Gold Stars, Penalty Flags: Blount, Bennett Come Up Big In Patriots Win Over Dolphins

BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots have won two straight, but now they find themselves in a tough spot with a need at quarterback on the depth chart.

To make matters worse, they have to navigate the Jimmy G. injury situation on a short week, with the Houston Texans coming to town on Thursday night.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, here are your Gold Stars and Penalty Flags from Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Miami Dolphins:

Gold Stars

– LeGarrette Blount gets a gold star. I have no idea what has gotten into LeGarrette this season, but he is running the ball like a player looking for a contract. He was good against Arizona in Week 1, but he was even better in Sunday’s home opener. Blount finished with 123 yards on 29 carries, and more importantly, he was reliable with “The Duke” when the Pats lost Jimmy Garoppolo. He held on to the ball and kept getting to the edge.

Two games in and he’s been a legit number-one back. All the talk about “when is Dion Lewis coming back?” has calmed down.

Plus, he keeps leaping over guys.

– Martellus Bennett gets a gold star. Last week, Bennett showed off his blocking skills. This week, he was a receiving star with five catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. Bennett was the Pats big-play receiver against the Dolphins, averaging over twenty yards per catch.

His postgame comment about Blount were even better though. When asked what he thought of Blount hurdling Bryon Maxwell, he replied, “LeGarrette doesn’t look like a player that can do that,” adding, “you watch that and start yelling Bambi.”

Simply priceless.

Martellus Bennett   (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Martellus Bennett puts Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso on the ground. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

– Jimmy Garoppolo gets a gold star:  Before Garoppolo got hurt, he was on his way to being Offensive Player of the Week. Jimmy started fast and spread the rock around to all his weapons. It was surgical the way he was carving up the Miami defense.

Folks, if Jimmy doesn’t get behind center for another game for the Patriots, his resume after two games is enough to earn himself a $100 million contract. Teams are going to be knocking on the Pats’ door with offers.

Penalty Flags

– The Pats second half pass defense gets a penalty flag. I understand the Pats played most of the second half in prevent defense, but come on! At certain points they needed to make a stop and that didn’t happen. Ryan Tannehill finished the game with 389 yards through the air and nearly brought the Dolphins back. They have to tighten that up.

Also, last year Patrick Chung was solid against tight ends. Right now, he’s getting beat like a drum.

– Stephen Gostkowski gets a penalty flag. He is supposed to be automatic, but when the Pats needed to salt this game away with a field goal, Mr. Automatic missed. That can’t happen.

Gostkowski is the one player Bill Belichick chooses not to worry about and most of the time, he’s right. But now, he’s missed in the AFC Championship game, he missed a couple in the preseason and he missed on Sunday. Stephen Gostkowski needs to be better.

– Bill Belichick gets a penalty flag. All preseason long, the question to coach was, “Are you going to bring in a veteran quarterback to learn the system, just in case Jimmy gets hurt?”  His answer was, “there are no quarterbacks out there.”

He was right, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Well, right now, the Pats are sorry. This is the worst time for Garoppolo to go down, with a short week and a defense led by J.J. Watt coming to town.

Even stranger is, as I’m writing this, the Patriots have not contacted any player to back up Jacoby Brissett on Thursday. So all they have is Julian Edelman, who was a quarterback at Kent State, or A.J. Derby, who was a quarterback at Arkansas.

Coach has always said he does what’s best for the team. This time he did not.

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