Five Finteresting Facts: Dolphins Hold Off Patriots to Kick Off 2021 Season

Photo courtesy of Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins were winners in Week 1.

On Sunday, a late fumble helped Miami hold off the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, 17-16. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa accounted for two touchdowns in the victory.

The Dolphins were the only AFC East team to win in Week 1, which puts them in first place. Before the attention turns to the reigning division champions, here are five facts following Sunday’s season-opening win:

1. Tua-0

Although he did have an ill-advised interception, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa improved to 2-0 as a starter against New England. Tagovailoa finished with 202 yards passing, a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown. Tagovailoa rushed for two touchdowns in last season’s 22-12 win over the Patriots in Miami. With the victory, Tagovailoa becomes the first Miami quarterback to win his first two starts against the Patriots since Jay Fiedler in 2000.

2. Not a Lot of Points or Yards, but Not a Problem

The offense didn’t exactly light the world on fire for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The 17 points and 259 total yards however, were enough. For the Dolphins, the 17 points was the fewest in a Week 1 win since beating the Washington Redskins to kick off the 2015 season, 17-10. In that victory, Miami managed 256 yards.

3. Brian Flores Owns the Pats…Or At Least a Winning Record Against Them

Since getting blasted in 43-0 by his former team in just his second game as a head coach, Miami’s Brian Flores has won three of four against New England. A former linebackers coach and de facto defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick, Flores is now 3-2 against New England as the Dolphins’ head man. Don Shula was the last Miami coach to finish with a winning record against the Patriots.

4. Waddle-ing Into the End Zone

Rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle made quite the impression in his debut on Sunday. The No. 6 overall pick from Alabama finished with four catches for 61 yards and the 3-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half that put Miami ahead for good. With the score, Waddle becomes the Dolphins’ only first-round pick to score a touchdown in Week 1 during his rookie season. The last Dolphins’ rookie to score a touchdown on Opening Day was Preston Williams two years ago against the Baltimore Ravens.

5. 23 and Counting

In Sunday’s victory, the Dolphins wasted no time extending the NFL’s longest turnover streak. On New England’s second possession, Eric Rowe stripped New England’s Rhamondre Stevenson and Zach Seiler recovered for Miami. That made it 23 straight games that the Dolphins have forced a turnover. It wasn’t the only one however. With New England inside the Miami 10-yard-line and threatening to take the lead with less than four minutes to play, Xavien Howard stripped New England’s Damien Harris. Howard also recovered the fumble. The Dolphins proceeded to pick up two first downs and run out the clock.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.