The Patriots-Dolphins score was rather low at halftime. However, the teams soon lit up the scoreboard — or, rather, the Patriots did. The 41-14 New England win may have looked like one of their 2007 slaughters, yet Tom Brady and company didn’t need to do much. Instead, it was people like Patrick Chung , Brandon Tate, Rob Ninkovich and Kyle Arrington who made all the big plays. What’s more, they are all on defense and special teams, which generated more touchdowns than the offense. The Patriots-Dolphins game was just another bizarre night in the NFL, which New England certainly didn’t mind.
For all that happened in the second half, almost nothing happened in the first half, with little going right for New England. Miami got the early lead with a Davone Bess reception, and New England could only get two second quarter field goals. With the score 7-6 Miami, things looked set for a defensive struggle.
Yet the game changed on the first play of the second half, as Brandon Tate went 103 yards for a kick return touchdown. Moments later, Patrick Chung began his big night by blocking a punt, and setting up another score. The two teams then traded touchdowns, until Chung sealed things in the fourth quarter.
With Miami needing a long field goal to stay alive, Chung blocked his second kick of the game, which Kyle Arrington returned for a touchdown. By now, the showdown had become a laugher, which Chung solidified by returning an interception for another score. It was Chad Henne’s third interception, after Rob Ninkovich caught the first two.
In the blink of an eye, the score turned from 7-6 Miami to 41-14 New England, without much help from Tom Brady and his weapons. This time, the defense and special teams propelled New England in a surprising reversal of fortune. The defense gave up 30 points to winless Buffalo last week, and generated almost that many points by themselves last night.
No matter how New England won, it put them back in front of the AFC East pack with the Jets. In a year where so many power teams have looked unimpressive, their 3-1 start, and the way they have gotten there, has them at the forefront of Super Bowl hopefuls for now.
As for Miami, the Patriots-Dolphins score is a black mark on their early hopes. After starting 2-0 and raising expectations, they have painfully lost two straight prime time games at home to division rivals. They are in an early hole in the division, but they have to avoid letting this tank their playoff chances as well.
Both teams are off until Oct. 17, with the Dolphins looking to recover at Green Bay and the Patriots hosting fellow contender Baltimore.
CBS Sports- “Pats’ D, special teams burn Fins; Brady wins 100’th”
SI.com- “Patriots, Fins headed in different directions after Miami drubbing”