By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots went down to Miami and did exactly what the entire football world expected, destroying the Dolphins by a 43-0 final on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. And they did it with the help of their newest wide receiver, four-time All-Pro Antonio Brown.
Brown played five of 11 possible snaps and caught three passes from Tom Brady for 36 yards on his first drive as a Patriot, and the team cashed in on that production with a 1-yard touchdown run for Sony Michel to go up 7-0 halfway through the first quarter.
Late in the first half, the Patriots started to add to their lead. This time, Brown caught his first touchdown as a Patriot on a 20-yard back-shoulder fade from Brady that put the Pats up 13-0. It stayed that way as Gostkowski missed the extra point. Brown finished with four catches for 56 yards and the score, adding a five-yard jet sweep.
The Dolphins’ first drive of the second half had a chance to capitalize on a Patriots punt, but things went poorly. Fitzpatrick threw a high pass attempt that Stephon Gilmore leaped and tipped, causing the ball to flutter into the hands of Devin McCourty for an interception.
Set up at the Dolphins’ 36-yard line, the Patriots came up short of a touchdown. Brady targeted Brown three times in the end zone in nine plays, missing all three. On the last incompletion, Brown had Dolphins CB Eric Rowe beat but Brady’s throw went a little short, enabling Rowe to break up what could’ve been an easy TD. The Pats had to settle for Stephen Gostkowski’s first made kick of the game, a field goal to make it 16-0.
After forcing the Dolphins’ sixth punt of the game, the Patriots further extended their lead late in the third quarter. Tight end Matt LaCosse got the drive rolling with a 23-yard catch, his first as a Patriot. A pass interference flag on Rowe set up first-and-goal from the 1-yard line, where Brady powered it in himself off a good block from center Ted Karras to make it 23-0.
From there, the defense took over on the scoreboard. The Dolphins gave up pick-sixes on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, first to Stephon Gilmore and then to linebacker Jamie Collins. Gilmore jumped a short pass attempt from Fitzpatrick for an easy jog to the end zone, then Collins gathered a bobble from Kalen Ballage and took it down the sideline to make it 37-0. Needless to say, the game was well in hand by that point.
James White scored a late-fourth quarter touchdown to hang a 40-burger on the Dolphins, making it 43-0 after Gostkowski missed yet another extra point.
The Patriots have now allowed just three points through two games. It’s the fewest they’ve ever allowed over the first two games of any season in franchise history, eclipsing the previous mark set by the 1986 team (9 points allowed).
Up Next: The Patriots get the New York Jets at home in Week 3, and they will be without starting QB Sam Darnold as he recovers from mononucleosis. One can reasonably expect the early-season domination to continue for New England.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.