far, while the Dolphins have just 12 yards of total offense.

Talk about focus…

1st Quarter, 1:54: Third downs are not an issue for Garoppolo or the Patriots today. Facing a 3rd-and-7, Garoppolo calmly (and quickly) hit Edelman over the middle for a 19-yard pickup. Pats are down to the Miami 29 after third straight third down conversion today.

1st Quarter, 3:19: Jimmy G. went deep on a nice play action that had the Miami D bite hard, but he missed a wide open Matthew Slater streaking down the field.

He had plenty of time to rear back on that throw, a testament to the New England offense line, who have had a solid day so far against a usually tough Miami pass rush.

1st Quarter, 4:31: The Patriots offense has little time to rest, with the defense forcing a quick three-and-out.

Arian Foster picked up five yards on first down, but Tannehill couldn’t pick up the other five on a pair of scrambles, including a 3rd-and-1. The Pats will take over at their own 24 after Miami’s punt.

1st Quarter, 6:22 — Patriots 14, Dolphins 0

Garoppolo is making things look easy against the Dolphins defense. After his first incompletion, he hooked up with tight end Martellus Bennett over the middle for a 20-yard score. It was another third down conversion for Garoppolo and the Patriots, who are a perfect 2-for-2 on third down this afternoon.

Jimmy is up to 136 yards already, and we’re still in the first quarter. He did a great job looking at Edelman the entire time before firing a bullet to Bennett, the tight end’s first touchdown as a member of the Patriots.

1st Quarter, 6:27: Garoppolo started this one a perfect 8-for-8 before his first inc0mpletion, a bid over the middle to James White on 2nd-and-9.

1st Quarter, 9:24: First play of the drive has Jimmy Garoppolo finding Chris Hogan in the flat, and he picks up 19 yards before going out of bounds (and delivering a viscous knockdown on a Miami corner who went over for the tackle).

Hogan looks like he’s fitting in perfectly in the New England offense over the last two weeks.

1st Quarter, 9:32: Miami picked up a first down thanks to a defensive hold on Jonathan Freeny, but the defense looks great to start this one.

Tannehill was destroyed by Jamie Collins while delivering a second down pass to Kenny Stills (which fell incomplete), and Duron Harmon had a nice breakup on a third down bid to tight end Jordan Cameron. Miami’s struggles on third down continues, and the Patriots will now take over at their own 25.

1st Quarter, 10:53 — Patriots 7, Dolphins 0

Well that didn’t take long. Garoppolo bought some time in the pocket, sliding away from some Miami defenders as the pocket collapsed, and hit Danny Amendola from 12 yards out for the first score of the game. Amendola fought for the last couple of yards on the play, putting the Patriots up 7-0.

Earlier in the drive, Edelman and Chris Hogan both delivered big blogs on a short pass to Martellus Bennett, which the tight end turned into a 26-yard catch-and-run.

Garoppolo finished the drive a perfect 5-for-5 for 64 yards and the touchdown. In both of his NFL starts, Jimmy G. has now orchestrated an opening drive score for the Patriots.

1st Quarter, 12:30: Facing their first third down of the game, Garoppolo calmly hit Edelman on the left side of the field to move the chains.

The Patriots were great on third down last week in Arizona, a trend that they hope to continue this afternoon.

1st Quarter — 14:50: The Dolphins are bringing the pressure, with Kiko Alonso getting a good hit on Jimmy Garoppolo on his first play of the game. Too bad for Miami that Garoppolo did a great job getting the ball out and picking up 13 yards to Julian Edelman over the middle.

Pregame — 1:01 p.m.: David Ortiz joined Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty for today’s coin toss, which the Dolphins won. They deferred to the second half, so the Patriots will receive to start this one.

Pregame — 12:55 p.m.: David Ortiz was announced as an honorary captain, and received a rousing ovation from the Gillette crowd. He took the field in a Tom Brady jersey.

Pregame — 12:40 p.m.: Jonathan Kraft also quickly touched on the status of Rob Gronkowski during his interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub, saying Gronk will be on the field “when the time is right.”

“Rob will play when the doctors, coaching staff and Rob all feel it’s the right time for that to happen. It’s a 16-game regular season and you have to manage players health and safety. Rob plays the game in a very physical way and is a big football player. It’s a long season and we have confidence in the whole 53-man roster,” said Kraft. “We’ll see Rob when the time is right.”

Pregame — 12:29 p.m.: Look who else is at Gillette, supporting No. 12:

Ortiz will be honored ahead of the game, as per President Jonathan Kraft on 98.5 The Sports Hub:

“He is obviously right up on that pantheon of the greatest in Boston sports. Much like our quarterback he’s proving that age doesn’t matter when you have the drive and the ability,” said Kraft. “It’s all about yourself as a competitor, and David was kind enough to agree to come down so the Patriots crowd would have a chance to honor him. We’re going to do something with him ahead of kickoff.”

Pregame — 12:23 p.m.: With Dont’a Hightower out, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Scott Zolak that Jonathan Freeny will be the primary replacement for the defensive captain. Rookie Elandon Roberts, active and set to make his debut, along with Barkevious Mingo could also see some significant time as well, depending on how the Dolphins line up.

Pregame — 12:13 p.m.: Remember that fake Tom Brady mask that was entertaining/freaking everyone out in Arizona last week? It’s back in New England this weekend, with a twist.

Earlier this week, Welker told CBS Radio in Miami that he was going to be in New England this weekend for some shenanigans. The former Patriots receiver wanted to get dinner with Tom Brady, but the suspended QB enlisted Welker to work out with him instead.

Now Welker is having some fun with New England tailgaters as Fake Brady. Never a dull moment leading up to the game down at Gillette.

Pregame — 12:02 p.m.: It’s one of those weird days in New England where it doesn’t know if it wants to be summer or fall. And to make things a little more fun, it’s raining at Gillette.

Pregame — 11:31 a.m.: It’s official, Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower are out for this one.

That means Jamie Collins will be wearing the communication helmet on the defense.

Also joining them on the inactives are tight end A.J. Derby, corner Eric Rowe, guard Jonathan Cooper, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle and defensive lineman Anthony Johnson.

The good news is Nate Solder is not on that list, so he’ll be likely protecting Jimmy Garoppolo’s blind side after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury. That’s important, because Mario Williams is active for Miami after dealing with a concussion all week. Miami receiver DeVante Parker is also active for this one.

Running back D.J. Foster is active and will likely make his NFL debut. It will be interesting to see how he fits into the running back mix this afternoon.

With A.J. Derby out, veteran tight end Clay Harbor is active and will make his New England debut.

Pregame — 11:15 a.m.: The Pats are looking to build off their impressive 23-21 win over the Cardinals in Arizona last week, and have only lost a one of their home openers in Gillette Stadium history. That lone loss came in 2012 when the Pats fell to the Cardinals on a missed Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The Patriots are 13-1 in Gillette openers overall.

There are a few notable Patriots who will not be suiting up in this one, with tight end Rob Gronkowski and linebacker Dont’a Hightower both reportedly out of the contest. Left tackle Nate Solder initially took the field for pregame workouts but did not remain out there for long, so we’ll see what that means for his status today in just a few minutes.

Follow along for all the updates from today’s Patriots home opener against the Miami Dolphins. You can catch the game on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub, the flagship stations of the New England Patriots, with three hours of coverage on 98.5FM following the tilt. After Pats-Dolphins wraps up, you can catch Patriots 5th Quarter (the only place to see Jimmy Garoppolo and Bill Belichick’s press conferences live) over on myTV38.

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