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The Top 20 Patriots Moments of 2015: Number 12

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Our offseason countdown continues with the Number 12 Most Memorable Moment of the 2015 Patriots season.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, next Friday is the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend. I have no idea how that happened.

And for my money, I don't think you'll find a day that epitomizes the phrase "lazy Friday" more than that Friday before the unofficial kickoff of summer. Because of that, I really need to buckle down and get some work done today.

Instead, I decided to check another number off the countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2015.

The list so far:

20. In the span of two weeks, the Patriots make two trades to acquire Keshawn Martin and Akiem Hicks.
19. A decision to kick in OT backfires as the Jets beat the Patriots in Week 16.

18.
Otherwordly phenom and greatest player of all time J.J. Watt is held completely ineffective as the Patriots secure a playoff spot against the Houston Texans.
17. Chandler Jones and Akiem Hicks team up for a strip sack touchdown against the Tennessee Titans.

16.
Stopped in the backfield, LeGarrette Blount sheds tacklers and rumbles for a 17 yard gain against the Houston Texans.
15. Danny Amendola and Tom Brady connect for some trickery against the Philadelphia Eagles.
14. The Patriots continue to kick in Rex Ryan's world with a season sweep of the Buffalo Bills.

13
. A pair of James White catch and runs show off some agility, speed, and elusiveness.

As I have done in the past, I have decided to list a full game here, as not only was it a dominant performance, but it came against the team that, every year, seems primed to take New England down.

12. The Patriots absolutely destroy the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.

Every offseason, without fail, Patriots fans are subjected to several articles about the state of the team. One of those articles is usually titled something like "Is Tom Brady's Window Closing?" where journalists make the case that Tommy B is going to experience a big drop in production before he goes on to have another Pro Bowl year. Another article usually opens with something along the lines of "Who is Going To Unseat the Patriots?" where the other three teams in the AFC East are examined and predictions are made as to which one is going to be the team that, finally, takes the division crown away from New England. For a lot of people in 2015, that team was the Miami Dolphins. They had gone out and, in a new and wild change of pace, made a huge splash in free agency and had an offensive and defensive system in place that could potentially challenge New England for supremacy. There may have even been a few writers right here at Pats Pulpit, who shall remain nameless, who predicted the Fins to be 6-0 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East coming into the Week 8 Thursday Night matchup at Foxboro.

However, 6-0 wasn't in the cards, as Miami started the year 1-3 before firing coach Joe Philbin during the Week 5 Bye. Tight ends coach PC Principal Dan Campbell was set to take over in the interim and manage the team as the front office figured out what they were going to do moving forward.

To say that the coaching change sparked something would be an understatement. Miami came tearing out of their bye with a pair of huge wins, a 38-10 shellacking of the Titans followed by a 44-26 beatdown of the Texans. Sub-par teams, sure, but 82 points in two weeks is impressive regardless of who your opponent is. So when they came to New England on October 29th for the first contest against a Patriots team that had barely eked out a home win against the Jets the week before, many were wondering whether the post-bye Dolphins were finally morphing into the team they were supposed to be coming into the season.

Apparently, not so much.

New England didn't just beat Miami; they stomped them into the ground. Tom Brady threw for 356 yards and 4 touchdowns. Gronk had 113 yards and a TD on 6 catches, including a 47 yard catch and run on the first drive of the game that more or less broke Miami's back right off the bat. Julian Edelman had 8a yards and a TD. Dion Lewis had 112 combined yards and a touchdown, including one of the sweetest jukes you'll ever see, and LeGarrette Blount ran for 72 yards. The New England defense forced two picks, sacked Tannehill five times, and registered a safety when confusion and miscommunication saw the ball travel out of the end zone on a 3rd and 10. The Dolphins were completely shut out in the first half and only managed a single touchdown on the day. By the time the final whistle blew, the Patriots were 7-0 with a 36-7 victory. Dan Campbell's coming out party was officially over.

This game represented what was, in my opinion, New England's best offensive performance of the season, and it was the last time that the team was more or less healthy. Lewis would tear his ACL the following week, the team would lose Edelman the week after that, and it was more or less downhill from there. But on October 29th, the rest of the league got a very sour taste of what this team is capable of when firing on all cylinders, and the results were truly something to behold. Looking back at this game now, I can't help but feel a little sad over what could have been...but that's football. To win in the NFL, you need talent, luck, and health, and the latter just wasn't with the team in 2015. What can you do. But the completeness of this game, combined with it coming against the team that was supposed to represent their stiffest AFC East competition, makes it an easy choice at number 12.

Game highlights here.