FOXBORO (CBS) — The post-Tom Brady era has officially begun in New England. And it kicked off in a familiar way: a Patriots victory.

Riding a potent running game — amplified by the rushing contributions of Cam Newton — the Patriots beat the visiting Miami Dolphins 21-11 on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

Newton was a threat both through the air and on the ground, finishing the game with 75 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, one of which was a kneeldown in the victory formation. He was 15-for-19 for 155 yards through the air, missing out on a passing touchdown when N’Keal Harry fumbled from the 1-yard line while trying to score.

Ryan Fitzpatrick finished 20-for-30 for 191 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

The two teams exchanged punts in the first quarter, before the Patriots mounted an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard run from Newton to put the Patriots up 7-0 early in the second quarter.

Stephon Gilmore picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick on the ensuing Miami possession, but the Patriots were forced to punt. Miami cut the lead to 7-3 with a 46-yard field goal by Jason Sanders to cap off a 59-yard Dolphins drive.

Adrian Phillips — in his Patriots debut — picked off Fitzpatrick later in the second quarter, but Nick Folk missed his 45-yard field goal attempt, sending the teams into halftime with the Patriots holding a 7-3 lead.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Patriots marched 75 yards on eight plays to make it a 14-3 lead. That drive featured three receptions by Julian Edelman for a total of 35 yards. Newton capped the drive with another designed run, this one for 11 yards. The QB took a hit from Jerome Baker at the pylon, but the ruling on the field was a touchdown, and it was upheld via replay review.

The Patriots came within inches of making that a 21-3 lead … but N’Keal Harry fumbled the ball from the 1-yard line. The loose ball bounced through the end zone, resulting in a turnover and a touchback, giving Miami possession at the 20-yard line.

The Dolphins made that miscue hurt, too, as they drove the length of the field on the ensuing possession. Aided by a 23-yard pass interference penalty on Stephon Gilmore and another pass interference penalty on Terrence Brooks in the end zone, Jordan Howard plunged into the end zone from the 1-yard line. Fitzpatrick scrambled for the two-point conversion, cutting New England’s lead to just three points with 10:31 left in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots responded though, driving the length of the field on a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took 5:08 off the clock and made it a 21-11 lead. The Dolphins successfully challenged the spot of a Newton run on that drive, and Belichick opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Miami 5-yard line. Newton took the carry on that play and got the Patriots to the goal line, and Sony Michel took a handoff on the next play to plunge in for the touchdown.

Trailing by 10 and needing two scores, Fitzpatrick threw an interception in the end zone to J.C. Jackson with 1:28 left in the game to essentially end the game.

The Patriots’ next game will be Sunday night in Seattle.

Comments

Leave a Reply