Coming into a matchup against the New England Patriots (8-3) has not seemed easy for any team this season. Especially considering the Miami Dolphins' (5-6) apparent weakness in the secondary, it had the making of a potential blowout.
But that was not the attitude of the Miami defense on Sunday. Both the defensive line and the secondary had other ideas for Tom Brady and his fearsome offense.
While Brady was coming off yet another great performance against a New York Jets squad (4-7) that has more problems than Rex Ryan can count, it was supposed to be business as usual for the veteran when he visited South Beach.
Already with a depleted receiving corps with the absence of tight end Rob Gronkowski, Brady was going to have to create his own opportunities against Miami. He had a hard time doing that.
Wes Welker in the slot is incredibly hard to cover. And that, along with a receiving tight end in Aaron Hernandez, seemed to be the only form of reliability Brady had in the passing game.
Brandon Lloyd was completely taken out of the game. Julian Edelman could not seem to get open. The Dolphins secondary closed hard and fast. And surprisingly, Brady passed for under 250 yards. He even threw his first interception since the Patriots' last loss, Week 6 against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Dolphins defensive line also took the Patriots' dynamic running game right out of the contest. New England barely averaged over three yards a carry, while Stevan Ridley found his forward progress drastically limited by the Miami defense.
Offensively, the Dolphins were lackluster. But for what seems like the first time this season, the Miami defense really shined. It may be a few seasons before the Fins can compete with the Pats, but the future looks bright.