Recap: Patriots come up short in season opener, Dolphins win 20-7
September 11th, 2022
The New England Patriots came up short in their regular season debut on Sunday, losing 20-7 to the Miami Dolphins. Click here for a full game recap from Alex Barth.
Listen live here at 985TheSportsHub.com or the app for postgame coverage with Jim Murray and Joe Murray
Below, you can get a recap of our live updates from the game.
Pats Can’t Convert On Fourth Down
The Patriots have turned the ball over on downs. Mac Jones had all day to throw on fourth-and-3, but his deep attempt for Hunter Henry down the middle is through a lot of traffic and broken up. The offense comes up short again.
Dolphins Take 20-7 Lead
Can the Patriots drive down the field again? Because the Pats defense just held the Dolphins to another field goal. Jason Sanders is just barely good and Miami now has a 13-point lead.
Mac Jones gets the ball back with another chance to chip away at the lead.
At long last, the Patriots offense is on the board. Ty Montgomery catches a swing pass from Mac Jones and literally rolls into the end zone for the score. It’s now 17-7, Miami.
Big, big drive for the offense, which momentarily looked like it’d been stopped on fourth down. But Xavien Howard got flagged for a penalty to give the Pats a fresh set of downs, and Mac Jones cashed in on the golden opportunity.
It was about to be a quiet half for both offenses. Then Tua Tagovailoa hit Jaylen Waddle over the middle on fourth down in the final minute, and Waddle broke free for a 42-yard touchdown catch-and-run. Two devastating plays have the Dolphins up three possessions at the half.
Defense has been the name of the game for both teams. The Dolphins have the two biggest plays to their credit, a strip-sack and scoop & score that put them up 10-0 at the time, then a last-minute touchdown that put them up 17-0 right before halftime.
The Patriots offense, after months of scrutiny, have had an up-and-down day, to put it nicely. If not for the Dolphins’ defensive touchdown, it would simply be a quiet day marked by struggles on early downs after a promising start for the run game. Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor have made big plays in the passing game, but it seems that both teams are disrupting things with their defensive fronts.
Defensively, the Patriots had a strong first half overall, but it got marred badly by an ugly breakdown in the final minute of the second quarter, allowing a fourth-down TD to Jaylen Waddle with just 18 seconds to go in the second quarter.
Yikes. Miami’s Brandon Jones gets in untouched on a blind side blitz and knocks the ball away from Mac Jones, leading to a scoop & score for linebacker Melvin Ingram. The Dolphins now have a 10-0 lead.
The Pats officially have to play catch-up after the massive swing. Turnovers have completely killed what’s otherwise been a decent first half for the Patriots offense, who have nothing to show for the positive plays they’ve made.
Once again, the Patriots were able to make a few positive plays, but the Dolphins defense came up with enough key plays to stop them. Nelson Agholor picked up a great first down on a screen on third-and-long, but on the ensuing series, Mac Jones took a sack on first down then Ty Montgomery got tackled for a two-yard loss on second down. Third-and-long was complete to Hunter Henry, but behind the sticks.
Patriots punt. Tua and the Dolphins get the ball back with a chance to extend their lead.
Dolphins Take 3-0 Lead
Miami has scored first after a promising drive of their own stalled out. Deatrich Wise flat-out beat the Miami O-line off the edge to pressure Tua Tagovailoa, who lost the football. A teammate was able to cover the ball, though, and salvage the field goal attempt.
Pats will get the ball back hoping to finish a drive after their first one ended poorly.
The Patriots offense looked like it was on its way to an excellent opening drive, but a deep attempt for DeVante Parker is batted in the air by Xavien Howard, and reeled in for the interception by Jevon Holland. Hopefully the Pats can rebound from that disappointing end to the drive, because they were looking terrific before that, moving the chains with four first downs and spreading the ball around.
Looked like Howard got away with blatant pass interference on the play. Oh well.
Dolphins Win Toss and Defer, and We’re Underway
The Dolphins won the coin toss and deferred their choice to the second half. The Patriots offense will start the game off. Here we go.
Jahlani Tavai Set For Big Role
According to multiple reports out of Miami, linebacker Jahlani Tavai is lining up opposite Matthew Judon on the edge in a 3-4 alignment for the Patriots defense. This comes after the surprising news that Anfernee Jennings, who looked primed for a key role after a solid summer, was named to the inactive list.
If Tavai gets burned by the Dolphins offense in this game, this move by Bill Belichick will be easy to second-guess. But it’s not terribly shocking that they’re showing a lot of trust in Tavai, because they often had him on the field with the starters late in the preseason.
Inactives: Jennings Out, Montgomery In
Aug 19, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Ty Montgomery (14) runs the ball during the first half of a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots have released their inactive players for the first time in the 2022 season. There’s one moderate-to-large surprise in here, and that’s linebacker Anfernee Jennings. He seemed like he was set to play a significant rotational role in the Pats’ defensive front-seven.
The other inactives are not surprising: QB Bailey Zappe, DB Joshuah Bledsoe, CB Shaun Wade, RB Pierre Strong, OL Chasen Hines, and DL Sam Roberts.
Pleasantly surprising, however, is that running back Ty Montgomery (ankle) is active, after it was previously reported that he wasn’t expected to play against Miami. But Montomgery, along with tackle Isaiah Wynn (back) and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (knee)
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. You can also email him at email@example.com.
Click here for complete New England Patriots coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.