The New England Patriots received the opening kick off and didn’t look back. If you missed the first half of this game, then, man, you just missed the equivalent to the birth of your child named Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo is now a supernova. He’s exploded. Three drives, three touchdowns, no fear, no hesitation. But then he hurt his right shoulder late in the second quarter and went to the locker room. Let’s hope he’s okay.
Check out the first two strikes here. Here was this third:
Garoppolo has had full command of the offense as he’s completed passes to Julian Edelman, Danny Amenola, Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, and D.J. Foster. Three of his four incompletions have been directed at James White or Matthew Slater.
When the Dolphins finally forced the Patriots to punt, it felt like the offense was still working in the laboratory. Cameron Fleming was in for Nate Solder at left tackle. Shaq Mason was back in for Ted Karras. There was no fear.
When the Patriots got the ball back, the Patriots moved back on the Dolphins side of the field, but a Danny Amendola fumble handed the ball right back to Miami.
And then the Dolphins fumbled it right back. Garoppolo injured his throwing shoulder on the subsequent drive and handed the offense off to Jacoby Brissett. The drive, unsurprisingly, stalled and Stephen Gostkowski connected on a field goal to make the score 24-0.
As for the Dolphins offense, well...this sums up their first half:
Landry just punched Justin Coleman in the face. No flag. Interesting— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) September 18, 2016
Miami has 9 carries for 33 yards and Arian Foster is questionable to return with a groin injury. Ryan Tannehill is 5 for 11 for 52 yards and an interception. They’ve looked worse that this statline since Tannehill only managed to pick up yards when the Patriots were in prevent defense. The Dolphins kicked a field goal right before the half.
Malcolm Butler has done a good job shadowing Jarvis Landry, while Justin Coleman has been glue to Kenny Stills. Logan Ryan has prevented Devante Parker from producing anything at all, and forced the fumble on Landry.
The Patriots need LeGarrette Blount to be more productive on the ground (outside of a 10 yard run, Blount has 10 yards on 8 carries) to take pressure off rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Hopefully Garoppolo can return and find his rhythm. Regardless, the Patriots need to get Chris Hogan involved again and the other receivers (read: Julian Edelman) need to stop dropping the ball, literally.
The Patriots lead 24-3. Dolphins get the ball out of halftime.