Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots: Live Score, Highlights & Analysis
The Miami Dolphins lost to the New England Patriots in devastating fashion in Week 8. The game started fast for Miami as they ran out to a 17-3 halftime lead. However, the Patriots came back with a vengeance in the second half, scoring 24 unanswered points to win the game 27-17.
While fans will doubtless focus on a few controversial calls made by the officials during the game, the Dolphins did more than enough to contribute to their own demise.
The Dolphins drop to 3-4 on the season, losers of four straight games. The Patriots move to 6-2.
New England - 27
Miami - 17
The player that Chandler Jones was able to knock down on the blocked field goal was reserve offensive lineman Nate Garner, who will collect approximately $1.6 million this year on a contract given to him by general manager Jeff Ireland during the offseason.
The Dolphins looked potent but sloppy on the drive following the Patriots touchdown.
With only seven minutes remaining in the game and a 10-point deficit, Tannehill drove the football deep into Patriots territory.
The key play on the drive was a 3rd-and-23 screen pass to Mike Wallace, who was able to gain 25 yards thanks to an unbelievable block by center Mike Pouncey deep down the field.
However, the drive stalled and resulted in a blocked field goal as Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones was able to bowl over an offensive lineman on the field-goal attempt.
The batting play in NE is clear to me. #50 illegally bats it forward which you can't do. That is a penalty and correctly ruled.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) October 27, 2013
Fans have taken issue with the call made by the officials on defensive end Olivier Vernon during the fumble recovery on the previous drive. For what its worth, former head of officiating Mike Pereira has weighed in on the play.
The Patriots ran the football on 3rd-and-5 just on the brink of field-goal territory but were only able to gain a yard. This led to a difficult decision.
Faced with the daunting prospect of a 52-yard field-goal attempt into heavy wind, the Patriots chose to go for it on 4th-and-4.
The Dolphins defense allowed one of the most immobile quarterbacks in the NFL to convert a 4th-and-4 with his legs.
The defense continued to shoot itself in the foot on the next set of downs. Corner Jimmy Wilson blitzed and was able to hit Brady from behind, forcing the football out of his hand.
However, defensive end Olivier Vernon stupidly batted the football forward in an attempt to give Miami's defenders a better chance at recovering the football.
That proved costly, as the Patriots were given a first down and an extra 10 yards from a personal foul penalty called on Vernon for the illegal batting of the football.
After that, the Patriots simply jammed it down the Dolphins defense's throat, scoring a touchdown with tailback Stevan Ridley.
For Miami, the game is all but over. And the season may be all but over, as well.
Despite physical, blanket coverage, Dolphins corner Dimitri Patterson continues to let the defense down. He could not maintain tight enough coverage on rookie receiver Aaron Dobson on a slant up the middle, allowing Brady to thread the needle for a big completion.
After that, the Dolphins defense decided that they did not want to defend the run anymore, as they allowed two big plays to tailback LeGarrette Blount.
The Patriots are once again in field-goal range with a little under 12 minutes remaining in the game.
Close review showed that Patriots defensive back Marquice Cole did indeed make an impressive play, coming down with the football in bounds after a tip by safety Devin McCourty.
This turnover will prove a costly one for Miami.
The Dolphins have the benefit of the wind at their back in the fourth quarter down 20-17, and they appear to need it.
Miami was able to move the chains by hitting a quick pass underneath to Wallace, followed by a run play that Lamar Miller nearly broke for a long touchdown.
Tannehill failed to connect with Wallace on the next play (big surprise), but he was able to connect with tight end Charles Clay for a new set of downs.
On the following play, Tannehill attempted to hit Wallace on a deep pass which ended up under-thrown. One Patriots defender tipped the football up and it appeared another Patriots defender was able to come down with it in bounds for an interception. However, the play is currently under review.
Starting corner Dimitri Patterson played a fantastic first half, but has been under fire late in the third quarter.
Brady was able to break the offensive stalemate between the two offenses by hitting a back-shoulder pass to rookie receiver Aaron Dobson. Patterson was not able to adjust to the football nearly as quick as Dobson, which gave the Patriots a big gain into Dolphin territory.
A few plays later, Patterson gave the Patriots a new set of downs by being too aggressive with Dobson at the line of scrimmage. The officials called defensive holding.
The Patriots were also able to hit a big run play to tailback Stevan Ridley which gave them the football on the Miami 30-yard line, putting them in field-goal position.
Place-kicker Steven Gostkowski was able to hit the long field goal to take the lead.
New England - 20
Miami - 17
After the shock of a turnaround that saw the Patriots make up a 17-3 lead within a few minutes of the third quarter, the game appears to be stuck in a holding pattern.
The Dolphins offense stalled on the drive immediately following the game-tying touchdown. The Patriots stalled on the drive following that one. The Dolphins answered with yet another offensive stall-out.
The Patriots appeared ready to break the stalemate with a big punt return by Julian Edelman, but a holding penalty brought them back to their own 33-yard line.
With a few minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Dolphins must remember that you cannot win a football game in one or two quarters alone. To win games in the NFL, you must win them over and over again.
On offense following the tying touchdown, the Dolphins could not get anything going as receiver Rishard Matthews failed to come down in bounds with a third-down pass.
The Patriots followed up with a stalled drive of their own as Dolphins corner Dimitri Patterson returned to the field and made a great breakup on a third-down pass intended for rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins.
The Dolphins must win the game over the final 18 minutes of the game.
Well, that was quick.
The Patriots finally put together an impressive drive on offense, and one miscue by the Dolphins allowed the Patriots to erase an entire half of dominance by the Dolphins.
On a second down following the Patriots' long drive, a miscommunication among Miami's blockers resulted in a free blitzer hitting Ryan Tannehill from the blind side, forcing a fumble.
The fumble gave New England the football with a very short field, and they capitalized thanks to a curiously unbalanced defensive formation near the goal line. The formation put no defensive linemen on the right side of the defense to set the edge and take away the outside run. The Patriots ran right at it, hitting paydirt and tying the football game.
Following the missed field goal, the Patriots capitalized on good field position by driving quickly down the field for a touchdown.
Issues within the Dolphins' revamped linebackers unit led to New England tailback Stevan Ridley breaking off a big run. Linebacker Philip Wheeler got tied up by a blocker and could not get back to the outside as Ridley cut outside of him.
On the following play, the Dolphins got another discouraging development on the injury front as corner Dimitri Patterson (who already missed five games this season with a nagging groin injury) took a nasty blow to the back of the head. Patterson left the field and did not return.
The Patriots hit a big pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski up the middle and eventually took advantage of a coverage miscue by reserve corner Nolan Carroll by throwing a touchdown to rookie receiver Aaron Dobson. Linebacker Philip Wheeler showed his blitz prowess on the play by getting right in quarterback Tom Brady's face, but Brady was able to float the ball into the perfect spot despite the pressure.
On 3rd-and-2, the Dolphins took their 27th sack of the season. The very next play, they missed a field-goal attempt.
This sack should not bother the Dolphins nearly so much as what preceded it.
With a chance to go up by three touchdowns, Ryan Tannehill threw a pass to the outside shoulder of $60 million wide receiver Mike Wallace, who ran a corner route from the slot. Wallace could not find, adjust to and secure the on-target pass.
This is a player on whom the Dolphins spent a lot of money during the offseason, and he appears too incompetent to secure passes undrafted wide receivers can catch.
Had Wallace caught the ball, the Dolphins have the football with a 1st-and-goal on the 3-yard line. Instead they faced a 3rd-and-2 which resulted in a sack and a missed field goal.
The Patriots do not appear to have made the prescribed halftime adjustment to defend the Dolphins run game.
Part of the problem is Miami's spreading the Patriots out, making it difficult for New England to stick more bodies in the middle of the field.
The Dolphins have found creative ways to get the ground game going using a spread approach as well as horizontal stretch concepts. The team called a run play out of the shotgun on second down and followed up by having Lamar Miller run across the formation pre-snap before collecting a flare pass just after the snap. Then the Dolphins ran a receiver end-around.
The Patriots continue to look unfocused and shell-shocked on their first drive of the second half.
On first down, Brady could not connect with rookie receiver Aaron Dobson, who had a tough time creating enough separation against Dolphins corner Brent Grimes.
On second down, Brady tripped over his own feet and had the ball scraped by Dolphins linebacker Philip Wheeler from behind, resulting in a wobbly duck that could have been intercepted.
On third down, defensive tackle Jared Odrick collected his second sack of the day.
The New England Patriots are likely to adjust to Miami's all-out ground attack in the second half.
Miami is using the ground game to play keep-away from Tom Brady and the New England offense. That, combined with Miami's unusual efficiency in the red zone, means the classic "bend don't break" approach is useless for New England.
They must bring extra bodies to the line and fill the gaps, preventing the Dolphins from running the ball more.
As New England adjusts to this, Ryan Tannehill should be able to find open gaps in the Patriots secondary, especially over top to receiver Mike Wallace.
The second half would be an excellent time for Miami to forget its seeming aversion to play-action passes.
The Dolphins have run the football with Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller 20 times in the first half. Ryan Tannehill has attempted 18 passes.
This is the offense that Miami must run if they want to continue on to win this game and use the big win as a springboard for the rest of the season.
The Dolphins appear set to head into halftime up 17-3.
Quarterback Tom Brady's hand is clearly bothering him physically and mentally, as both his passes and his decision-making have been off. The hand issue has also affected the Patriots' play-calling.
For the Dolphins, success has come from the rectification of issues that have been festering for months. The team has made a strong commitment to a ground game featuring tailback Lamar Miller, and they have utilized Ryan Tannehill's athleticism with horizontal misdirection.
The Dolphins are doing an excellent job establishing the kind of offense the team should have been establishing for much of the year, starring tailback Lamar Miller as a significant yard-gainer.
Miller's speed is challenging the defense at the edges and on cutbacks. The Patriots defense looks too slow to catch up to him as Miller pushes them on the fringes of the field.
The Patriots continue to have trouble on offense as they are forced to settle for a field goal from the Dolphins red zone.
The health of Tom Brady's throwing hand continues to come into question as the coaches make a curious run call on 3rd-and-2 from inside the red zone. The Dolphins defense was able to bow up and prevent the conversion.
Per source, the initial diagnosis for Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson is that his knee injury is likely season-ending.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 27, 2013
New England right tackle Sebastian Vollmer took a nasty-looking injury to his leg on first down about midway through the second quarter. The training crew brought out an air cast to put on his leg and his season could very well be over.
In the meantime, Dolphins receiver Brandon Gibson's season may also be over, as Albert Breer of NFL.com reports.
The Dolphins have run out to a 14-0 lead following Ryan Tannehill's second touchdown pass of the game. This one was a play that offensive coordinator Mike Sherman pulled out of the Texas A&M playbook, involving misdirection that utilized Tannehill's athleticism to threaten the defense and open up tailback Daniel Thomas for a pass underneath.
Quietly, Tannehill's versatility as a quarterback has resulted in the Dolphins becoming the best red-zone offense in the NFL. Defenses are having a difficult time dealing with the combination of run-pass threat as well as Tannehill's quick decision-making.
Tannehill was a highly effective red-zone quarterback at Texas A&M. In my evaluations leading up to the draft, I found he was statistically the best among elite quarterback prospects at converting goal-to-go situations into touchdowns.
This led me to predict prior to the 2013 season that Tannehill would account for a total of 28 touchdowns. Tannehill is currently on pace for 27 total touchdowns through 6.5 games this season.
Tight end Michael Egnew made his second catch of the season as the Dolphins drove deep into New England territory.
The Dolphins were able to drive into the red zone thanks to head coach Joe Philbin's decision to go for it on 4th-and-1. Tailback Daniel Thomas rewarded Philbin by cutting to the inside for a big 15-yard gain.
Brandon Gibson officially doubtful to return— Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP) October 27, 2013
The Dolphins have not received good news on wide receiver Brandon Gibson, who left the field in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury.
The first quarter is officially in the books and the story of the game continues to be the health of quarterback Tom Brady's throwing hand.
After a shaky pair of drives to start the game, Brady appears to be settling down as he has completed two straight passes to receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.
If the Dolphins begin to doubt Brady's ability to throw accurately down the field, they could begin to crowd the line of scrimmage more aggressively in order to take away the short areas of the field that comprise Brady's favorite target zones. They could also crowd the middle of the field where Brady likes to find tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Brady may have to beat the Dolphins over the top to loosen up the defense and prove his hand is healthy enough to win.
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