By Danny Cox
The New England Patriots (9-2) are looking more and more like the defending Super Bowl champions as each week of the season goes by, and they continued that trend against the Miami Dolphins (4-7) on Sunday. After a trip to Mexico City and an upcoming three-game road trip, the Patriots wanted to impress their hometown fans before hitting the road until the end of December.
They did just that with a big-time showing on both sides of the ball in a 35-17 blowout of the Dolphins, marking New England’s seventh straight win.
At first glance, the Patriots looked to have an excellent game on offense, but there were a few problems here and there. Tom Brady passed for 227 yards and four touchdowns while spreading the ball around to eight different pass catchers. Dion Lewis racked up 112 yards on just 15 carries to balance out the offense on the day.
Unfortunately, there was a bit of sloppiness as well.
Brady threw one interception and fumbled the ball twice, but only one was lost. There were a couple of mental errors as well, but nothing that really hindered or hurt them as proven by the final score.
As the season goes on, the defense continues to improve and show that they are just as big of a reason for the team’s success as the offense. On Sunday, they held the Dolphins to just 221 yards of total offense while forcing three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble).
The Dolphins’ running game continued to struggle as the Patriots held them to just 67 yards on the ground on 19 carries. It was an all-around great performance that saw the pass rush get seven sacks of Matt Moore on the day.
Special Teams: B
There really wasn’t much for special teams to do on Sunday against the Dolphins, but they made the most of it when the opportunities came about. What looked like a three-and-out by the offense to start the game turned into a touchdown drive when Nate Ebner picked up a first down on a fake punt.
Stephen Gostkowski hit all five of his extra point attempts while Ryan Allen had a good day punting the ball away.
The return game still isn’t really there, even though Dion Lewis had two decent kickoff returns. Danny Amendola had three punt return attempts, but he could only manage a total of four yards. It’s a good thing the offense of the Patriots is so explosive, as they need all that firepower since their field position isn’t always the greatest.
Bill Belichick knew that the Dolphins really didn’t have a lot to work with as they came into town with their back-up quarterback and low morale. Allowing Tom Brady to find as many receivers as possible while mixing in a nice bit of the running game made it easy for the Patriots to run up the score and take the win.
Up Next: Winners of seven straight, the New England Patriots will now head to Buffalo to take on the Bills at the beginning of a three-game road trip. The Bills had been losers of three straight, including two big blowouts, before defeating the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Pats have to face Buffalo two times in their final five games of the season and want to take the first one on the road.