The Patriots-Dolphins game earlier tonight was one that would make any Patriots fan crazy. The team looked absolutely awful in the first half. A classic Jim Mora rant from his time with the Saints sums up what the Patriots were like in the first half (Watch it HERE):
“We couldn’t do diddly poo offensively. We couldn’t make a first down. We couldn’t run the ball. We didn’t try to run the ball. We couldn’t complete a pass. We sucked…”
Add to that the defense couldn’t stop the run, couldn’t stop the pass, and couldn’t keep the Dolphins out of the red zone. With a first-round bye in the playoffs on the line against a 5-9 team, the Patriots were simply not getting it done. They were not playing like a team destined for a first-round bye and success in the playoffs. But what the team was able to do when the second half began is enough to give Patriots fans hope.
The Patriots came roaring back in the second half, down 17 points, and scored 27 unanswered points. The offense was able to get back on track and resemble the high-efficiency machine we’ve seen most of the season. The Patriots’ comeback was jump-started by two turnovers in the red zone that allowed the Pats to score two touchdowns and tie the game. Tom Brady was able to lead the attack and get the Patriots enough points to win. After Miami came back to pull within three, the Patriot offense was able to get some first downs and run out the clock.
The Patriots’ resolve and mental toughness in coming back has to instill some confidence in Patriots fans. The Patriots of the past few seasons struggled to come back from poor starts. The Patriots of the past few seasons couldn’t make the proper adjustments. This team is different, despite how bad the defense is. They were able to come back, despite being down 17 points and not having the left side of their offensive line due to injuries to Matt Light and Logan Mankins.
With the win, the Patriots clinched a first-round bye and need only to win next week against Buffalo to clinch the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Can they carry this into the playoffs? They’ve racked up 12 wins so far this season, so why not? After the heart they showed today, Patriots fans should have some hope in their team.