By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots don’t usually have much fun when they take their trip down to Miami. But both sides of the ball enjoyed their Sunday in South Beach.

Tom Brady showed off his new weapon and the defense was downright dominant against the lowly Miami offense, as the Pats blew out the Dolphins 43-0.

Let’s jump right into Sunday’s Ups & Downs, because believe it or not, there were a few downs in the blowout victory. But the Ups were much more plentiful, obviously.


Dominating Defense

“If you don’t let them score, you can’t lose.”

That is one deep thought from Bill Belichick after Sunday’s win. But not letting the opposition score has become a common practice for the New England defense. The Patriots have not allowed a touchdown yet this season, and going back to the Super Bowl, it’s now 12 straight quarters without an opponent finding the end zone. That’s wild.

The Patriots allowed just 38 yards through the first three quarters on Sunday. They picked off Miami quarterbacks four times, two of which were returned for touchdowns. They had seven sacks, with Adam Butler leading the charge with two. Of Miami’s 13 possessions, the Patriots forced a three-and-out on six of them.

The defense was downright dominant on Sunday. Get ready to hear that a lot this season.

Picks All Around

All four of New England’s picks were beauties. The takeaway barrage started in the third quarter, when Stephon Gilmore tipped up a third down pass by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The ball fell right into the arms of Devin McCourty a few yards back, and the Patriots got a field goal off the ensuing possession.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Gilmore wanted a pick of his own, so he stepped in front of a Fitzy pass in the fourth quarter and brought it back 54 yards for a touchdown.

That was Gilmore’s first career touchdown, and at that point in the game, he had two fewer yards than the Miami offense.

One pick-six wasn’t enough for the Pats, though. Jamie Collins was in the right spot at the right time, snagging a pass that went off the hands of Kalen Ballage and returning it 69 yards for a touchdown of his own on Miami’s next drive.

The Dolphins really didn’t want to see a zero on the scoreboard, and had Josh Rosen throwing until the very last down. That last down saw Collins snag his second pick of the day.

The Patriots D took advantage of all of their opportunities on Sunday.

Antonio Brown Debuts

The Patriots have an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver, and they didn’t wait long to show off Brady’s newest weapon. Antonio Brown was on the bench for the Pats’ first offensive snap, but then he saw three targets on their first drive of the game. He caught all three of them for 36 yards, and then drew a defensive holding on Xavien Howard in the end zone to set up Sony Michel’s touchdown run.

Brown found the end zone three drives later, pulling in a back-shoulder pass from Brady for a 20-yard score.

That was it for Brown’s production on the day, as there were a few passes in the third quarter where Brady and Brown were not on the same page. Three of those were in the end zone. Brady also went Brown’s way on a third-and-7 in the end zone, but former Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe was there to break it up. Brady tapped his chest after the incomplete to say it was his bad, wishing he had put a little more air under the ball.

In all, Brown finished with four receptions on eight targets — with all of his catches coming in the first half. He played 25 snaps (including penalties) in his New England debut, and did not chat with reporters after the game.

Reliable Dorsett

Those outside of New England may forget that Phillip Dorsett is here, but Tom Brady will never forget him. The receiver has become an extremely reliable option for Brady, and it shows when No. 12 goes his way on third down.

Dorsett made a great 18-yard grab on a 3rd-and-17 in the first half, as Brady put it where only Dorsett could get it. It was a huge conversion, after Brady took a sack on first down and had to throw a desperation deep ball to Josh Gordon on second down.

Dorsett finished the game with three catches for 39 yards.


Antonio Brown Debuts

Brown’s New England career is underway, but now we’ll see if it’ll continue. Brown’s former trainer, who accused him of sexually assaulting her on three different occasions in a civil lawsuit filed last week, will reportedly meet with the NFL on Monday. Depending on how the league’s investigation goes, Brown could end up on the commissioner’s exempt list this week, which would put a stain on Sunday’s victory.

Wynn Hurt

A foot injury ended Isaiah Wynn’s day late in the first quarter, further straining an already thin Patriots offensive line.

With Wynn sidelined, Marshall Newhouse moved to left tackle and Korey Cunningham went to right tackle. Marcus Cannon was inactive due to a shoulder injury that he suffered last week, so the offensive line is pretty thin right now.

It didn’t matter too much on Sunday though, as Brady was sacked just twice.

Gostkowski Misses

Anytime Stephen Gostkowski misses a kick, some people go bananas. Those people are going to go bananas this week.

The Pats kicker missed a 48-yarder in the second quarter that would have put New England up 10-0, but instead it was a wasted eight-play, 41-yard drive. Then he went ahead and missed an extra point. And then another extra point.

“I stunk,” Gostkowski told reporters after the game, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Gostkowski has now missed three extra points over the last two seasons, and all three misses have come in Miami.


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