Patriots vs. Dolphins: New England's Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 13
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Some prominent Patriots weren't enjoying their best games, but some unsuspected players picked up the slack. And as a result, the final score was good enough.
Here are New England's most notable winners and losers from the Week 13 tilt in Miami.
Winner: Wes Welker
Wes Welker had 10 catches—in the first half.
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What's most impressive about the former Dolphin's performance was the fact that 10 of those receptions came in the first half. By reaching double digits, Welker tied the legendary Jerry Rice for most games with 10 or more catches, according to the Boston Herald.
With his stellar performance, Welker is now over 1,000-yard mark for the fifth time in his career and is just eight grabs away from his fifth 100-catch campaign.
Loser: Tom Brady
Brady struggled to keep the offense rolling.
Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
Statistically speaking, Tom Brady wasn't all that bad against the Dolphins. Nonetheless, he certainly wasn't playing like his usual self.
Brady was getting pressured by Miami's pass rush, and his accuracy suffered.
In the first quarter alone, No. 12 missed a wide-open Aaron Hernandez in the end zone and then overthrew Julian Edelman deep. Then, on a throw to Hernandez in coverage, Brady was picked off by Reshad Jones for what could have been a touchdown if not for penalty flags.
Brady made the plays he had to make, but it wasn't pretty. He finished the day 24-of-40 passing for 238 yards, a touchdown and the interception.
Winner: Trevor Scott
Trevor Scott notched his first sack since 2010.
Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE
The offseason signing of Trevor Scott wasn't a blockbuster move for the Patriots. But the veteran defensive end is finally making his presence felt in the absence of Chandler Jones and Jermaine Cunningham.
In the second quarter against the Dolphins, Scott strip-sacked quarterback Ryan Tannehill and forced a fumble in the process. It was Scott's first sack since he tore his ACL as a member of the Oakland Raiders in 2010.
While the Patriots would like to have Jones and Cunningham back in action, Scott filled their shoes admirably on Sunday.
Loser: Stephen Gostkowski
Stephen Gostkowski's inconsistency has been a concern all season.
David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
In the first quarter versus Miami, Stephen Gostkowski missed a 49-yard field goal with the wind at his back. And just like that, New England's kicker is hearing jeers once again.
In Gostkowski's defense, 49-yard field goals are not easy, and he did make his next three boots. But his inaccuracy this season is not subsiding.
Winner: Vince Wilfork
Vince Wilfork came up with his fourth fumble recovery of the season.
Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE
Vince Wilfork did what he does best against the Dolphins: torment offensive linemen.
Big No. 75 was powering through the gaps, drawing multiple interior blockers, and in particular, Miami's Richie Incognito.
WEEI.com's Christopher Price said it best via Twitter:
Man, Incognito is just getting killed by Wilfork.
By disrupting the line, Wilfork was able to make things tough on the Miami offense. He finished the day with three tackles, one for a loss, and a fumble recovery. Yet his efforts in the trenches go much deeper than the numbers.
Winner: Brandon Deaderick
Brandon Deaderick got the start over Kyle Love and brought pressure.
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Brandon Deaderick got the start at defensive tackle next to Vince Wilfork and made the most of it.
While Kyle Love filtered in, Deaderick's speed and versatility make him a threat to opposing quarterbacks. He found his way into the backfield against Miami and helped Trevor Scott force Ryan Tannehill to the ground.
All in all, the former seventh-round pick wasn't spectacular, but he tallied three tackles and looks to be moving up the depth chart.
Loser: Brandon Lloyd
Lloyd was unable to break Miami's coverage.
Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Brandon Lloyd was a forgotten man in New England's offense Sunday.
Through three quarters, the prized free-agent acquisition wasn't targeted once. In the final frame, Lloyd was finally thrown to and came down with a 10-yard catch.
According to Rotoworld.com, Lloyd hasn't broke 45 yards in a game since Week 6. That downswing in production is something to keep an eye on from here on out.
Winner: Aaron Hernandez
Aaron Hernandez was heavily targeted by Tom Brady.
Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Aaron Hernandez was thrown at early and often. Well, 13 times to be exact.
He finished the game with eight receptions for 97 yards, including one catch-and-run for 31 yards.
If not for a poor throw from Tom Brady, Hernandez would have also added a touchdown to his name. Regardless, the Florida Gator is healthy and moving the chains, even without his partner in crime Rob Gronkowski.
Loser: The Offensive Line
The line was caving in on Tom Brady.
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
New England's offensive line has been impressive this season. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case against the Dolphins Sunday.
The woes began with a couple holding penalties from Donald Thomas and Sebastian Vollmer, which resulted in two 1st-and-20 situations.
It went beyond yellow flags, however. The O-line was responsible for four sacks on Tom Brady and 25 negative yards.
The breakdown could be attributed to the back problems of Vollmer and Dan Connolly, not to mention the fact Logan Mankins has been unable to suit up. Nevertheless, Brady can only get drilled by the likes of Cameron Wake so many times before he gets injured.
Winner: Stevan Ridley
Stevan Ridley was able to knock down the door.
Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
But make no mistake, the Pats rushing attack took a while to get going against the Dolphins. At halftime, the tailbacks had combined for 10 yards on eight carries, according to NESN.com's Luke Hughes.
Nevertheless, it is a tale of two halves, and Ridley made the necessary adjustments. By the final whistle, the second-year pro had racked up 71 yards to go with his early score.