MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — A completely out-of-character slip-up by Tom Brady value the Patriots three factors on the finish of the primary half.
An much more peculiar last-second choice by Invoice Belichick might have value them a win.
Per typical, the Patriots’ go to to Miami was a wild, unpredictable affair. The trio of Rob Gronkowski, Josh Gordon, and Julian Edelman accounted for 335 yards (289 receiving yards, 46 by way of penalty). Brady was slinging the ball everywhere in the area. The Pats protection, in the meantime, was gashed for 255 yards on 23 touches by Dolphins operating backs Frank Gore, Brandon Bolden and Kenyan Drake. The ultimate 55, credited to Drake, have been a doozy.
A number of Patriots defenders stated they knew a lateral-type play was coming. Belichick clearly wasn’t sure of that.
On his convention name Monday, Belichick indicated that Gronkowksi was on the sector to defend a deep throw that might fall in need of the top zone (and perhaps Miami would lateral from there if it reached the 10-yard line or so).
When contemplating Ryan Tannehill’s arm power, maybe Belichick recalled the ultimate play of a 2013 win over Miami when Tannehill chucked the ball about 65 yards in the air. It was simply intercepted by Duron Harmon.
This time, Tannehill solely wanted to throw it 24 yards. Drake did the remaining. The Patriots secondary botched the play from the start. Gronkowski wasn’t going to save them.
Right here’s the place by place breakdown of the Patriots’ stunning 34-33 loss at Miami.
Tom Brady flashed large arm power for many of this recreation.
Within the second quarter, he related with Julian Edelman for a 16-yard achieve on a third-and-10 out route. On the subsequent snap, he hit Cordarrelle Patterson on a pin-point strike down the center for a 37-yard landing.
This was arguably Brady’s greatest recreation of the yr. It was his first outing of 350+ yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers since Week 2 of the 2017 season. The speed of his throws stood out persistently.
It wasn’t good, nevertheless. Believing he had one timeout left, Brady took a sack on the finish of the primary half and allowed the clock to run out. Prior to that, Brady missed an open Chris Hogan in the again of the top zone.
RUNNING BACK: C-minus
The effectivity simply hasn’t been there. Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead have mixed to carry 48 occasions for 142 yards in the previous two video games.
Merely put, they’re not creating many yards that aren’t already obtainable.
Late in the fourth quarter, Michel had a 38-yard run referred to as again due to a James Develin holding penalty.
Michel delivered a nasty stiff-arm to Dolphins defensive lineman Akeem Spence on a 7-yard run in the third quarter, however in any other case struggled to make performs.
James White acquired solely seven touches. It was the third time this season that White has touched the ball fewer than eight occasions. The Pats misplaced all three video games.
WIDE RECEIVER: A
Josh Gordon is getting higher each week. He’s a terror after the catch. On his first reception of the sport, Gordon dragged Dolphins cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick eight yards after securing the seize.
Julian Edelman continued his historical past of burning the Dolphins. The Pats transformed all six third downs when Tom Brady focused Edelman (and have been 2-for-2 when he focused Rob Gronkowski).
Edelman torched rookie cornerback Cornell Armstrong on a pivot route for a 2-yard landing.
Gordon persistently beat protection on slants and comebacks. He turned an Eight-yard hitch right into a 29-yard achieve halfway via the third quarter. Within the fourth, Gordon drew a 41-yard cross interference flag on a deep route down the left sideline.
As nice as Brady’s throw was on the 37-yard landing, it was additionally a terrific catch by Cordarrelle Patterson.
TIGHT END: A-minus
It’ll be fascinating to see which method this goes for Rob Gronkowski.
He was ridiculed on sports activities speak exhibits for his clumsy try at tackling Kenyan Drake in the closing seconds. There’s certainly been dialogue of Gronkowski’s declining athleticism. However, fact is, Gronkowski ought to have by no means discovered himself in that place. Most tight ends would look equally helpless.
This could function a confidence-building recreation for Gronkowski. He dominated the Dolphins, topping 100 yards for the primary time since Week 1. He transformed a 3rd down with a 15-yard achieve in the second quarter, then snagged a excessive cross for a 16-yard landing on the following play.
Subsequent up: A Pittsburgh protection that’s yearly shredded by Gronk.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B-minus
The large fellas up entrance are partially chargeable for the struggles on the bottom.
On a third-and-1 in the primary quarter, Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso shot the hole to hit Rex Burkhead two yards behind the road. Trent Brown didn’t block Alonso, or anybody for that matter, on the play.
Brown wasn’t horrible, however he had hassle with Robert Quinn’s velocity off the sting. Quinn obtained shut sufficient to Tom Brady to make the quarterback uncomfortable on a number of performs, together with Brady’s misfire to Chris Hogan in the top zone on the finish of the primary half.
Dolphins defensive finish Cameron Wake beat Marcus Cannon to hit Brady’s arm on a third-down incompletion in the third quarter. Later, the Pats didn’t determine a Bobby McCain blitz. Shaq Mason and David Andrews double-teamed the nostril deal with, and McCain got here by means of unblocked.
Brady acquired excellent safety on his 37-yard landing to Cordarrelle Patterson. And on the 16-yard rating to Rob Gronkowski, Joe Thuney did a superb job sliding throughout the road to decide up Wake.
DEFENSIVE LINE: D-plus
The Pats have been dealt with on the level of assault by the Miami offensive line.
Malcom Brown received blown off the ball by Laremy Tunsil on Frank Gore’s 36-yard run. Trey Flowers acquired pancaked by pulling deal with Jesse Davis on an 11-yard Kenyan Drakerun across the edge (and two Patriots pursuing from the bottom tripped over Flowers as soon as he hit the bottom). The play arrange Brandon Bolden’s second landing of the day.
On a 43-yard completion to Kenny Stills in the second quarter, Ryan Tannehill had all day to throw towards a four-man rush of Flowers, Brown, Lawrence Man and Deatrich Clever.
There have been some vibrant moments. Defensive deal with Adam Butler freed Flowers for a sack on a stunt. Butler additionally provided the inside strain on a sack that was formally credited to Flowers (Tannehill appeared to journey over the ft of his personal participant as he spun away from Butler and linebacker John Simon).
Flowers pressured a fumble on the opening play of the second half, nevertheless it was recovered by Miami.
Dont’a Hightower wrecked Ryan Tannehill for a 9-yard sack on an early third down. On the play that preceded Hightower’s sack, Kyle Van Noy introduced strain up the center and compelled an errant throw that was almost intercepted by Stephon Gilmore.
Veteran John Simon additionally introduced frequent strain. This was his greatest recreation as a Patriot.
However the Patriots allowed 200 yards to Miami operating backs even when we subtract Kenyan Drake’s last-second heroics. There have been far too many errors on the second degree.
The Dolphins had one-on-one blocks throughout the board as Brandon Bolden cruised untouched for a 54-yard landing. Elandon Roberts couldn’t get off the block of Travis Swanson. Later, Roberts missed a deal with in the open subject towards Frank Gore, who turned a three-yard catch right into a 24-yard achieve.
Hightower acquired fooled on an early read-option by Tannehill.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: D-plus
OK, we’ll begin with the ultimate play. It was a multitude for the secondary.
Jonathan Jones was in place to make the deal with and finish the sport as quickly as Kenny Stills caught the ball, however he ran previous Stills. He appeared to be making an attempt to make a play on the ball.
J.C. Jackson didn’t look to be shifting full velocity after Drake when the operating again was on the sideline (at one level, Jackson oddly jumped as an alternative of charging towards Drake, maybe anticipating a backward pitch to DeVante Parker).
Stephon Gilmore appeared involved a few lateral to his aspect of the sector. He by no means aggressively pursued Drake.
As for the remainder of the sport? Jason McCourty struggled mightily towards Kenny Stills. McCourty was changed by Jackson in New England’s base protection.
Gilmore allowed a landing on a publish route to Brice Butler.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus
The Pats blocked two punts, though the second didn’t go down in the field rating as a block. However the ball traveled two yards. Let’s be trustworthy. It was blocked.
Albert McClellan acquired matched up towards Dolphins longsnapper John Denney and simply beat him each occasions.
In accordance to Professional Soccer Reference, solely six occasions since 2000 has a group blocked a number of punts in a recreation.
McClellan’s first blocked punt immediately led to seven factors.
Particular groups additionally value the Pats 4 factors, as Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42-yard subject objective and his first additional level of the season.
Clearly, Invoice Belichick didn’t make the most of the proper personnel when the sport was on the road.
If Belichick was certainly guarding towards Miami throwing deep to the New England 10-yard line or so (Ryan Tannehill’s vary appears to be about 65 yards), maybe Josh Gordon or 6-foot-Four security Obi Melifonwu would have been higher choices than Rob Gronkowski. Each gamers can excessive level the ball, and each are extra athletic than Gronkowski in the occasion that an open-field deal with is required.
That’s all straightforward to say now, in fact. The Pats will probably reconfigure their end-of-game personnel packages going ahead.
Belichick has been criticized for kicking a area objective on the Patriots’ last drive, however that’s seen as the right name from right here.
If the Pats have been stopped on fourth down, Miami would have taken over inside their very own 5-yard line with 15-18 seconds left. The chances have been towards the Dolphins advancing the ball to the New England 40 —simply as the chances have been towards them scoring a landing on a hook-and-ladder — however in that case a area aim would have gained the sport.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Josh Gordon: Rising as a authentic stud receiver.
Julian Edelman: Transformed six third downs. His 2018 numbers are almost equivalent to his stats from 2016, the most effective yr of his profession.
Rob Gronkowski: The sport might function a turning level for Gronk.
BACK OF THE PACK
Invoice Belichick: No one’s good. Even Belichick slips up sometimes.
Jason McCourty: Strong participant all season, however this was certainly one of his worst video games.
Patriots LBs: 255 yards from scrimmage for Miami operating backs is outrageous.