The New England Patriots saw a bye week slip away in last season’s regular season finale against the Miami Dolphins. Will they get revenge in Week 1?
The final regular season game of the 2019-20 season against the Miami Dolphins is still all too familiar for New England Patriots fans.
The 27-24 stunning loss in the final minute of play on a Mike Gesicki five-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick let a bye slip away … and ultimately led to a Wild Card exit in the playoffs, which turned out to be the last game Tom Brady played in a Patriots uniform.
In that game, three of the Dolphins’ four scoring drives were 75 yards or longer, exposing the league’s best defense. The final scoring drive took 3:29 as the Dolphins went 75 yards on 13 plays.
So, this past week when the Patriots’ schedule was released, it was only fitting that Miami was the Week 1 opponent.
Just like his nickname reads, the veteran signal caller “FitzMagic” will likely line up against the Patriots defense to begin the season with Tua Tagovailoa on the bench. That could change as the season nears, but for now, let’s assume it is Ryan Fitzpatrick starting for the Dolphins in Week 1.
Throughout his career, Fitzpatrick’s best month has come in September — the only month he has a winning record (16-14). In September, he’s 510-for-830 passing with 51 touchdowns and 41 interceptions.
So historically speaking, the Patriots will be facing the best version of Fitzpatrick.
While those numbers are true, in the second game of last season, Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins lost to New England 43-0 in Miami. Fitzpatrick may have had the worst game of his career that day. He went 11-for-21 with 89 passing yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions.
In his overall career against New England, Fitzpatrick has struggled greatly — which is not a surprise based on his overall career in the league. The veteran quarterback is 3-10 against the Patriots and has 21 touchdowns to 22 interceptions combined.
Fitzpatrick’s struggles last season against what will be a similar secondary for the Patriots this season provide hope for New England to get their revenge.
Since 2013, the Dolphins are 6-8 against the Patriots. With all of the dominating performances by New England, being just under .500 in a 14-game sample size is actually fairly respectable for Miami.
In Florida, the Patriots are 2-2 since 2016 against the Dolphins, with the two losses being a 27-20 win in 2017 and a 34-33 win in 2018.
Overall, in team history, Miami is 55-51-0 against the Patriots — a 0.519 winning percentage — ranking the franchise 19th all-time in win percentage against New England. In other words, the two teams have been nearly equal when facing each other throughout history.
In 2020, the Patriots will have the opportunity to avenge last year’s final regular season loss … but it won’t be an easy game to do so.
It’s likely going to be the first start of Jarrett Stidham’s career, so there’s a good chance of some jitters and potentially a slow start from the second-year signal-caller.
While Fitzpatrick’s career has been less than stellar overall, with a 62-93-1 record, he’s still a quarterback with 156 games under his belt — as opposed to a quarterback with just one brief appearance in a 30-14 win over the Jets last year that was essentially already decided when he entered the game.
The quarterback edge may shockingly enough go to Miami in Week 1.
However, Bill Belichick’s success coaching defensively against Fitzpatrick has been sound in his career. The Patriots will be looking to run the ball, play solid defense, and lessen the pressure on Stidham if he starts that first week of the regular season.
Revenge is on the table. We’ll have to wait to see if it comes to fruition.