|New England Patriots||7||6||10||20||43|
Nobody expected the Dolphins to compete for the playoffs this year. Flores could deny it as much as he wanted, but the front office had committed to the tank. Yet not everyone picked New England to win this game. Although the Dolphins had lost by nearly 50 points to the Ravens and the Patriots beat the Steelers by 30 points, there was still an undercurrent of unease. The Miami heat is notoriously tough for Patriots or any visiting team to play in. Belichick seemingly gives a single freebie win to all of his former assistants. And the Dolphins started Ryan Fitzpatrick, with the potential of encountering Fitzmagic.
The Patriots offense had a few mishaps to start. Gostkowski started missing field goals and extra points. Patriots Legend Antonio Brown was force-fed the ball early and caught a touchdown but only managed four catches on eight targets.
For Miami, it turns out that Fitztragic played this game. The Patriots defense accumulated four (1, 2, 3, 4) picks, seven sacks, and altogether a shutout of the Miami Dolphins. There are a couple caveats on that. First, Miami went for it on 4th down several times instead of taking field goal pity points when down big. In this regard, the Dolphins should be respected more for being shutout than not. Second, there were two consecutive passes from Josh Rosen that were perfectly dropped in the lap of open receivers, both of which were dropped from the laps onto the ground. If caught, at least one would definitely have gone for a touchdown.
Here ends the illustrious playing career of Patriots Legend Antonio Brown. He would be released before Week 3. Isaiah Wynn went down with an injury in the first quarter. Cannon missed the entire game, with Newhouse filling in. Miami strikes again, just not on the scoreboard this day.
With two games down, some wondered if this Dolphins team was the worst team in NFL history. Did anyone know if they would join the 0-16 teams of Detroit and Cleveland? I was too confident in Flores as a coach to see the Dolphins go 0-16, but it would be a while yet before they did win a few games. The Patriots looked to be the complete opposite of the Dolphins and dominated both games played. Furthermore, The Patriots have a reputation for playing their best football late in the season. If “Early-Season-Struggles” Patriots were this good, how good would December Patriots be?