By Site Staff
It wasn't pretty or dominating, as it rarely is in meetings between the Patriots and Dolphins, but New England made the plays it had to in the end to come away with the 23-16 road win to improve to 5-4 on the season. The New England defense finally made plays, forcing two key Dolphins turnovers and holding strong on a goal-line stand with less than a minute to play.
New England's offense got a surprisingly solid contribution from former Dolphins fullback Heath Evans. In just his second week with the Patriots, Evans rushed 17 times for 84 yards (4.9 average) and added three catches for 18 yards. Tom Brady put up decent numbers (21-of-36 passing for 275 yards) but balanced out his two touchdowns with two poor interception throws. Tight end Benjamin Watson scored both of New England's touchdowns, finishing with three catches for 37 yards and the two scores.
Ellis Hobbs had a big-play day for the Patriots, recording his first career interception and recovering a fumble. The rookie cornerback finished the game tied for a team high with seven tackles to go along with the pick, four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries. The New England secondary that had been highly criticized in recent weeks still allowed Miami's Gus Frerotte to throw for 360 yards, but was able to break up 12 passes on the day and made enough plays in the end for the win.
--DL Richard Seymour returned to the lineup for the first time in four games against the Dolphins. Including the team's bye, Seymour missed five weeks with a knee injury suffered playing goal-line fullback against the Chargers. He finished the Miami game with two tackles and a pass defensed.
--WR David Givens missed his first game of the season due to a knee injury. In his absence, New England opened with a three-wide look with Bethel Johnson and Troy Browns lined up opposite usual starter Deion Branch at wide receiver.
--TE Daniel Graham missed the Miami game due to a shoulder injury. Graham had been listed as questionable on the team's injury report.
--SS James Sanders returned to the lineup against Miami after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury. Sanders finished with just one tackle.
--RBs Patrick Pass and Kevin Faulk continued to miss action due to injury. Pass missed his second game with a hamstring injury, while Faulk has been out since he broke his foot in Week 3 in Pittsburgh.
--RB Corey Dillon started but played just one play against the Dolphins after his leg tightened. With Dillon out, New England turned to recently signed fullback Heath Evans, who rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries (4.9 average) and caught three passes for 18 yards.
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