GAME BALLS AND GOATS: Here
UPDATE 4:10pm: Fourth Down play seals it. Final 20 - 10 Pats Win
The Patriots took over on their own 40 after the Dolphins missed a 50-yard FG wide right. They drove toward Dolphins territory running the ball behind Laurence Maroney while Miami called Time Outs trying to save game clock. Miami had New England stopped with 3:43 on the clock at the Dolphins 35. Instead of punting or attempting a long FG, New England opted to go for it. Brady threw to a wide-open Ben Watson on the left side for the first.
A few plays later Laurence Maroney took a handoff and rolled around the left side on a 3rd and 7 from Miami's 17 and got the final first down necessary, when he was finally pushed out of bounds at the Miami six yard line.
Tom Brady took a knee to seal the game.
UPDATE 3:40pm: Touchdown New England 20-10
BIG BREAK: Pass Interference at the Patriots 2 on Dolphins DB Will Allen. The call looks to be questionable, as Nick Saban has let the officials know what he thought of the play. Without the penalty, the Dolphins had the Patriots in a 3rd and 8 with an incomplete pass that would have forced another near 40-yard Stephen Gostkowski FG attempt.
One play later Tom Brady threw to a wide-open Heath Evans on the right side of the end zone. Evans, cut by Miami October 24, 2005, signed with the Patriots November 1, 2005. It was Evans' first Career TD.
Pick Number 2
Bad pass by Joey Harrington behind Wes Welker slid out of his hands right into Asante Samuel's hands for his second pick of the game.
Travis Daniels out (knee) return questionable.
UPDATE 3:30pm: Patriots Offense almost on track.
After driving the Patriots out of their own territory Tom Brady had little success in Dolphins territory and saw his drive fizzle out at the Miami 38.
UPDATE 3:06pm: Third Quarter Slow down
Both teams have exchanged punts and field position. The Dolphins defense has keyed on Laurence Maroney daring the Patriots to pass the ball with Maroney in the lineup. New England has failed to respond. Tom Brady has three passes batted down, and appears to be out of sync with his receivers.
Joey Harringtons' near 80% completion percentage has declined while Brady is flirting with a mere 50%.
Take on the First Half:
The Patriots haven't looked in rhythm since early in the first quarter. Without a couple of key turnovers, the Dolphins would have New England on its heels statistically. Asante Samuel's interception was a big difference maker in the game, allowing the Patriots to capitalize with excellent field position at the Miami 10.
Joey Harrington had his game of the year, even though it's been his only game of the year for the Dolphins. His 17 of 22 for 176 was a combination of solid passing, with no big plays. Harrington looked Tom Brady like in his own right driving the Dolphins down the field to narrow the game from a 13-point deficit.
A look back at last week's first half stats from the Bengals Game Day Blog shows an eerily similar pattern of stats with the Patriots giving up yardage but not big scores. The Patriots defense has been able to limit the Dolphins success on the ground, but that may not last if Harrington continues to have all day to pass the ball. The Patriots have not come close to sacking Harrington all day.
Keys to the Second Half:
Dolphins - just continue to do what they did in the second quarter, run Ronnie Brown, and allow Joey Harington to thow against a soft Patriots coverage scheme.
Patriots - run Corey Dillon. Dillon appears to have the power to break through the Miami defense for solid gains while Laurence Maroney seems to go down upon first contact. Tom Brady needs to work on his accuracy, after throwing some poor balls to receivers. The Patriots need to get the offense in rhythm if they're going to win.
AT THE HALF:
Brady - 7 of 11 for 51 yds, 1TD and 0 INT
Dillon - 29 yards on 6 carries
Maroney - 10 yards on 6 carries
Brown - 3 catches for 29 yards and a TD
Joey Harrington - 17 of 22 for 176 yards
Ronnie Brown - 26 yards on 10 carries and 1 TD
Wes Welker - 7 catches for 67 yards
Randy McMichael - 4 catches for 47 yards
The Dolphins never punted. The Patriots punted once. The Dolphins had 4 Penalties, while the Patriots had 3. The two turnovers by Miami are the only ones in the game, and have led to 10 of the Patriots 13 points.
Update 2:25pm: Dolphins score again
After an absolutely ugly display of offense and that saw a comeback screen to Doug Gabriel go awry, and a misdirection direct snap on third and long to Kevin Faulk, the Patriots went three and out giving the Dolphins solid field position on their own 38 with 1:49 to play.
Instead of blitzing Joey Harrington, the Patriots opted to drop more players in coverage and keep the ball in front of them. While that succeeded in preventing the big play, what it also did was to give Joey Harrington the kind of time he needed to pick apart the Patriots defense underneath. Harrington went 5 of 7 to drive the Dolphins 40 yards in 8 plays to put the Dolphins in Olindo Mare's range.
Mare nailed his first FG of the game a 40-yard FG. Score 13-10 Patriots, and the Dolphins have signs of life having turned this game back into a dogfight.
Update: 2:15pm: Dolphins Hurry-Up offense Succeeds Dolphins TD
The drive had 3 Miami penalties putting Harrington in 2nd and long (13, 18) situations, but Harrington was able to connect with Welker multiple times on the drive to get the Dolphins on the board. The Patriots tried a pair of blitzes that were stymied, but appeared content to sit back and try to let Joey Harrington try to beat them. Prevoius opponents have blitzed the Dolphins relentlessly forcing Daunte Culpepper to take more sckls than any other QB in the league.
New England's defensive strategy has taken on the bend-don't-break look. Miami took over and drove 80 yards in 8 plays to cap the drive off with a walk in run by Ronnie Brown.
Update 2:00pm: Marty Booker out headed to the lockerroom. No update yet, but the Dolphins can ill-afford to lose a WR at this point. Wes Welker is tearing up the Patriots secondary with the short quick pass completions.
UPDATE: 1:55pm: Touchdown New England
After an interception by Asante Samuel on the Miami 26 which he ran back to the Dolphins 10-yard line, the Patriots took two plays to score. A 10-yard scoring strike in the middle of the field.
Joey Harrington's pass was a 3rd and 10 oplay where he was faced with a heavy rush from the interior. Harrington rolling left ot avoid the rush three the ball toward Wes Welker, only to have Samueal snag it and run the opposite direction. Harrington never saw Samuel as he was watching the training DB (Artrell Hawkins) who was trying to catchup with Welker after both players crossed the middle.
Brown is a just over a half dozen catches away from tying Stanley Morgan's franchise record of 534.
UPDATE 1:50pm: New England FG #2
After going for it on fourth and one inside Dolphins territory, the Patriots opted to kick a FG from the Miami 13. It capped a 15-play 56-yard drive that started on the New England 31 from the blocked kick.
UPDATE 1:40pm: Miami Kick Blocked
After getting the ball on the 30, Miami marched down the field showing a good mix of run and pass to get to the Patriots red zone. A defensive hold against Mike Vrabel gave the Dolphins solid field position and first at the New England 24. A pass to Marty Booker was complete to the New England 1 yard line, but was called back due to a hold.
Three plays later, the Dolphins have ot settle for an Olindo Mare FG attempt. Mare slipped on the green dirt posing as turf in Gillettte Stadium and his FG was blocked. Mike Wright was credited with the block.
UPDATE 1:30pm: New England Converts
On a short field after getting the ball on the Miami 37, the Patriots went 7 plays fro 20 yards to get in Stephen Gostkowski's range. Gostkowski nailed the FG for his first solid kick to give him a boost of confidence.
UPDATE 1:20pm: Miami's first drive was anything but pretty a run, then a pass and a first down. The next play was Ronnie Brown's undoing. The early fumble by Ronnie Brown caused by a hit by Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau has already given the momentum to the Patriots. After review by the Officials, The call stands.
Miami Blitzing to get to Brady.
UPDATE 1:10pm: Inactives The story of the day. Hobbs is back, Culpepper is out, O'Callaghan is back and Graham is sitting out.
No three tight end sets for the Patriots today. The Culpepper move was expected. Although Scout.com reported that Culpepper may see action if necessary, it does not appear top be the case.
Ellis Hobbs is active and playing today.
The Dolphins have one of the better rushing attacks in the league. The Dolphins will need to get him on track early so Joey Harrington isn't under as much pressure.
Talk about the team on the Patriots