With all the heat New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has endured so far this season, it would be sweet if the legendary head coach got a win down in South Beach. It wouldn’t just be a huge win for his team, it would be a little bit of sweet redemption against a coach and quarterback that has had his number.
In fact, the Mike McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa head coach-QB combination pretty much have owned Belichick. Tua, as a starter, is 5-0 in his young career vs Belichick and the Patriots with a passer rating of 89.5. That is unheard of from any young quarterback in the league going up against Belichick, but there is something about Tagovailoa the Patriots head coach can’t figure out.
Patriots, Bill Belichick have been close vs Dolphins, but Tua finds a way
Oh, the Patriots have come close to victory, but the young quarterback has been clutch in important moments in all their victories, including the Week 2 win in Foxborough in which the Dolphins offense did just enough to hold off Belichick’s squad.
“I think our team is 5-0 against Bill Belichick,” Tagovailoa said after the first meeting. “It’s never a me thing. It’s never a me thing. And I don’t think we ever look at it as, ‘oh, we beat them once, we beat them twice, we beat them five times in a row.’ Every time we face coach Belichick’s team, it’s always a challenge. And we know we’re going to get their best.’
Will the sixth time be the charm for Belichick? It will take a tremendous effort and gameplan against the Dolphins weapons the Patriots will be going against. Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and all that speed has been challenging for any team to handle this season. But the Patriots did have some success, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Belichick has finally figured something out against McDaniel and all that pre-snap motion he likes to run.
Like Week 7 vs. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, consistent pressure could force Tagovailoa into some questionable decisions, like this play in which pressure led to a Christian Gonzalez interception in the two teams’ first meeting:
The Patriots are without Gonzalez, but with J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and Jack Jones back in the secondary; there will be opportunities to create turnovers if the pass rush can get to Tua. Christian Barmore up the middle was big in Belichick’s defense, moving Allen out of his spot, and that will be key again against Miami. The question is, who can step up off the edge?
This is where it can be an impactful game for 2023 second-round pick Keon White (if he is active) and also look for Anfernee Jennings to play a big role in this game. If the Patriots can limit the run and force Tagovailoa into making quick decisions, the Patriots will have a chance to deliver horror in the house that has horrified them throughout the years.
If any coach can figure out what McDaniel is cooking, it is Belichick who is overdue to get one against Tua and make things very interesting in the AFC East.
Get ready for some fun in South Beach, it’s game day.