By: Ian Logue
There were plenty of good things to talk about after New England’s 41-14 win over the Dolphins Monday night, and here’s a look at who had a good night during this one, along with a few players who struggled.
Tom Brady – Earned his 100th career victory as a starting quarterback, becoming the fastest guy to do so in the modern Super Bowl era. He had another great outing, finishing 19-of-24 for 153 yards and a touchdown, with a QB rating of 107.1.
Stephen Gostkowski – Had a huge night kicking the football. Seven kickoffs, with all seven reaching the endzone, five of which were touchbacks. Also hit two field goals.
Jerod Mayo – Was all over the field, leading the team in tackles by a huge margin, combining for 16 tackles. The next closest was Kyle Arrington with 7.
Jermaine Cunningham – Had just one tackle on the evening but it was for a loss. He also seemed to be in the right place more often than not, and even knocked down a pass. So far it looks like he’s coming along well in this system.
Vince Wilfork – Had one tackle for a loss, but more importantly the Dolphins ran to whatever side he wasn’t on, so it’s pretty clear that Miami worked hard to try and avoid him.
Rob Ninkovich – This one’s pretty obvious. Ninkovich had two interceptions, both of which eventually lead to both of New England’s first half field goals. Those two turnovers may have been critical, because had he not made them and Miami scored, this one could have turned out quite differently. He also had a sack.
Patrick Chung – I guess you have to give Chung the “Hat Trick”, as Chung blocked a punt, blocked a field goal, and had an interception return for a touchdown.
BenJarvis Green-Ellis – Did a great job once again filling in for the injured Fred Taylor. Green-Ellis rushed for 76-yards on 16 carries (4.8 avg) along with a touchdown, and has done a good job proving that he’s an NFL caliber runningback.
Danny Woodhead – Two games, two touchdowns. Woodhead scored again Monday night on an 11-yard reception from Brady, and also carried 8 times for 36-yards. He’s been a great addition to this team since he came here, and obviously appears to have quite a year ahead of him.
Brandon Tate – His 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half got things going, and he also finished with 4 catches for 39 yards.
Wes Welker – Welker finished with 8 catches for 70 yards, and really played well Monday night. He played an integral part of New England’s touchdown drive following Miami’s scoring drive, catching 3 passes for 37 yards. He did muff a punt, but he recovered it and didn’t turn it over.
Jarrad Page – Made an interception to seal the win. Big plays down the stretch are always good to see, so give Page credit for making that play.
Kyle Arrington – Did a respectable job in coverage Monday night, and also returned the blocked field goal by Chung for a touchdown. Not his best effort defensively, but he’s making progress and definitely putting some pressure on Darius Butler.
Randy Moss – Had 51 straight games with a reception as a Patriot, but came away without a catch in this one. He had a shot late in the first half with time winding down when Brady tried a fake spike, but Moss couldn’t hold on. It was a great call, Moss just couldn’t execute.
James Sanders – Got tossed aside on a block during Ricky Williams’ touchdown.
Matt Light – Erased a 36-yard gain by tight end Aaron Hernandez thanks to a holding penalty on New England’s second offensive possession. The Patriots would later be forced to punt.
Devin McCourty – He was called for a pass interference penalty on a 3rd and long play which should have been stopped after Dolphins qb Chad Henne got drilled and threw incomplete. Thankfully three plays later Ninkovich picked Henne off and bailed him out.
Julian Edelman – Was virtually invisible Monday night, up until he was called for a false start on the two-point conversion attempt following the blocked field goal. New England instead just kicked the extra point.
GAME NOTES: The Patriots became the first team in NFL history to score a TD rushing, passing, INT return, kickoff return & return a blocked FG in the same game Monday night….After tonight the Patriots lead the NFL in kickoff return yards with 601, & they also lead in average kick return yards per game with 150.3….They also lead with an average of 31.6 yards per return, & broke Arizona’s 102 yard return for a TD mark when Tate returned his 103 tonight. That’s not the NFL record, but the longest so far this season….Don’t feel they run the ball enough? They’re tied for 9th in the NFL in rushing attempts, & tied for 21st for passing attempts per game….Chung’s blocked field goal was the first time the Dolphins have given up a blocked FG for a touchdown in 21 years….Brandon Meriweather suffered a knee injury Monday night and didn’t return, no word yet on its severity…..One area they didn’t do well with Monday night was on third down. They finished a meager 5-of-11 (45%) compared to Miami’s 10-of-15 (67%)…And finally it’s worth pointing out that that linebacker Shawn Crable was inactive for this game after playing in his first NFL game last week.