The New England Patriots fell to 0-2 on the season after a 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins on “Sunday Night Football” at Gillette Stadium. Miami killed a potential New England rally with a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Raheem Mostert that put the game out of reach.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was 31-of-42 passing for 231 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, good for an 84.5 passer rating. Jones had spotty blocking in front of him on the offensive line, but the offense also endured bad turnovers and a lack of big plays down the field, which kept them playing catch-up with the Dolphins throughout the night.
The Patriots’ first offensive drive fizzled out around midfield, after Jones took a nine-yard sack on second-and-12. The Dolphins’ David Long blitzed cleanly through Pats left tackle Vederian Lowe and left guard Cole Strange. They played it safe with a short pass on third down, which came up short to force a punt.
On defense, the Patriots sniffed out a second-and-goal play for a loss of yardage, then a low snap and fall to the turf by Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa forced a third-down incompletion. Miami settled for a field goal to make it 3-0 in the first quarter.
The Pats had a chance to answer on the following drive. They marched into Dolphins territory, only for rookie receiver Demario Douglas to fumble on a catch-and-run at the 29-yard line, giving it right back after the punch-out by Bradley Chubb. And that’s how the first quarter would end.
Miami cashed in with an 11-play, 78-yard touchdown drive, capped by an eight-yard touchdown run by Mostert to extend their lead to 10-0. Sparking this drive was a 28-yard catch-and-run by Dolphins wideout Jaylen Waddle.
After the teams traded punts, the Patriots drove 35 yards in 10 plays to set up rookie kicker Chad Ryland for a 49-yard field goal, the first of his career. That cut the deficit to 10-3.
Unfortunately, the Patriots could not get a much-needed stop on the Dolphins’ final drive of the first half. Tagovailoa engineered another touchdown drive, finishing it off with a quick 2-yard strike to Tyreek Hill for the score, making it 17-3.
Leading up to that, Tagvailoa completed passes to running back Salvon Ahmed (2), wide receivers River Cracraft (2) and Braxton Berrios, and tight end Durham Smythe.
That score would hold until 11:21 left in the fourth quarter, when Jones found tight end Hunter Henry in the end zone for a six-yard touchdown. The 8-play, 58-yard drive made it 17-10 Miami.
Jones had previously thrown a red-zone interception to Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, but the Patriots defense responded well with a three-and-out to spur the TD drive. Good complementary football.
On the ensuing Dolphins drive, Tagovailoa chucked it deep for Hill, only to be intercepted by rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez. The Patriots could not capitalize, though, as the offense went three-and-out and punted. The Dolphins answered right back with a 43-yard touchdown run for Mostert, who burst through a gaping hole in the Pats defense for the back-breaking score.
Jones engineered another touchdown drive after that, nine plays for 75 yards, capped by a two-yard TD run by Rhamondre Stevenson. The defense got one more stop after a missed Miami field goal, but couldn’t quite drive down the field for a game-tying touchdown.
The Patriots are now 0-2 on the season for the first time since the 2001 season. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are firmly in the driver’s seat in the AFC East at 2-0.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.