Hannable: Dolphins tried to bring Patriots down to their level and failed miserably

Ryan Hannable
November 26, 2017 - 10:28 pm

Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

FOXBORO — It doesn’t take a football expert to see the Patriots are a much better team than the Dolphins, and Miami was at an even bigger disadvantage knowing it had never beaten Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium in a game he started and finished over his 18-year career.

So, what did the Dolphins try and do Sunday afternoon? Bait Brady and the Patriots into playing their undisciplined style to get them rattled, but clearly it didn’t go according to plan in the Patriots’ 35-17 win.

Just look at Miami cornerback Bobby McCain.

The 24-year-old picked Brady off in the second quarter with the Patriots leading 14-3 at the time and then ran past the quarterback as he walked off the field letting him know about the interception. 

Karma came back to hurt McCain in the third quarter when he was ejected for throwing a punch at Danny Amendola.

“Just too much extra after the play,” McCain said. “It happened three plays in a row. If the refs don’t say anything, that is fine. We’re just playing football, but at the end of the day I have to defend myself and I wouldn’t try and punch anybody. I wouldn’t want to hit anybody, but I tried to get him off me and it caused me to punch him.”

Added McCain: “He grabbed my face mask, grabbed me by the neck and it was just a lot of extra stuff. Extra by the both of us. We were both in the wrong and I am going to be honest to a man, we were both in the wrong and unfortunately, I was the one to get ejected.”

McCain tried to get Amendola to buy into his antics and ended up by getting ejected — a perfect example of the Patriots being disciplined and the Dolphins being undisciplined.

Miami also tried to get into Brady’s head by jawing at him from the sideline and it’s pretty clear how that went. 

Receiver Kenny Stills admitted to doing it after the game. It occurred at one point towards the end of the first half when Brady even looked over at Stills and appeared to yell something back.

“I can’t say I was definitely in his head, but who knows? Any team, if you can rattle the quarterback you have an opportunity to win the game,” Stills said. “We know if the defense can get to Tom and put hands on him, hit him a couple of times, you have a higher percentage at winning the game. It’s the same with any quarterback. I was just talking a little trash and having a good time. I’m just playing football. Some people think it’s talking trash. To me it’s just ball.”

Did Stills really think trash-talking Brady would get him rattled and impact his performance? Come on. 

Brady finished 18-for-28 with 227 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. The four-touchdown game was his second of the season and 28th all-time, which is third-most in NFL history. He also threw his 26th touchdown pass of the year, the most of all-time in a season after turning 40 years old.

Additionally, according to Pro Football Focus, he was 3-for-3 on deep passes (20-plus yards in the air) for 98 yards. He leads the NFL with 24 deep completions and ranks second with 824 passing yards on deep attempts this season.

Trash-talking to Brady is never a good idea and the Dolphins found that out the hard way.

“It was an aggressive game and they've got an aggressive defense,” Brady said. “We made enough plays. It was good to win a division game at home. So 9-2 and just keep grinding. Isn't it fun?”

Some teams may take the bait and stoop down to Miami’s level, but certainly not the Patriots led by Bill Belichick. 

Maybe Miami should look itself in the mirror and realize its playing style just isn’t going to get it done — not only against the Patriots, but in general.

After all, it’s hard to be taken seriously after five straight losses.

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