PATRIOTS REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS
PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Tom
Brady never really found his rhythm in Saturday's game, but he was far
more efficient in the second half as the Patriots rallied from a
17-point deficit. The banged-up offensive line struggled, which made it
difficult for the passing game to succeed, but it was a positive sign
to see Deion Branch back in the fold with three catches, including a
touchdown. In the end, Brady didn't make any key mistakes and still
passed for more than 300 yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- This area
actually turned out to be a strength for the Patriots. Stevan Ridley
and Danny Woodhead ran hard with limited attempts, and Brady, of all
people, snuck in twice with a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. The
Patriots were remarkably efficient in short-yardage situations, and
most of the credit goes to the running game, which averaged 3.8 yards
PASS DEFENSE: C -- It seems as
though the Patriots always find a way to get it done, but the numbers
and the overall performance never look pretty. Early on, Matt Moore had
his way with the secondary, especially at the expense of Devin
McCourty, whose sophomore slump continued. If anything, the Patriots
were tough in crunch time, but the Dolphins still scored a late
touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Moore to make things interesting.
RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Reggie Bush,
who's suddenly become an every-down back in Miami, had a monster
performance, rushing for 133 yards on 22 carries, an average of 5.1 per
carry. That's not good, and Bush's performance helped Moore settle into
a groove in the opening half. The good news is Bush never reached the
end zone, but that's a small consolation prize.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- The
biggest play of the game was somewhat unconventional. After the
coverage unit suffered a breakdown on a kickoff early in the third
quarter, it was kicker Stephen Gostkowski who saved a touchdown by
tackling Clyde Gates on the return. The Dolphins fumbled on the ensuing
series, and the Patriots took off from there. Were it not for that
play, Gostkowski would be chided more for his miss on a 51-yard
field-goal attempt. Considering the magnitude of the tackle play, the
Patriots get a decent grade.
COACHING: A -- Whatever the
coaches did or said at halftime worked. They had to shuffle the
offensive line and figure out new protection schemes after Matt Light
and Logan Mankins suffered injuries, and they had to find some way to
get the most from their players despite staring at a 17-0 halftime
deficit. Some luck was involved, but it says a lot when a team doesn't
quit, and this one never seems to give up on Bill Belichick.
DOLPHINS REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS
PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus --
Matt Moore's 99.8 passer rating would suggest he played great. Moore
did throw three touchdown passes against the Patriots, who have the
worst secondary in the NFL. However, he also misfired on nearly a dozen
passes and was responsible for some of the five sacks the Dolphins
allowed because he held onto the ball too long.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Reggie
Bush averaged 5.1 yards per carry, and he gained 113 of the team's 115
rushing yards. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the first time
in his career, but the Dolphins couldn't pound the football when they
needed to kill the clock.
PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- The
Dolphins frustrated Tom Brady in the first half, limiting him to
7-of-19 accuracy for 87 yards, and they sacked him three times. But
Brady got his groove back in the second half, completing 20 of 27
passes, throwing for a touchdown and rushing for two more.
RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Patriots
gained 119 yards on the ground, becoming the seventh opponent to rush
for more than 100 yards on the Dolphins this season. New England also
scored two rushing touchdowns on a pair of 1-yard sneaks from Brady,
which brings Miami's total to eight rushing touchdowns allowed this
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Davone Bess
averaged 12.5 yards per punt return, and Clyde Gates was a shoestring
tackle away from scoring his first touchdown on a kickoff return. Dan
Carpenter kicked a 47-yard field goal, and Brandon Fields averaged 41.7
net yards per punt.
COACHING: D -- The Dolphins
had a 17-point lead at the half and wasted it in the second half. No
halftime adjustments were made, and the defense struggled to keep pace
with New England's no-huddle offense in the second half. Todd Bowles
also should have tried an onside kick with his offense trailing 27-24
with 1:48 remaining.
- Dolphins Game Thread.
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