5 things to know from Patriots win over Dolphins
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots played the first half
like they were heading for their third loss in four games.
Then came their best third quarter of the season. Now, they're tied for
the third-best record in the AFC.
"We obviously have a long way to go," Tom Brady said, "but it feels
good to be 6-2."
The Patriots got there with a 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins on
Sunday, rallying from their worst half of the year. They trailed 17-3
then outscored the Dolphins 17-0 in the third quarter.
Quite a change from their other seven games when they were outscored
44-9 in that period.
"The prior games we didn't have as much third-quarter energy as we
needed, kind of like we do at the start of the game," Patriots
defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. "The second half we played how we
wanted to play for the whole game."
The Dolphins (3-4) saw no need to make many halftime adjustments, not
with the way they outgained the Patriots 175 yards to 59 in the first
"We found a groove in the first half," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said
after the Dolphins' fourth straight loss, then made "some minor
adjustments, but we were comfortable with the success we were having in
the first half."
One week after throwing a career-high three touchdown passes, Tannehill
threw two in the first half — a 4-yarder to Brandon Gibson and a
5-yarder to Daniel Thomas — as the Dolphins took a 14-0 lead.
The Patriots tied it midway through the third quarter with two
touchdowns in 1 minute, 46 seconds — Brady's 14-yard pass to Aaron Dobson and Brandon Bolden's 2-yard run. They capped their strong
quarter with Stephen Gostkowski's 48-yard, go-ahead field goal with 8
seconds left, then scored on Stevan Ridley's 3-yard run midway through
the fourth quarter.
Five things we learned from the Patriots' seventh straight win over the
BRADY'S BAD NUMBERS: The individual statistics are
subpar. Brady's 116 yards passing were his second-fewest in seven
seasons. And his 74.9 passer rating for the year is the lowest of his
career, not counting 2000 when he threw just three passes as a rookie.
And he threw an interception on his first pass Sunday. But the Patriots
won even though his throwing hand appeared to be swollen.
"It's perfect," Brady said. "I don't know (how) anyone knows what the
back of my right hand looks like, but it looks fine to me and it feels
IGNORING INJURIES: Another day, another injury to a
key Patriots player. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was driven off the
field on the back of a cart after hurting his leg in the second quarter
and didn't return. The Patriots already were without four key injured
defenders — defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, linebacker
Jerod Mayo and cornerback Aqib Talib. Yet, they lead the AFC East by
"It's tough losing guys on the offensive line," Brady said, "but the
guys that were in there stepped in and did a great job."
Gibson didn't play after hurting his left knee in the first quarter and
was on crutches in the Miami locker room. There were no updates on him
PENALTIES HURT: Two costly penalties hurt the
Dolphins. Safety Jimmy Wilson was flagged for a questionable 21-yard
pass interference call against tight end Rob Gronkowski that moved the
ball to the Miami 33. That led to Gostkowski's 34-yard field goal that
cut the Dolphins lead to 14-3 late in the first half. Then Olivier Vernon was called for illegally batting forward a ball that Brady
fumbled. Tackle Nate Solder recovered for the Patriots at the Miami 45.
But the 10-yard penalty was marked from the line of scrimmage, giving
the Patriots the ball at the Miami 13. Ridley scored four plays later.
TACKLING TANNEHILL: The Dolphins obtained Bryant McKinnie
from the Baltimore Ravens last Monday to help their weak pass
protection. He started at left tackle and Tannehill was sacked six
times. That makes it a league-high 32 this season.
McKinnie "looked like he did some good things," Miami coach Joe Philbin
said. "I thought our protection was better."
CARRYING THE LOAD: Both teams had strong ground games with
the Dolphins rushing for 156 yards and the Patriots picking up 152.
Miami's Lamar Miller led all runners with 89 yards and Ridley had 79.
"The holes were a little bit tight at first" Ridley said. "As the game
progressed, the offensive line, we really started leaning on them and
some creases were in there."