The Patriots have had already a handful of impressive victories, including last week against the Jets, but this game takes the cake for most impressive victory of the season yet. The Patriots dominated on all three phases of the game for all 60 minutes. There were still some concerns with the team due to penalties messing up the offensive rhythm in the first half, which kept Miami in the game until the middle of the 3rd quarter. This game was reminiscent of your typical Thursday Night Football game with penalties, busted coverages, and some ugly plays. The Patriots looked well-prepared and out-executed the Dolphins, who looked like a lost team, despite having very little practice time.
Offense: The Patriots offense opened up with an 80-yard opening drive. They were able to quickly establish the run game with LeGarrette Blount up the middle, which set up a play-action pass to a wide open Rob Gronkowski against a zone defense. Gronk then turned on the jets and aided a terrific down field block by Brandon LaFell, was able to scamper into the end zone to establish the tone early. For the rest of the first half, the Patriots beat themselves with dumb penalties and poor pass protection on the edge. The Patriots defense kept the Miami offense at bay, which allowed the Patriots to regroup and put together a drive to end the first half. Thanks to great starting position, the Patriots marched down the field with terrific grabs by Gronk, Julian Edelman, and LaFell to put the Patriots in the Red Zone. After a questionable Gronk OPI call, Brady found a wide open Dion Lewis who the Dolphins completely forgot about for an easy walk-in touchdown. That Was a huge touchdown that put the Dolphins in an insurmountable hole. In the 2nd half, the Patriots cleaned up and tore apart the Miami defense. The Patriots put the game away with two Julian Edelman touchdowns, each one being an impressive athletic feat of Edelman reaching across the stripe. Overall, Brady threw for over 300 yards and 4 TD and the offense averaging 2.83 (34/12) PPD, 6.6 (437/66) YPP, and scored on 50% (6/12) of their drives. That's good.
Defense: The defense had its best game of the year. They held Lamar Miller to 15 yards on 9 carries, shutting down the Miami running game. In addition, they attacked Ryan Tannehill with numerous pressures, sending even Devin McCourty on a blitz. The Patriots were able to harrass Tannehill all game, which yielded 5 sacks and 2 interceptions. With Miami trailing from the get-go, they were never able to get comfortable and establish their offense. The defense yielded 0.46 PPD (7/13), 4.4 YPP (270/62), and allowed a score on only 7.7% of their drives (1/13). In addition, the Patriots held Miami to 2/11 on 3rd down, 1/2 on 4th down, and 1/2 in the Red Zone. That's a dominant performance.
Special Teams: This was a phenomenal performance by the Patriots 4th down unit. Ryan Allen pinned Miami inside the 10 yard line 3 times and inside the 20 4 times. The Patriots coverage unit rewarded their punter's solid effort by holding Jarvis Landry to 9 punt return yards on 4 attempts. Gostkowski was money again, breaking the Patriots record for consecutive FG attempts. One of his kicks broke the laws of physics, kicking a back-door slider for Strike 3. The Patriots had great field position all night and put Miami in the shadow of their end zone. Outside of a Landry 50-yard kick return, it was a near perfect game by the 2nd unit.
Overall, it was a terrific performance by the Patriots. Their top rated offense and special teams units continued to show why they're the best and the defense took some major steps forward. The Patriots will have an extra 3 days to rest this weekend as they get ready to prepare for the 3-4 Redskins, who are coming off their own bye. At 7-0, the Patriots are in strong shape, but still need approximately 6 more wins to achieve Home Field Advantage. As far as the Patriots are concerned, it's rest up then "We're on to Washington".