Patriots defense off to historic start after shutting out Dolphins

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By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

We knew this Patriots defense was going to be very good. Two games in, it's been historic.

The Patriots shut out the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday by a 43-0 final, marking the first goose-egg for the defense since a 27-0 win over the Texans on Sept. 22, 2016. Two of the Patriots' six touchdowns came via pick-sixes, putting the cherry on top of another dominating effort.

New England has now allowed three points in two games, easily the fewest in franchise history to start a season. Only the 1986 Patriots (9 points) even allowed less than 10 points in their first two.

Their deep secondary dominated once again, which should come to be expected for that group. Collectively, Patriots defensive backs racked up two interceptions and six pass breakups. Gilmore provided the highlight of the day when he jumped a route on a short pass attempt by Ryan Fitzpatrick, giving himself a wide open field and a breezy jog to the end zone. It was the first pick-six of his career.

The game was well in hand by that time, putting the Pats up 30-0 in the fourth quarter. Call it an exclamation point.

"It felt good," Gilmore said after the game. "I always wanted a pick-six. I had one my rookie year but they called it back. Finally got on the board. It was a great play, I was happy to get into the end zone."

The Patriots overwhelmed the Dolphins with pressure up front, too. As a group they compiled seven sacks, 12 QB hits, and seven tackles for loss. The front-seven also got pass breakups from LB Jamie Collins (2), DT Adam Butler, DE John Simon, and LB Kyle Van Noy.

Butler had his most disruptive game as a Patriot, racking up two sacks, two QB hits, two tackles for loss, and a batted pass on his own. Sunday marked the first two-sack game of Butler's career. Rookie DE Chase Winovich showed his speed and power combo off the edge with 1.5 sacks and two QB hits.

And after that dismantling, here's what is on deck now:

Week 3 vs. Jets (no Sam Darnold)
Week 4 @ Bills
Week 5 @ Redskins
Week 6 vs. Giants
Week 7 at Jets (possibly no Darnold)

The Patriots defense is already off to a suffocating start, and the schedule isn't getting any harder for them. The unit has potential for special things in 2019. They're already starting to make history.

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 [email protected].