New England Patriots limp to victory over Miami Dolphins

LeGarrette Blount Patriots
Martellus Bennett (88) and LeGarrette Blount (29) of the New England Patriots. Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

After rocketing out to a 31-3 lead, the New England Patriots surrendered 24 unanswered points. But, they hung on and won the game to move to 2-0 on the season.

The Patriots couldn’t have started better this afternoon. There was seldom a negative play for the Patriots in the first quarter; seemingly everything went their way. Jimmy Garoppolo found receivers left and right, piloting the Patriots to consecutive scoring drives.

On the other side of the ball, the defense held the Dolphins in check for most of the first half. Ryan Tannehill got battered around and the front seven stifled the Miami ground attack. But then the momentum shifted.

Garoppolo getting knocked out of the game deflated the air in Gillette Stadium. Everyone has been so laser-focused on Garoppolo and how well he plays in these four games that the possibility of him getting hurt has been an afterthought. Even the normally-steady Patriots seemed shook by Garoppolo’s injury.

Even though Jacoby Brissett didn’t commit a bunch of turnovers, the Patriots’ offense was visibly less dynamic upon Garoppolo’s exit to the locker room. The Patriots had to scramble on the sideline and design a working playbook for Brissett to run with the starters, as the rookie hasn’t had much practice time with the likes of Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennett and James White.

Because the Patriots’ offense was easier to defend, the Dolphins were able to sneak back into the game. The Miami aerial attack got its wings in the second half; Ryan Tannehill tossed for 389 yards on the day. 137 of those yards came by way of Jarvis Landry, who had the upper hand on Malcolm Butler all afternoon.

Of course, Stephen Gostkowski’s botched field goal was painful to watch, as it put this game very much in doubt in the final minutes. 39 yards is normally in Gostkowski’s automatic range; rarely will you see him miss that kind of kick.

Luckily, LeGarrette Blount ran like a madman all afternoon and powered the Patriots to the victory in the fourth quarter. He had 123 yards, which helped to offset the decrease in aerial productivity.

Now, it’s on to the Houston Texans. Hopefully, the coaching staff pulls together a digestible game plan for Brissett and the Patriots can steal one away from the Texans on a short week.