New England Patriots: Reviewing the Stat Sheet Against the Dolphins


Sep 7, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts on the bench during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 33-20. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Remember a few weeks ago when everyone was calling for a shorter preseason and claiming the Patriots were in mid-season form? Well, put a sock in it. The Pats looked like the Patsies on Sunday in their opener against the Miami Dolphins as they were completely dominated in the second half on both sides of the football. Tom Brady spent most of the day evading Dolphin defenders and when he did have time to throw the football he didn’t make particularly good decisions. Needless to say, the Patriots will have to be a lot better than they were on Sunday if they have any chance at competing this year. Let’s take a look at the stat sheet to see just how bad it was for the Patriots on Sunday.

Throwing it away?

The first thing that jumps out at you from this game was the number of pass attempts. Tom Brady threw the ball 56 times, which does not represent the kind of balance the Patriots offense needs to be successful in this league. Brady threw for only 249 yards and only 29 of his 56 passes were complete. That earned him a QBR of 32.3 and a rating of 69.7. Not exactly the hall of fame numbers Patriots fans expect from their famed signal caller. While a lot of blame should rest with the Patriots offensive line, Brady didn’t exactly help himself out with his poor decision making. While Brady started out spreading the ball around pretty effectively, later in the game he seemed locked in on his intended target from before the snap. He targeted tight end Rob Gronkowski 11 times, often forcing it to him when other receivers were wide open. He targeted Brandon LaFell six times and got nothing for it. If the quality of his play doesn’t improve quickly, he’s going to find out just how fast a fan base can turn on a superstar. Honestly, when was the last time Brady had a quintessential Brady game?

Generally, if you’re throwing the ball as much as the Patriots did on Sunday it’s because you’re either trailing or you can’t run the football. The Patriots rushed for only 89 yards on 20 carries and failed to establish any kind of consistency on the ground. Stevan Ridley led the Patriots in carries with 8 but mustered only 21 yards on those carries for a paltry average of 2.6 yards per carry. That’s not going to cut it in the NFL and is partially why the Patriots relied so heavily on the pass on Sunday. Mostly, though, the Patriots just didn’t show a commitment to the run on early downs and put themselves in some tough third down situations as a result, which is probably why they were so horrible on third down, going 5 for 17.

Under Pressure

Paging Logan Mankins. You think the absence of the Patriots former all pro left guard had any affect on the team’s ability to keep their quarterback off the turf on Sunday? It’s hard to imagine that having Mankins in the fold would have solved all the problems the Patriots had protecting their quarterback on Sunday, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt. The Patriots were horrendous in pass protection and if this kind of play continues you can forget about another playoff run for this team. The Patriots offensive line allowed four sacks, two more tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and a whopping six quarterback hits. Dante Scarnecchia is not coming back through that door, so the Patriots’ coaching staff better figure out a solution to their offensive line woes quickly or this season will be over before Thanksgiving.

Stopping the Run

The Patriots front seven looked like swiss cheese on Sunday (sorry, swiss cheese). The unit allowed 191 yards on the ground, 134 of those to Patriots killer Knowshon Moreno. Miami ran the ball 38 times for an average pickup of 5 yards. The inability to stop the run was a real Achilles heal of the Patriots defense last year, but with the return of Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo there was hope it would improve. Well, the Patriots showed no signs of that being the case on Sunday. This will be an important area to watch as the season goes on.

Bright Spots?

There’s not much to brag about here. Alfonzo Dennard’s interception stands out as do Darrelle Revis’ two passes defended. If there’s any silver lining on the stat sheet, maybe it’s Julian Edelman’s 44 yard reception? Even on that play, though, Edelman had to come back to get a Tom Brady pass that was well under thrown. If Brady had put more air under that ball Edelman likely would have hauled it in on the way to the end zone.

Stat of the Game

Here’s one for you: Tom Brady had one solo tackle. That’s never a good sign!


  • Jerod Mayo’s 12 total tackles, 10 of which were solo tackles
  • Jamie Collins’ 8 solo tackles and one pass defended. Look for Collins to keep getting his hands on the ball this season
  • Ryan Allen’s two punts within the twenty was a good sign. Nice to see him take advantage off all the opportunities the offense gave him