Patriots defense, Antonio Brown shine in complete 43-0 win
The New England Patriots avenged last year’s ‘Miracle in Miami’ by throttling the listless Miami Dolphins, 43-0, on the road in Week 2.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots got their newest acquisition involved in the action early on Sunday, with Antonio Brown catching all four of his targets in the first half against the Miami Dolphins.
Although he couldn’t connect with Brady on an additional four targets in the second half, he still finished the day as the team’s leading receiver with 56 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown strike from Brady late in the second quarter. It was Brown’s first touchdown reception as a Patriot, and his first score caught from someone other than former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Ben Roethlisberger.
Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders last March, but he never ended up taking a meaningful snap with Jon Gruden’s ballclub. After a tumultuous and drama-filled offseason, the Raiders finally were forced to part ways with Brown just a day before the Patriots’ season opener.
New England quickly pounced on the superstar receiver, signing him to a one-year deal loaded with playing incentives, with the option to add a second year in 2020.
Brown’s tenure with the Patriots was quickly clouded by rape allegations levied against him by an ex-trainer, Britney Taylor, last Tuesday. The NFL is currently investigation those allegations, with the league reportedly set to meet with Taylor on Monday.
AB was far from the only Patriot getting in on the scoring for New England on a hot, humid Miami afternoon, though.
Sony Michel, held to just 14 yards on 15 rush attempts last Sunday against the Steelers, was more heavily featured in the offensive game plan against the Dolphins. The second-year back made the most of 21 attempts, grinding out 85 yards and a score.
Brady also had a great day at the office; especially considering his noted history of struggles playing on the road in Miami and in high heat index games. He finished the day completing 20 of his 28 pass attempts for 262 yards and a pair of scores through the air – one to Brown and a second to James White in the fourth quarter.
Brady also had a 1-yard rushing touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
As good as New England was on offense, the defense was even better. The Patriots pitched a shutout at Hard Rock Stadium from wire-to-wire, holding the Dolphins to zero points and just 42 yards on the ground.
The New England defense has now allowed just 10 points in the first half across seven straight games (including last year’s postseason). They’ve only allowed three points in two games this season so far.
Stephon Gilmore and Jamie Collins Sr. had back-to-back interceptions returned for touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Gilmore took his pick-six 54 yards for the score; Collins then followed suit with a 69-yard pick-six of his own.
There were really only two negative takeaways from this game from the Patriots’ angle.
One was the performance of Stephen Gostkowski. The longtime veteran missed two extra-point attempts as well as a 48-yard field goal try. Gostkowski did, however, convert on a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter.
The more pressing concern for the Patriots on Sunday though came in the form of injuries to their offensive line. Already down starting center David Andrews for the season (blood clots) and starting right tackle Marcus Cannon for the week (shoulder), New England lost starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn early in the game with a foot injury. Wynn was taken to the locker room and did not return.
The Patriots managed to still make sushi of the Dolphins with their backups in along the line, which included recent pickup Marshall Newhouse and swing tackle Korey Cunningham, but the offensive line depth figures to be an ongoing concern heading into a Week 3 home matchup against the Sam Darnold-less New York Jets.