Patriots 43, Dolphins 0: 10 quick observations from rout in Miami

Ryan Hannable
September 15, 2019 - 4:11 pm
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — South Florida hadn’t been too kind to the Patriots in recent years, but that changed Sunday afternoon.

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The Patriots blew out the Dolphins, 43-0, in a game that wasn't even close to what the final score indicated.

Antonio Brown made his Patriots debut and finished with four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Here are 10 quick observations from the game.

1. As expected, the Patriots got Brown involved and involved early. He caught three passes on the opening drive of the game that was capped off by a Sony Michel rushing touchdown. The wide out caught his first touchdown as a member of the Patriots late in the first half on a perfect back-shoulder throw from Tom Brady for a 20-yard touchdown. While the two were connecting early, there were some timing issues as the game went on, but that is to be expected given he just joined the team this week.

2. Brady was very sharp and spread the ball around well. The 42-year-old finished 20-for-28 with 264 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown and connected with seven different receivers with Brown's four receptions being the most to any player. It really will be something to watch all year if the team can keep all its wide outs on the field to see Brady pick apart opposing defenses each week.

3. All the talk this week has been about the Patriots offense, but the defense has been the real story in the two games. Dating back to last season, the unit has gone 12 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown. It’s the first time since 1982 it has been able to do that. Miami finished with just 184 yards of total offense and through three quarters ran just one offensive play in Patriots territory, which was a sack. The unit even got into the scoring with two pick-6's in the fourth quarter. Stephon Gilmore had one and then on the next possession Jamie Collins added one on a deflected ball.

4. Injuries up front for the Patriots were the only downside. Starting right tackle Marcus Cannon was inactive and then starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn was injured in the first quarter. Marshall Newhouse shifted from right tackle to left tackle and then Korey Cunningham came in and played right tackle. This appeared to impact the Patriots’ play-calling early on, but they were able to adjust in the second half. While Cannon shouldn't be out much longer, it's unclear what Wynn's status is.

5. Phillip Dorsett continues to be Mr. Reliable. The wide out finished with three catches for 39 yards. Dating back to the last year, in the regular season he’s caught the last 23 passes thrown his way. The biggest was a 18-yard catch on third-and-17 in the first half. While his role will be diminished with all the big names the offense now has, but he still has the chance to make a big impact.

6. The Patriots appear to be exploring with different roles for Jonathan Jones. He played some safety in the base defense, which may be a sign of things to come. One potential thought is he could take over for Devin McCourty at free safety when he retires. Keep in mind, Jones recently signed a contract extension.

7. The Patriots rushing attack was much better than it was in Week 1. Michel finished with 85 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He did fumble late. It also should be noted Rex Burkhead has looked great in his limited action over the first two games, making some tremendous cuts. The only issue with him the last few years has been staying on the field.

8. Michael Bennett didn’t see much playing time on the defensive line, but there was a reason for that. New England went with a 3-4 look on early downs, so they went with bigger defensive tackles like Danny Shelton, Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler. This meant Bennett played more as a substitute on later downs.

9. Stephen Gostkowski had a tough day missing two extra points and a field goal. He's had a history of issues in Miami, but he's also had some troubles dating back to the preseason. His situation is one to keep an eye on.

10. Prior to the game, Brown’s agents, the Rosenhaus brothers, had a long conversation with Robert and Jonathan Kraft on the Patriots sideline. It appeared like Robert did a lot of the talking with it ending with everyone shaking hands. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning Kraft would not have signed off on the signing if he new of the lawsuit that came Tuesday.

Related: Sunday 7: Randy Moss conversation with Antonio Brown