Final, 33-20 Dolphins: The Patriots put together something that could almost be considered a drive, but it hardly got them any chance to really get back into it. The drive ended with a desperate heave to the end zone that fell to the turf on fourth down. The Dolphins took a knee and walk away with the win. Quite the Week 1 shocker.
Fourth quarter, 2:00, 33-20 Dolphins: The Patriots picked up a fourth down, but not before Brady got hit hard again on third down.
Fourth quarter, 2:44, 33-20 Dolphins: Well, it’s not technically over yet, as the Pats’ D was able to come up with a stop. Caleb Sturgis drilled a field goal to take a 13-point lead with 2:44 left. The Patriots used all their timeouts, so a comeback here really would be something — especially considering the Patriots haven’t exactly been functioning offensively in the second half.
Fourth quarter, 3:04, 30-20 Dolphins: Brady got walloped on first down, threw to nobody on second down, and got strip-sacked on third down.
This is one of the worst halves of football of the entire Brady-Belichick era.
First-and-10 for Miami at the New Egnland 14-yard line with 3:04 left.
Fourth quarter, 3:29, 30-20 Dolphins: That will just about do it. A roughing-the-passer penalty on Chandler Jones, a big catch by Mike Wallace and a hard-nosed touchdown run by Knowshon Moreno has the Dolphins up 10 points with just 3:29 to play.
If the Patriots had shown some ability to protect Brady today, a comeback would still be possible. Unlikely, but still possible. But right now? No way. The Patriots will be lucky if Brady gets out of the final 3 minutes without getting hurt. The protection has been that bad.
Fourth quarter, 9:30, 23-20 Dolphins: An offensive pass interference penalty on Brandon LaFell, after LaFell set a pick on Jimmy Wilson, hurt the Patriots this time around, and Brady missed Edelman badly on the third down that followed. It looked like Brady expected Edelman to keep running toward the corner, but Edelman settled down between defenders.
Fourth quarter, 11:02, 23-20 Dolphins: That Darrelle Revis fella, he’s pretty good. He perfectly timed a pass breakup on third down, forcing an incompeltion to Wallace and forcing the Dolphins to punt. Edelman returned that punt to the Miami 45, giving the Patriots pretty good field position. I think Brady is going to have to go to Edelman often here for the Patriots to get anything going.
Fourth quarter, 12:35, 23-20 Dolphins: If you’ve followed this game at all, it won’t be surprising for you to learn that another Patriots drive ends with Brady getting sacked. The pressure is coming right up the middle, and the QB has had absolutely no chance to do anything at all in the second half.
So again, the Patriots have to rely entirely on the defense to get something going. Considering what a struggle it’s been on the interior for New England, Miami’s best bet would be to run it up the gut as much as possible.
Fourth quarter, 14:12, 23-20 Dolphins: The Dolphins looked like they felt bad for the Patriots on that drive. Tannehill fumbled a handoff on first down before badly missing a wide open Clay on second down, and the third-down pass fell incomplete a well. Julian Edelman muffed the ensuing punt but recovered, and now the offense tries to actually get something going. That’s not going to happen until the line protects Brady.
End of third quarter, 23-20 Dolphins: The Patriots faced a third-and-29. Yes, a third-and-29. As you might expect, the Patriots did not convert their third-and-29, and a punt is upcoming.
The offense actually got off to a good start on that drive, with Thompkins catching a pass over the middle and moving the chains, followed by Ridley turning the corner and bursting up the sideline for a 20-yard gain. But that run got called back for holding, Brady’s screen pass missed on the next play, and Brady got walloped by four Dolphins that came in untouched on second down. The New England offensive line has truly been horrific today, and the Dolphins are taking advantage.
The Patriots essentially need their defense to come up with another turnover on the next Miami drive, because the offense just isn’t getting anything going. One more Miami score, and the mountain may be too tall for the offense to climb.
Third quarter, 2:38, 23-20 Dolphins: The Patriots’ defense has been absolutely porous against the run, and they just got torched rather quickly for a TD. However, a holding call on that TD run pushed the Dolphins back 10 yards and gave New England another chance to come up with a stop.
On third-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Tannehill floated a pass over the head of Charles Clay. So the Patriots held the Fins to just the three points, but they got more than a little lucky with that holding penalty.
The defense looked completely gassed, and the Patriots really need another long, methodical drive from Brady and the offense. The Pats have had the ball for a total of 2:49 in the third quarter.
Third quarter, 5:53, 20-20: The momentum has shifted considerably, as the Pats’ O-line is falling apart. Brady was pressured heavily on first and third down incompletions, and the Pats were forced to punt. Miami will have a first down near midfield after a bad Ryan Allen punt.
Third quarter, 6:55, 20-20: Ryan Tannehill just tested Darrelle Revis, and he’s got a touchdown to show for it.
Granted, Revis was tight in coverage of Wallace and it looked like he even got a piece of the pass, but the receiver used his strength to win the fight for the ball and come down with it in the end zone. And just like that, it’s a tie game.
Turnovers — and the ability to capitalize on them — remains the leading story of this game.
Second quarter, 8:59, 20-13 Patriots: Cameron Wake came flying around the end and stripped Tom Brady. The Dolphins recover and take over on the New England 34-yard line.
Michael Hoomanawanui looks like he drew Wake duties on that play, and he stood absolutely no chance. I’m not sure that’s what the Patriots want protecting Brady. Ridley was in the backfield to lend a hand too, but he likewise couldn’t slow down Wake.
Second quarter, 10:46, 20-13 Patriots: The Patriots benefit from an inaccurate Tannehill pass to Miller, which forced the running back to reach up and make a catch, therefore causing him to fall over. Instead of a first down, the Dolphins had a third-and-3, and they could not convert.
Sturgis hit a chip shot field goal, and it’s a seven-point game.
That drive was aided by Chandler Jones getting called for hitting Tannehill in the head, even though Jones mostly went with an arm bar across the upper chest of Tannehill. The QB’s head snapped back though, so the flag went a-flying.
Third quarter, 14:53, 20-10 Patriots: Gostkowski’s kick sailed out of the end zone to start the third quarter, but an offside penalty on the Patriots forced a re-kick. The second kick was low and short, and the Dolphins were start at the 27 instead of the 20.
Halftime, 20-10 Patriots: Here are some halftime stats for you:
Tom Brady: 19-for-29, 187 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Julian Edelman: 6 receptions, 95 yards; 2 rushes, 21 yards
Rob Gronkowski: 3 receptions, 33 yards, 1 TD
Ryan Tannehill: 10-for-15, 73 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Knowshon Moreno: 8 carries, 43 yards
Mike Wallace: 4 receptions, 34 yards
End of second quarter, 20-10 Patriots: A mysterious offensive pass interference penalty on Kenbrell Thompkins ended any hopes of the Patriots scoring a touchdown, so Stephen Gostkowski came out for a 45-yard field goal attempt. Gostkowski nailed it, but Cortland Finnegan was called for running into the kicker. The Patriots could have accepted the penalty and gotten a first down, but with just 6 seconds left on the clock, they were out of time to try to take another shot at the end zone.
So the Pats declined the penalty, and they’ll take a 20-10 lead into halftime.
Second quarter, :46, 17-10 Patriots: The Pats just used their first timeout while driving. Brady connected with Edelman for a big gain of 21 yards before hitting Vereen over the middle for a quick gain of 5. It’ll be second-and-5 from the 42-yard line when the game resumes following this timeout.
Second quarter, 1:59, 17-10 Patriots: Malcolm Butler got away with a pretty obvious pass interference penalty on a second-down pass from Ryan Tannehill, but the Patriots will take it. A third down pass deep to Mike Wallace was broken up by Revis, and the Dolphins had to settle for a field goal.
Earlier on that drive, Wallace got Revis to bite hard on a stutter-step along the sideline, but Tannehill’s pass led Wallace just out of bounds as he caught the ball in the end zone.
Dont’a Hightower also picked up a 15-yard penalty for hitting Ryan Tannehill with force, which is greatly discouraged in today’s NFL.
Second quarter, 6:24, 17-7 Patriots: The Pats don’t make much of that turnover, going three-and-out after Tom Brady threw to nobody on third down. That was strange.
On the positive side for New England, Ryan Allen’s punt wasn’t blocked. Baby steps.
Second quarter, 7:14, 17-7 Patriots: The Patriots have forced another turnover, and it was 26-on-26 crime. Miller, No. 26 on the Dolphins, found a ton of space over the middle and was running at full speed when Logan Ryan, No. 26 on New England, torpedoed his helmet right on the ball, which popped right out.
Darrelle Revis recoverd, and the Pats take over.
Second quarter, 8:37, 17-7 Patriots: Two outstanding individual efforts stood out on this drive. The first came on a third-and-10 with the Pats backed up near their own goal line. Brady checked down to a run play at the line, and Vereen took a handoff behind the right tackle. He weaved his way around bodies and ended up pulling a spin-o-rama while tumbling over, but he managed to pick up the first down.
Two plays later, Brady went deep to Edelman. The pass was a little bit underthrown, but Edelman showed incredible focus to haul in the pass with Cortland Finnegan all over him. That one picked up 44 yards.
Two plays later, on third-and-6, Brady hit Edelman on a slant to pick up the first down and get the Pats into the red zone. Ridley then ran it up the gut to get the Pats inside the 10, and two plays later, Brady was patient in the pocket and hit Rob Gronkowski streaking across the goal line for a touchdown.
The duo shared quite the intense moment after the TD, and the Pats now lead by 10.
That was another incredible drive led by Brady.
Second quarter, 12:56, 10-7 Patriots: You know that Bill Belichick values turnovers more than anything, and he’s no doubt pleased that his team is now plus-2 in that category.
That’s because Tannehill sent an ill-advised deep ball over the middle of the field, and Alfonzo Dennard was able to make a play on the ball, which was thrown completely behind Mike Wallace.
Tannehill does not look good today, and the Pats take over deep in their own territory.
Credit Dont’a Hightower for pressuring Tannehill to throw the pass one tick before the QB wanted to get rid of it.
End of first quarter, 10-7 Patriots: The first quarter ends with Ryan Tannehill connecting with Mike Wallace, who was visiting Revis Island. Darrelle Revis was trailing in coverage as Wallace ran an in-cut, and the Dolphins were able to get the ball across the 50 before the end of the first quarter.
First quarter, :47, 10-7 Patriots: The Patriots were in great position, but a facemask penalty on Ryan Wendell pushed them back. It resulted in Stephen Gostkowski’s kick being a bit longer at 47 yards, but it was no problem for him, as he drilled it to give the Pats the lead.
It was another calm drive led by Brady, who nearly got sacked on the opening play but somehow escaped the grasp of Olivier Vernon. But Brady was a little too locked in on Gronk on that drive, twice throwing to the tight end when he wasn’t open, so they still have some work to do in trying to get on the same page.
First quarter, 3:39, 7-7: The Patriots’ defense has forced its first turnover of the season, thanks to Jamie Collins delivering a shot and a half on Mike Wallace over the middle.
The receiver caught a pass slightly behind him while running a drag route across the field, and Collins popped his helmet right across Wallace’s body. Jerod Mayo rolled over a couple of times before finding the ball, and the Pats take over at the Miami 35-yard line.
What a hit.
First quarter, 5:10, 7-7: There are many advantages to having Tom Brady as your quarterback. His refusal to ever panic is at the top of the list.
Brady didn’t let the ugly start balloon into anything worse, as he just engineered a brilliant 80-yard scoring drive that took 13 plays. Brady connected with Tim Wright, Kenbrell Thompkins, Rob Gronkowski, Stevan Ridley, Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen, while Edelman, Ridley and Vereen all had carries. Vereen did the honors of plunging into the end zone, and this game is tied up.
Brady went 6-for-6 on the drive.
First quarter, 11:46, 7-0 Dolphins: That did not take long. After picking up the inches on a third-and-short from the 6-yard line, the Dolphins find the end zone and take a 7-0 lead.
Lamar Miller ran an out to the right side with Rob Ninkovich in pursuit. Ryan Tannehill rolled right and connected with Miller for an easy TD, and the Dolphins lead 7-0.
First quarter, 13:36, 0-0: Rob Gronkowski’s been on the field for one play, and he’s been targeted once. Unfortunately for him, he does not have a catch, as he couldn’t haul in a third down pass over the middle.
The Pats went three-and-out, and punter Ryan Allen couldn’t handle the low snap. The Dolphins blocked the punt and now take over at the New England 15-yard line. Disaster early for the Patriots.
First quarter, 15:00: Patrick Chung and Matthew Slater were back deep for the opening kick, which sailed out of the back of the end zone. Brady is on the field, running the offense.
1:01 p.m.: The Dolphins won the coin toss and elected to defer. The Patriots will be receiving to start this one.
12:53 p.m.: The teams have taken the field, and kickoff creeps even closer.
12:45 p.m.: Kickoff is closing in quickly. This ought to get you pumped.
12:28 p.m.: Based on warmups, it looks like we won’t get to see Solder and Vollmer lining up next to each other on the left side of the line. Marcus Cannon has been taking reps at left guard, with Vollmer in his normal spot at right tackle. Jordan Devey is in at right guard, with Dan Connolly at center.
12:25 p.m.: Some good stuff from a candid Tom Brady here.
11:36 a.m.: The Patriots’ inactive list is in. Most notable are the absences — Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. That means, as expected, they’ll both be playing today.
Here are the Patriots’ inactives:
Michael Buchanan, DE
Aaron Dobson, WR
Darius Fleming, LB
Chris Jones, DL
Josh Kline, OL
Bryan Stork, OL
James White, RB
The lone surprise may be Aaron Dobson. He missed the first three preseason games as he slowly recovered from his foot injury, but he returned in the preseason finale and he looked pretty good. Perhaps he’s not completely up to speed, and with Gronkowski likely a part-time player today, the Patriots couldn’t afford to have two part-timers on the active roster today.
The other notable name missing from the inactive list is Dominique Easley. Today, we’ll get to see the rookie in game action for the first time. That’s awfully exciting.
11:32 a.m.: The Dolphins’ inactives are in, and there’s no surprises here:
11:23 a.m.: If you’re looking for some pregame reading to help get you to game time, we’ve got you covered and then some:
11:18 a.m.: Sure is a nice day in Miami:
10: 30 a.m.: The smell of football is in the air as the opening kick to the first football Sunday of the season is just a few short hours away.
For the Patriots, that will come in Miami, where many unknowns await for both teams. After months of grueling practices, four preseason tune-ups and countless hours spent in meeting rooms, these two teams will finally know what they’re made of when they take the field today.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski were both listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week, but both are expected to play. As soon as there’s official word, I’ll have the update right here in the live blog.
I’ll also have every bit of pregame information that’s available, and I’ll be providing updates and analysis from the moment the ball is kicked until there’s a 1-0 team and an 0-1 team. My prediction is that the Patriots come away winners, but I also know that truly anything can happen in Week 1 of an NFL season.