But the bigger issue, as always, was the offense.
The Dolphins actually outgained the Patriots, but New England scored touchdowns on three short drives after bad Dolphins mistakes.
One was a Randall Gay interception of a Jay Fiedler pass that led to a 30-yard touchdown drive, capped by Tom Brady's 1-yard pass to tight end Daniel Graham.
Another was a 46-yard drive late in the first half that started after punter Matt Turk shockingly decided to run for the first down after catching an off-center snap on fourth-and-7 even though he easily could have gotten the punt off.
That drive ended with Brady's 5-yard pass to David Givens that gave New England a 17-7 lead.
The last touchdown drive started at the Miami 48-yard line after the Patriots recovered a Fiedler fumble at the end of a scramble.
That touchdown was scored by Rabih Abdullah on a 1-yard run.
The Dolphins scored their first first-half touchdown of the season when Fiedler hit Chris Chambers with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
The Dolphins had some success moving the ball offensively against New England and got inside the Patriots 20-yard line on all three of their fourth-quarter drives.
The first ended on fourth-and-11 from the Pats 21-yard line when Fiedler's perfect over a defender was dropped by Derrius Thompson in the end zone.
On their next drive, the Dolphins reached the Patriots 10-yard line, but four straight incompletions ensued.
Then there was the last desperation drive where the Dolphins got a first-and-goal inside the 1 after Fiedler connected with Marty Booker with a 45-yard pass.
But Fiedler was stuffed on a quarterback sneak on first down. On second down, Fiedler was sacked by safety Rodney Harrison for a 12-yard loss and had to leave the game after aggravating a rib injury.
A.J. Feeley came in and hit Chambers for a 6-yard gain on third down and his pass on fourth-and-goal was broken up at the 2-yard line.
Adding injury to insult, Feeley was hurt on the play when linebacker Rosevelt Colvin blew past tackle Damion McIntosh at the line of scrimmage and nailed Feeley just as he was releasing the pass.
It was a fitting way to end the game.