Going to Miami is never a fun thing, and the last time the Patriots went there the results didn’t quite go their way.
In fact, they lost that game 20-10 on an afternoon where a win would have locked up a top seed, which ultimately proved costly after they lost in Denver.
Some will argue that the Patriots threw that finale in Miami, but it’s a tough argument to make and they went into that contest with enough personnel to pull it off. Brady had weapons, but their game plan of trying to establish the run slowed them down and never allowed them to take control of the game.
Contrary to what people might remember, Rob Gronkowski played in that game, missing all of five plays as he was on the field for 55 of 60 snaps, while Brandon LaFell played 58, along with both Danny Amendola (23) and Keyshawn Martin (56). Julian Edelman missed the game with his foot injury, but they seemingly had enough to take care of their division rival.
Instead, the heat and humidity sunk this team as the Dolphins managed 10 fourth quarter points and pulled away, giving Miami their 6th and final win of their 6-10 season.
But things will hopefully be this time around. Last season, the Patriots had no semblance of a running game. In fact, they started Steven Jackson at running back that day, who was brought into a depleted backfield that was without an injured LeGarrette Blount and an offensive line that couldn’t open up any running lanes.
They finished the afternoon converting 4-of-14 (29%) on third down with just 12 combined first downs, four rushing, three passing and five via penalty.
However, the Dolphins got some pretty solid play of their own from Ryan Tannehill, who went 12-of-17 (71%) for 208 yards and a touchdown in the second half of that game, missing just five passes as he wore down New England’s defense. That performance carried over into this season where he achieved a similar performance in Week 2 after he completed 22-of-27 for 273 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception in the final two quarters of that game. Fortunately, the Patriots hung on to win that game.
But Tannehill won’t be playing next weekend and the Patriots have more talent this time on offense. Coming off of Saturday’s game against the Jets, the Patriots will be continuing their playoff push and most teams would seemingly prefer to go into the playoffs on a high note.
We’ll see how New England ultimately decides to handle things but these games never seem to be easy. It’s always preferable to go into the playoffs with a win, so hopefully this one turns out a little better.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary