4. Start the game with urgency
The New England Patriots simply could not move the ball against the Detroit Lions last week or the week before against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Against the Houston Texans, they moved the ball relatively well.
But, one thing all of those games have in common is that the Patriots had slow starts in all three games. This is why New England had a shocking 1-2 record in 2018. On Sunday, the Patriots put their opening drive woes to rest for the time being.
On offense, the Patriots had success in the first quarter, as well as on the defensive side of the football. New England forced the Dolphins into three straight punts to start the game.
The defense controlled the line of scrimmage and had good coverage from Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones and Jason McCourty. Dont’a Hightower and Lawrence Guy played really well in run defense forcing a few plays for negative yardage.
On offense, there were some glimmers of hope for Tom Brady and company. Sony Michel had brief success running the ball. James White and Rob Gronkowski got into the mix as well to move the Patriots down to the goal line on their first possession. But they just could not finish the drive and failed to put the ball into the end zone.
The bright side is New England was still able to put three points up on the scoreboard and they never looked back.