The New England Patriots were listed as a double-digit favorite heading into week three's contest with the Miami Dolphins. Coming off a pair of wins to remain tied for the division lead, Sunday was supposed to be just another notch in their belt over a supposedly inferior team. The Dolphins however had other plans in mind for last year's division champs. Miami rode Ronnie Brown and an effective passing attack to a 38-13 pelting of the Patriots in Foxboro.
The game didn't start off well for New England and never fully got on track.
Ellis Hobbs took the opening kickoff up the field for a 50 yard return to Miami's 49. Hobbs put his team in prime position to get off to a great start, but three plays later, the offense did what was going to become theme on the day - they punted.
Miami took over but finished their first possession much like New England's, three plays and a punt.
New England's second possession was a bit more promising as Matt Cassel directed the offense to Miami's 7-yard line before misfiring. Back to back sacks by Joey Porter and Phillip Merling turned a first and goal from the 7 to a third and goal from the 16. A misfire by Cassel on a middle screen turned into a Miami interception by and Miami took over on their own 26.
It didn't take long for Miami to turn the opportunity into points. The Dolphins took an early 7-0 lead in the game on a Ronnie Brown touchdown run and never looked back.
New England answered on the next drive but the offense stalled at the Miami 19. Stephen Goskowski booted through a 37-yard field goal to put the Pats on the board. Though the Patriots were only down by 4, their defense was unable to stop anything the dolphins tried.
Miami took over on their own 21. Six plays later Ronnie Brown was in the end zone for his second score of the game on a 15-yard dive play straight through the center of the New England defense. Miami was leasing 14-3 and had the look of a team out for blood. New England could barely slow them down.
New England closed the gap on another Stephen Gostkowski field goal to make the score 14-6, but it was the closest they would be for the rest of the game. Miami took over at their own 23 and marched 77 yards in 9 plays to reach the end zone on another Brown touchdown to extend the lead at the half to 21-6. Patriots fans booed the home team that hadn't lost a game in Gillette Stadium since 2006.
The second half was more of the same for New England. After Miami scored another Ronnie Brown touchdown - a 19-yard touchdown throw by Brown to Anthony Fasano, the Patriots found the end zone on their own. Matt Cassel's 5-yard strike to Jabar Gaffney was far too little too late.
The Dolphins knew that more Brown was what the doctor ordered and dialed up six straight plays to the back. On the last one, Brown blew through the Patriots defense en route to a 62-yard touchdown. It was his fifth score of the day and set a new Dolphins franchise record. The Patriots became unglued. Mike Vrable was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty after being chopped down from behind while his blocker was also flagged.
The game ended on a whimper for New England as rookie Kevin O'Connell was inserted with a little over six minutes remaining. O'Connell's four passes netted him a better rating (90.6) than Cassel (68.1)
New England has week 4 off with the bye, then heads to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. Miami also has a bye week then hosts the Chargers at home.
-- New England finished with just 216 yards offense compared to Miami's 461.
-- Ellis Hobbs set a franchise record with 6 kickoff returns for 237 yards.
-- New England has won 7 of the last 11 contests between these two opponents, but now trails the all time regular season matchup 48-35.
-- The Dolphins remain the atop franchises with the most wins in the NFL since 1970 improving on their 354-230-2 record (.606). Pittsburgh (2nd) 353-231-2 lost on Sunday.
-- WR Sam Aiken made his Patriot debut against the Dolphins. After missing the first two games due to a knee injury, Aiken made his first career catch as a Patriots, a 9-yard gain.
-- The Patriots 25 point loss was their worst loss at home in seven years.
-- WR Wes Welker had the two biggest gains for the Patriots in the game: A 19-yard run on a reverse and a 21-yard reception.
-- RB Laurence Maroney was inactive for the game with a shoulder injury. Also inactive were LB Eric Alexander, OT Wesley Britt, OL Dan Connolly, LB Shawn Crable, FB Kyle Eckel and WR Kelley Washington. QB Matt Gutierrez was the emergency QB.
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