MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – No Miami Miracle was needed for this game.
Despite some good moments from the Patriots in this game, including inducing two turnovers by the Dolphins, the Patriot offense did not make enough plays like they did last week and the Miami offense is way too much for the Patriot defense to handle. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle each caught long touchdown passes as the Dolphins throttled the Patriots 31-17 on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Tua Tagovailoa remains undefeated against the Patriots, as he remains just like Roger Staubach, John Elway and Jake Plummer. He was basically playing pitch and catch all afternoon long with Hill and Waddle, helped out by strong running by Raheem Mostert. Miami has an offense that the Patriots cannot deal with, and it is worse down in Miami than up in Foxborough.
It was not a total flop for the Patriots. They did have an early 7-0 lead, thanks to a turnover.
On their second offensive drive of the game, Tagovailoa tried to hit Hill in the right seam on the fourth play. Kyle Dugger jumped the route and made a diving interception, then got up and returned it 15 yards to the Miami 30. Three plays later, Mac Jones hit Kendrick Bourne on a crossing route and he took it 24 yards for a touchdown.
But the Dolphins basically owned the rest of the first half.
Miami struck right back with a 75-yard drive in six plays. Tagovailoa finished it off by hitting Hill on a deep left post pattern for 42 yards and a touchdown. The Patriot secondary totally misplayed the coverage and Hill ran right by J.C. Jackson who had no chance to make the play.
The Dolphins scored a touchdown on the next drive, going 53 yards in 14 plays. Cedrick Wilson scored on a one-yard pass, making it 14-7 Miami, and they would never trail or be tied for the rest of the game.
Jones led the Patriots on a terrific drive which unfortunately ended at the Miami 23. Jones was trying to hit Bourne on a left sideline pass, but former Rams All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey made the interception and returned it 49 yards to set up a late field goal by Jason Sanders to make it 17-7 at the half.
On the first play of the second half, Tagovailoa muffed a handoff to Mostert and Anfernee Jennings recovered. But all the Patriots could do was a three and out and Chad Ryland kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it 17-10 Miami. All ten Patriot points were off Miami turnovers, which might have boded well for the Patriots going forward.
However, other than a nice touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, the Patriot offense basically stalled the rest of the way. Miami answered the field goal with a touchdown drive, with Mostert running it in from one yard out, and they clinched the win in the final minutes with Waddle catching a 31-yard touchdown pass with no one covering him or accounting for him on third down and one.
The Patriots were burned by two very questionable officials calls and non-calls.
On the second touchdown drive for Miami in the second quarter, the Patriots missed a chance to hold Miami to a field goal. On third down and goal at the six, Tagovailoa tried to hit Hill in the back of the end zone, and Jackson looked like he had good coverage on Hill. But Jackson was called for interference despite clear evidence that Jackson didn’t interfere, and Miami got the ball at the one and a first down.
A more egregious mistake happened in the third quarter. With 6:26 left and the Patriots facing second and 10 on their own 47, Jones tried to hit DeVante Parker in the right flat. He was clobbered by DeShon Elliott, the pass was dropped, and Parker lay on the ground motionless. Replays clearly showed that Elliott made helmet to helmet contact, but no personal foul was called. Television commentators also pointed out the illegal contact. Two plays later the Patriots punted.
Jones’ interception to Ramsey was another bad throw and a bad decision. At the very least the Patriots could have been down 14-10 at intermission. Jones was too fixated on Bourne running down the left sideline and did not see Ramsey at all.
Jones finished 19 of 29 passing for 161 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and an 88.4 passer rating. Patriot rushers had a 4.1 per carry average as a team and ripped off some nice runs, but did not sustain enough consistency for it to affect the passing game positively. Pop Douglas led the team with five catches, Bourne had 36 yards before leaving the game on the first play of the fourth quarter with a knee injury.
Tagovailoa was 30 of 45 passing for 324 yards, three touchdowns, one pick and a rating of 100.6. Hill had eight catches for 112 yards, Waddle had seven catches for 121 yards. Mostert finished with 46 yards rushing on 13 catches and a 3.5 per carry average. Lots of teams in the league have trouble with the Miami offense, which puts more pressure on the Patriot offense to keep up like they managed to last week against Buffalo.
Next week Washington comes to Foxborough, for the first time as the Commanders. The Patriots have had better success against this franchise in the last several years, as the Patriots went from 1972 to 2007 between wins against the then-Redskins.
The Patriots still aren’t ready to win games like this. Better Patriot teams in recent years have also had problems here. It’s always better to catch this team in Miami in December, where the heat and humidity isn’t so bad. Once again, the Patriots were done in by the weather, and by a Miami team that right now is very good.
We invite you to catch Bob George’s new Boston Sports Podcast, broadcast every weekday on YouTube. Go to YouTube handle thepic413 to view the podcasts. Please click on the Subscribe button so you don’t miss any of the podcasts.
Posted Under: Patriots News