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New England Patriots team grades vs Miami Dolphins Week 14

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 11: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots calls a play in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 11, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 11: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots calls a play in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 11, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots team grades vs Miami Dolphins Week 14
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 11: Jay Cutler #6 of the Miami Dolphins looks to pass during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on December 11, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) /

. . PASSING DEFENSE GRADE. D.

In the first matchup, the Patriots got to face off against Dolphins’ backup quarterback Matt Moore. They crushed Moore, sacking him seven times for a miserable afternoon. This time around Jay Cutler was under center and the result was much different.

Cutler picked the Patriots apart all night. The Dolphins put together a great game plan to get the ball out of Cutler’s hand quickly and he executed it to perfection. Cutler completed 25-or-38 passes for 263 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Cutler worked underneath well. He hit Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker multiple times running drags across the field for first downs. Landry’s two touchdown receptions both came on plays of that nature as the Patriots weren’t quick enough to catch him.

The game plan provided plenty of mismatches for the Dolphins they took advantage of. Running back Kenyan Drake took advantage of matchups against linebackers, leading the team with 79 yards on four receptions.

Granted, the Patriots were without their two best pass rushers. Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy, who are first and second on the team in sacks, both missed the game because of injury. Without them, the Patriots were unable to generate much pressure. They did register two sacks, but Cutler looked calm in the pocket most of the evening and evaded pressure the times New England did get in the backfield.

This was the second most yards that Cutler has thrown for in a game this season and the second time he has thrown three touchdowns. The Dolphins put together a strong game plan and Cutler executed to perfection. The Patriots were shorthanded and the Dolphins took full advantage.