Check out final grades and analysis below.
Miami - 17
New England - 27
|Position Unit||1st Half Grade||Final Grade|
Game analysis for the New England Patriots
Pass Offense: The numbers still ended ugly, as Brady only threw for 116 yards. However, the stop-and-go touchdown to Aaron Dobson under pressure was a fantastic throw, and one that really got the rock rolling for the Patriots. You can debate whether or not momentum truly exists, but that sequence following Miami’s missed field goal really turned the game’s complexion around.
Run Offense: The Patriots quick-snap, no-huddle pace really wore down the Dolphins’ front seven, opening up massive holes by the end of the game for LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley. Just a total 180 from the first half, where Miami dominated the line of scrimmage and stifled the Pats offense.
Run Defense: The Patriots still have concerns in this area going forward, as Miami upped its yards per carry average to an even 5.0 for the game. Brandon Spikes was a little antsy this game, often losing contain despite penetrating the line of scrimmage, which could have cost them in a closer contest.
Pass Defense: New England’s pass rush was what truly turned the game, as relentless blitzes generated six sacks and consistent heat on Ryan Tannehill. Logan Ryan’s strip-sack set up the tying score, and Devin McCourty’s volleyball lob on Marquice Cole’s interception was one of the top plays of the year.
Special Teams: Chandler Jones’ blocked field goal was an impressive athletic display that sealed the game. Stephen Gostkowski also continued his stellar season with a go-ahead 48-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter.
Coaching: Give tremendous credit to Belichick and Matt Patricia for adjusting defensively. Rather than sitting back on their heels, their decision to force quick decisions from Tannehill stymied Miami’s offense after the intermission. McDaniels was also able to go more up-tempo offensively when the Dolphins defense wore down.
First-half analysis for the New England Patriots
Pass Offense: Tom Brady’s first pass set the tempo for a rough start, an interception that set up a Dolphins touchdown. There’s no one person to blame—the Pats have exhibited sloppy execution all-around, whether it’s Rob Gronkowski giving up position on the pick, Brady’s inability to hit the deep throw or the receivers’ failure to get open. Nothing is good enough right now.
Run Offense: Stevan Ridley did not play in the first quarter, but he improved a moribund ground game in the second quarter. Ridley averaged 4.6 yards per carry on the Pats’ only scoring drive of the half, a big jump from the 1.8 average from the rest of the team. He deserves more second-half snaps.
Run Defense: The leaks are really starting to spring on the Pats’ run D. The Dolphins rushed for an eye-popping 103 yards in the half, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. That has allowed Miami to control the clock and establish an offensive rhythm, something New England has been unable to do for much of the season.
Pass Defense: Like last week, poor third-down defense has hurt the Patriots. The Dolphins converted their first five third downs, though New England tightened up after that. The Pats have had trouble containing Tannehill on rollouts, as both Dolphins touchdowns have come with their quarterback throwing on designed runs outside the pocket.
Special Teams: The kick return is one of the Pats’ few bright spots. LeGarrette Blount recorded his longest kick return of the year at 30 yards, and Nate Ebner made a pair of nice tackles inside the 20 on kick returns.
Coaching: Much like the offense, Josh McDaniels has not been able to find a rhythm that works. The offense cannot make enough plays to sustain an up-tempo pace, and the third-down run inside the red zone was questionable. Significant adjustments needed on both sides of the ball.