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Week 18 Observations from the New England Patriots loss to Miami Dolphins

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
5 seconds ago at 8:25 am ET
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season

Week 18 Observations from the New England Patriots loss to Miami DolphinsSam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Miami continues to be a house of horrors for the New England Patriots.  You really can’t blame the weather, as it was overcast with temps in the low 80’s.  It did rain, but that didn’t have an impact on the game.

  1. Mac Jones played like a rookie and got sucked into coverages he wasn’t ready for. After giving up a TD on the Dolphins’ 1st drive, Xavier Howard looked like Ty Law, dropping off his man and picking off the pass on third down and taking it to the house.  The Patriots are down 14 points and the game plan is out the window. Later, Jones had a meltdown when he ran the clock down, trying to change the play.  Luckily someone on the sideline called timeout.  On the very next play, Agholor and Bourne lined up left, came off the line, and ran into each other.  Jones passed it to the sideline where one of the receivers was supposed to be.
  2. Why do the Patriots start so slow? They looked like they were not ready to play the game. Giving up an opening TD drive that took 7:36 off the clock, and was 13 plays for 77 yards.  Tagovailoa was 7 for 7 on the drive and Jaylen Waddle set the rookie record for receptions.  All short passes off the RPO.  Then when the Pats get the ball on offense, it’s two runs, and on 3rd and 1, threw a pick-six!
  3. The blown call against Brandon Bolden was just plain awful. That play changed the game. This was the statement from Gene Senatore the CBS Officiating Analyst.  “They’re tough judgment plays for a couple of reasons,” Steratore said. “When a player starts to give himself up, if the defensive player has committed to that tackle right as the player is giving himself up, as is happening here, provided there’s no contact to the head area, which there also isn’t, you wouldn’t want to see a foul on this play. “But that play is really a difficult play to referee in real-time. I would’ve liked to have seen a (non-call) on the play, but it’s a hard play to officiate in live-action.”  Tom E, Curran has this to say in a tweet.  Gene, no one gives a shit how difficult it is to officiate. That’s why they get paid pretty well. For tough calls. But show that to 10 officials in a classroom and all 10 would get it right. Bolden committed to tackling as the late slide began, and he didn’t hit him in the head.
  4. I would add that Punter Michael Parlady should have been doing everything he could to dive for the 1st down, on this 4th down play. Instead, he slides well short of the line to gain and hopes the official will bail him out with a roughing call.  Absolute bullshit and a game-deciding play.  It would have been the Patriots ball at the Miami 43, a few yards away from Nick Folk FG range.  That’s at least 3 points, a 6 point swing when you take away the 3 points Miami got by continuing the drive.  If this play is so tough then why isn’t there someone from the booth overturning the call?  Since Bill Belichick didn’t throw the challenge flag, I assume the play couldn’t be challenged.
  5. Uncharacteristic penalties on special teams with Lawrence Guy covering the Long Snapper for a gift 1st, lining up offsides, or jumping off-sides.  Defensive pass interference by Jalen Mills.  Add to that Jones’ head bob on 4th and one.  These are the mistakes other teams make not the Patriots.
  6. 4th and one and only tried to draw the Phins off-sides. Jones gets called for a head bob and loses 5 yards.  No balls by the coaching staff, Belichick doesn’t trust his offense, his O line, and his rookie QB.  They are playing scared.
  7. The Patriots’ defense couldn’t stop the RPO offense of Miami. They should have been better prepared for the game.  That’s put on the Patriots coaches.  The Dolphins ran for 195 yards.  I said in my Preview article to watch out for Duke Johnson, as he ran for a new career-high of 117 yards on 25 carries.  All the Patriots needed was a defensive stop at the end of the game, but couldn’t get it.  That’s been a broken record this year as it happened in the opening game against the Dolphins.  In the opener, Tagovailoa got the ball with 3:11 left on the clock and ran out the time.  In this game, Tua got the ball with 2:53 and turned it back with 14 seconds left.
  8. Brandon Bolden had a great game, rushing 7 times for 46 yards (6.5) and a TD.  He also had 2 catches for 20 yards and a TD.
  9.  Ju’Whaun Bentley has a lot of critics but he was the only LB to show up Sunday. He had 17 tackles, 9 of which were solo.  Adrian Phillps was strong as well, contributing 10 solo tackles and 1 overall.
  10. The Patriots are lacking LB play in this game. Kyle Van Noy, Jaime Collins, Matt Judon were invisible.  Van Noy had the only sack, but embarrassed himself by not containing Tagovailoa, then just jogging after the play.  Judon continues to run past the quarterback.  His roughing the passer penalty was just awful and he was benched after that.  Judon lost containment that led to a big 27-yard scamper.
  11. The Defense had no takeaways in this game. Devin McCourty had a big drop of an easy interception that preceded the faked punt / Unnecessary Roughness call against Branden Bolden.  An interesting stat is the Patriots have 26 takeaways in their 10 wins but only 4 in their 7 losses.
  12. Mac Jones took responsibility for the botched Center / QB exchange. Ted Karras was in for David Andrews who was having equipment problems.
  13. Damien didn’t have a great game but his 15th rushing TD of the season was the second-best in the Patriots’ history.
  14. The Pats had just scored to make it 17-10, and they were back in the game. Judon loses containment for 27 yards, Wise jumps off-sides, and Mills gets called for PI at the one, a 1-yard run makes it 24-10 with 4:31 left in the 3rd.
  15. It could be worse, you could be a Colts fan.  Two weeks ago the Colts were the most feared team eligible for the playoffs.  This week they lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team we put up 50 points on last week, and knock themselves out of the playoffs.  Do they hang banners at Lucas Oil Stadium for almost making the playoffs?

Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season

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