New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Oct 29, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) intercepts a pass intended to New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots dropped a 31-17 decision to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. The Pats are now 2-6 as they hit the midway point of the 2023 season.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finished the day 30-of-45 passing for 326 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, finishing off the Patriots with a dagger touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots’ Mac Jones, meanwhile, was 19-of-29 for 161 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The pick came late in the first half when the Pats had a chance to tie the game, a back-breaker in a game where points were desperately needed.

The game’s first big play came late in the first quarter, and from the Patriots defense. After being sacked by Christian Barmore on the previous play, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa got rushed into a questionable decision to throw over the middle against the Patriots’ zone defense. Safety Kyle Dugger sat in his area and the ball went right to him for an easy interception.

Jones and the Patriots offense made Tua pay for the pick. Three plays later, on third-and-4, Jones fired a strike to Kendrick Bourne for a 24-yard catch-and-run touchdown, giving New England a 7-0 lead.

  • Soon after the Bourne touchdown, however, the Dolphins answered back with authority. Capitalizing on misdirection with a good play-fake, Tua launched an accurate deep ball to Tyreek Hill behind the defense, and into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown.

  • The Patriots had to punt on their ensuing drive, mainly due to a fumble out of bounds by Ezekiel Elliott and a holding penalty on Bourne. The Dolphins then drove all the way down the field for another touchdown in 14 plays and 7:25 of clock. The drive included a Tua conversion on fourth-and-4.

    It appeared for a moment that the Patriots had stopped the Dolphins on third down, but a pass interference penalty by J.C. Jackson in the end zone set up first and goal from the 1-yard line. Tua then hit Cedrick Wilson with the 1-yard quick strike for the score, opening up a 14-7 lead for Miami.

  • The Patriots had a chance to respond with points, as they put a promising drive together to set up first-and-10 from the Dolphins’ 23-yard line. But instead, Jones lofted a deep pass attempt for Bourne down the left sideline, only for Jalen Ramsey to undercut the throw for an interception. Ramsey took it back the other way for 49 yards.

    The Patriots were able to keep the Dolphins out of the end zone this time, but they did get three points on a Jason Sanders field goal to make it 17-7. That would be the score at halftime.

  • The Patriots got a bit of a swing for themselves to start the third quarter. Tua and running back Raheem Mostert botched a handoff on their first play from scrimmage, causing a bad fumble and a recovery by Patriots linebacker Anfernee Jennings.

    However, Jones took a third-down sack as he didn’t see an open DeVante Parker over the middle of the field, so the Patriots had to settle for a field goal to make it 17-10.

  • The Dolphins answered the field goal with another touchdown. Tua drove Miami 77 yards in nine plays, finishing off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Mostert, extending their lead to 24-10.

  • Faced with essentially a gotta-have-it drive, Jones and the Patriots drove 81 yards in 13 plays, culminating with a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. The score cut the Miami lead back to just one touchdown at 24-17.

  • But unfortunately for the Patriots, their defense could not get the big stop they desperately needed. Hill converted on third-and-9 to keep the drive alive, then five plays later, Tua and Jaylen Waddle made the Pats pay for a total coverage breakdown, as the receiver made an easy 31-yard catch-and-run for a TD, making it 31-17.

  • Up Next: The 2-6 Patriots will have to rebound in a hurry, starting in Week 9, when they cross the midway point of the season and return to Foxboro for a date with the Washington Commanders.

    Click here for complete New England Patriots coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    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. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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