Photo courtesy of Miami Dolphins
Two wins in Foxborough in as many games was not in the cards for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
In the season opener, the New England Patriots dominated the Dolphins physically for a 21-11 victory. After winning five of their final nine games last season, the Dolphins were looking for a second win in as many games at New England, but the Patriots were simply too much.
Miami has now dropped its opener for the second straight season. In a weekly piece we’ll be calling, “The Good, the Bad and the Dolphins”, we look at what went well and what didn’t for Miami on Sunday:
The offense did not have a day to remember for Miami, but there was more balance than there was last season. Although it came on just 3.2 yards per carry, the Dolphins finished with 87 yards on the ground in Sunday’s loss. That was more than Miami had in any game last September.
Despite adding two new running backs, young Myles Gaskin led Miami with 66 yards from scrimmage. Gaskin tied a team-high with 40 yards rushing to go with 26 yards receiving on two catches.
Defensively, Jerome Baker set a new career-high with 16 tackles to go with a sack. Rookie safety Brandon Jones recorded 10 tackles in his NFL debut.
Although Miami lost, the Dolphins were competitive throughout. The Dolphins were within three until the 5:23 mark of the fourth quarter. While the Patriots did move the ball at will in the second half, the 21 points allowed by Miami on Sunday was almost 10 below last season’s average.
What Sunday’s contest ultimately came down to was Miami’s inability to stop the run. The Patriots finished with 217 yards rushing on a solid 5.2 yards per carry.
After a good first half, the Dolphins simply could not get New England off the field in the second half. Over the game’s final 30 minutes, New England didn’t punt a single time. In fact, New England was forced into third down just twice in the second half.
While the run defense was the biggest issue, Miami wasn’t great against the pass. Cam Newton finished 15-for-19 passing in his New England debut with 155 yards. The Dolphins would have been put away much sooner had it not been for a fumble through the end zone by New England wide receiver N’Keal Harry.
Offensively, the Dolphins struggled. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted three times, although they weren’t all completely his fault. Two of those three interceptions came with the Dolphins in Patriots’ territory.
Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions in a game just once last season. Coincidentally, that came in his first match-up with the Patriots. To add insult to injury, leading receiver DeVante Parker left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury after catching four passes early for 47 yards.
With the loss, Miami falls to 0-1 on the season. The Dolphins will have another big test this coming week as they host the Buffalo Bills in their home opener.
The Bills swept the Dolphins a season ago. This week’s contest takes place Sunday at 1 p.m. ET and will be shown regionally on CBS.
The Dolphins are a game behind both Buffalo and New England in the AFC East.