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Patriots vs Dolphins: Different Stories for Different Halves

After a great showing in the first half, the Patriots fell apart in the second half. Here are some facts that stand out.

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots were outscored 23-0 in the second half of Sunday's game, forced to watch a 20-10 halftime lead slip away. Here are some box score statistics that stand out the most.

Tom Brady

First half: 19/29, 65.5%, 187 yards (6.4 YPA), 1 TD, 95.0 passer rating. 0 Sacks.

Second half: 10/27, 37.0%, 62 yards (2.3 YPA), 0 TD, 45.4 passer rating. 4 Sacks.

Brady's second half ranked 29th out of 32 with respect to passer rating. His completion rating and yards per attempt ranked 32nd (Peyton Manning ranked 31st in completion rating). Aaron Rodgers ranked 24th in second half passer rating, while Drew Brees (26th) and Peyton (27th) didn't fare much better.

The Patriots warped their play calling in the second half, shifting from 29 passing plays to 14 rushing plays in the first half to a 31:6 ratio in the second half.

Most striking: Brady was 17/24 on short passes (less than 15 yards), or 71%, in the first half. He was 10/15 in the second half, or 67%. Not too different. He was 2/5 on deep passes in the first half. That escalates to 0/12 in the second half.

He didn't complete any of his deep passes in the second half. That's some poor play calling.

Brandon LaFell

Six targets. Zero receptions. Five in the second half. All on deep throws.

Julian Edelman

Eight targets. Six receptions. One target in the second half, on a deep throw on 3rd and 9.

Brady completed roughly 70% of his short passes, compared to 12% of his deep passes. Why was Edelman not manufactured more opportunities in the second half?

Rob Gronkowski

11 targets, none in the third quarter.

Conversion Downs

The Patriots had 17 3rd down attempts and 4 4th down attempts. 13 required six or more yards for a first down. The Patriots converted seven of these attempts. Brady was sacked twice.

The offense ran six times and converted four. The two non-conversinos were on 3rd and 29 and 3rd and 10; Shane Vereen picked up nince yards on 3rd and 10 and Brady converted the sneak for a first on the next play.

Including sacks, the offense was 3/15 on passing conversions. Four attempts were to Gronk (1/4), three attempts were to Edelman (1/3), three attempts were to Kenbrell Thompkins (0/3), ane one for Tim Wright (1/1), Brandon LaFell (0/1), and Danny Amendola (0/1).

The team was 4/8 for conversions in the first half and 3/13 in the second half. All three second half conversions were on the Patriots final drive.

Starting Drives

The Patriots averaged 4.7 yards gained on first down in the first half. They averaged 1.4 yards on first down in the second half. This set up the offense in some terrible second down situations- spiking from 6.25 yards to go on second down in the first half to 10.25 yards to go in the second.

Yes, if you include penalties, the Patriots were moving backwards in the second half.

Running the ball

I incorrectly spouted that the outside zone was less effective than the inside zone. The team had success in the second half, but a big gain by Stevan Ridley was taken back due to a penalty.

In reality, the team just didn't run the ball. Some of the uglier plays were in the outside zone, but it's likely those stick out due to their extended nature.

If you compare the three running backs, the combined 12 carries for 40 yards (3.33 YPC) and a touchdown in the first half, versus 5 carries for 25 yards (5.00 YPC) in the second half. You could point to the YPC as a sign of improvement, but a few goal line carries in the first half reduced their rate.

Stopping the Run

The Dolphins adjusted well to the Patriots weak run defense in the second half. In the first half, the Dolphins ran on just 4 of their 14 first downs. In the second half, they ran on 14 of their 18 first downs.

It's a case of the team adjusting to what the opposing defense was offering. The Dolphins were able to pick up easy yardage on first down- averaging 6 yards per carry on first down- to set up easier second downs.


On both offense and defense, the Patriots underperformed in the second half. Adjustments and usage will be in focus as the Patriots face the Vikings next week.