In the opening game of the 2014 regular season, the New England Patriots really failed to show up, particularly in the second half, as they lost to the Dolphins by a a score of 33-20.
The team got off to an auspicious start, going three and out, and then having the ensuing punt blocked. However, the Patriots responded well, outscoring the Dolphins 20-3 throughout the rest of the first half. The offense was clicking, the defense was forcing turnovers left and right, and it looked like the Pats would roll to an opening victory.
However it all changed in the second half.
Miami got off to a quick start, taking their opening second half possession right down the field, although they had to settle for a field goal. But a Tom Brady fumble on the following drive set up Ryan Tanehill and company in a good spot, and they converted with a touchdown.
Throughout the second half, New England’s defense struggled stopping the run late, but overall, I don’t think they are the real problem. As surprising as it sounds, it was Tom Brady’s offense that was the biggest problem, and not only was it bad, it was straight up pathetic.
The offensive line got absolutely abused by Cameron Wake and company, giving up four sacks in the second half, and constantly allowing Miami to get in Brady’s face. A lot of fans were blaming the Logan Mankins trade for the bad offensive line performance, but having Mankins available in this game would not have changed the outcome.
The entire offensive line was bad (except for possibly Sebastian Vollmer, I’ll have to re-watch the game first), which is the main reason why this was such a blowout. There was also no running game whatsoever, which was partially Josh McDaniels’ fault, as the Patriots attempted almost three times as many passes as runs.
A four-yard Knowshon Moreno touchdown late in the fourth quarter really sealed the deal, but another Brady fumble made it clear this was going to be a bad loss. The Dolphins racked up 361 yards of total offense, but 192 of those yards came on the ground. The Patriots defensive line isn’t really suited to play a 3-4 defense, which is a big reason why they were gashed on the ground.
New England was also penalized nine times for a whopping 100 yards, including a few huge personal foul calls late in the game. That can’t continue if they want to right the ship going forward.
The Pats have a lot of problems to work out going forward. There is no reason to panic, as Bill Belichick and company know how to adjust, but this was a bad performance.