The Patriots had everything going their way and blew it against the Dolphins.
Bill Belichick versus a rookie quarterback. You all saw the numbers! He’s unstoppable! But don’t you think former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who now has the Miami Dolphins fighting for a playoff spot, might know how to navigate those waters?
Spoiler alert: he did! Despite the Patriots getting so lucky in the first half and leading 6-0 after two quarters, they couldn’t hang on and eventually succumbed to a 22-12 defeat. Not only did they get a break when the Dolphins had a 70-yard fumble return touchdown called back, they also managed to benefit from a horrible decision by Tua Tagovailoa when he threw a pick in the end zone after driving down the field 94 yards! And the Dolphins missed a field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
All for naught.
Stephon Gilmore went down with an injury in the second quarter and didn’t return, but that shouldn’t have been that big of an issue because Miami was without a number of their playmakers (DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant, Mike Gesicki and Miles Gaskin). The shred of good news? The Patriots largely kept Tua in check.
The bad news? They allowed 250 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries. Remember that once-stout Patriots run defense that would help keep the team alive in the event everything else came crashing down?
Not there anymore! Not even after 15 weeks of preparation with this cast of defenders.
We knew the offense wouldn’t really show up against a tenacious Dolphins defense, but we thought the defense would at least be able to give Tua the pass and focus on stopping the run. Not at all. Completely gashed for nearly six yards per carry.
It doesn’t matter how lucky you get if both sides of the ball aren’t prepared. This time, only the special teams unit showed up (no surprise) and the Patriots were eliminated from the playoffs. The pain is over. Let the draft content commence.