Week 2 stock watch: Patriots cruise to win over Dolphins

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 15: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots returns an interception for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 15: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots returns an interception for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots dominated the Miami Dolphins in practically every statistical category on their way to an impressive Week 2 road victory.

The Patriots improved to 2-0 on the year after their 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins. New England is off to a hot start this season, recording their second lopsided win in as many weeks.

The result of this game was never really in doubt, thanks to another dominant performance by New England’s defense. Miami’s offense had trouble moving the ball all afternoon. Even in garbage time, the Patriots were able to keep the Dolphins off the scoreboard and protect the shutout.

It was an impressive performance at all three levels for the defense. They have yet to face a truly high-powered offense, but that should not diminish how good they have looked through the first two weeks of the season.

Excluding the preseason, New England’s defense has not allowed a touchdown since the fourth quarter of last season’s AFC Championship Game.

Offensively, all eyes were on Antonio Brown as he made his New England Patriots debut, though the entire unit played well. While there are certainly some things that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will want to clean up before their Week 3 game against the New York Jets, the offense looked sharp overall.

It’s well documented that the Patriots don’t historically play well in Miami; that wasn’t the case this time around. Tom Brady and company cruised to an easy win in their first road game of the 2019 campaign.

Here are our top takeaways from Week 2:

Stock Up

Stephon Gilmore

The star cornerback continues to make plays for Bill Belichick’s defense. The 28-year-old All-Pro came away with the first touchdown of his NFL career, scoring on a 54-yard interception return. He also had a jumping pass-breakup that led to a Devin McCourty interception off the tipped pass.

New England’s entire secondary played well against Miami, but Gilmore in particular stuck out due to the number of big plays he was responsible for.

Gilmore looks as good as ever in his third year with the Patriots; at this point, he is undeniably one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He should have favorable matchups in the coming weeks versus teams like the Jets, Bills, and Redskins, all of whom lack explosive passing attacks. Expect Gilmore’s streak of impressive play to continue.

Jamie Collins

In his second stint with the team, it would appear that Jamie Collins hasn’t missed a beat. He finished the game with three solo tackles, half a sack, a tackle for loss, and two interceptions, including a 69-yard pick-six.

Collins’ coverage ability is still one of his best attributes later in his career. The athletic linebacker recorded five interceptions in his first go-around with the Patriots. Adding him in the offseason to an already talented and diverse linebacking unit is quickly paying dividends in 2019.

Antonio Brown

The All-Pro wide receiver flashed his big play ability early versus the Dolphins. He caught four of his eight targets for 56 yards, highlighted by a 20-yard back-shoulder catch for a touchdown late in the second quarter.

Brown seemed to be in perfect sync with quarterback Tom Brady for the first half of the game. However, the two didn’t seem to be on the same page during a trip inside the red zone later in the game, but some of that confusion could be expected after only having one week of practice together.

Expect AB’s snap count to increase and his chemistry with Brady to improve as the season progresses, so long as the team is able to keep him around, of course. All things considered, it was a very solid outing for Brown in his season debut.

Pass Rush

New England’s pass rush was solid in the season opener last week against Pittsburgh, but they turned it up a notch against Miami. Adam Butler, Chase Winovich, Danny Shelton, Michael Bennett, and John Simon combined for a team total of seven sacks Sunday afternoon against the Fins.

The Patriots rush rush was able to get pressure only rushing four guys for a lot of time in this game. Even when the rush didn’t fully connect, they did force enough pressure to coerce the quarterback into making bad throws.

Rex Burkhead

Burkhead seems to make plays whenever his number is called despite being the third option for the Patriots at running back. He may only receive a limited number of touches each week, but he makes the most of them.

The all-purpose back carried the ball five times for 21 yards. He made a really savvy decision on what appeared to be a flea-flicker to not pitch the ball back to Brady, instead opting to keep it himself and pick up nine yards on the ground.

Burkhead contributed in the passing game as well. He caught both of his targets for 47 yards, including a 32-yard catch on a fade route while lined up in the slot; it actually went as New England’s longest offensive play of the day. The veteran running back remains a valuable piece of this Patriots offense.

Stock Down

Stephen Gostkowski

There is not much to criticize following the Patriots’ dominant performance in their first road game of the season. That said, New England unfortunately did struggle in the kicking game.

Gostkowski had a rough day in Miami. He missed a pair of extra points as well as a 48-yard field goal early on in the first half of the game.

Obviously, the missed kicks didn’t have any impact on the end result of the game, but it’s still concerning nonetheless. The Patriots are eventually going to find themselves in a close game where they are going to need Gostkowski to be the difference-maker.

Offensive Line Health

The Patriots are already thin on the offensive line. They are without their starting center David Andrews for all of 2019 (blood clots), and starting right tackle Marcus Cannon suffered an injury in Week 1 that kept him out of this game.

Their O-line took another hit Sunday in Miami. Starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn left the game in the first quarter with a foot injury and did not return. The Patriots’ first round pick from the 2018 draft missed all of his rookie season due to a torn Achilles; as of Monday evening, there is still no word on the severity of Wynn’s injury.

Kraft reportedly wouldn't have signed AB if lawsuit known. dark. Next

New England is fairly deep at every position except for the offensive line. This is definitely an area of concern moving forward, so both Wynn and Cannon’s statuses should be closely monitored moving forward as the Patriots begin preparations for the Jets.