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Patriots-Dolphins recap: New England sloppy, still blows out Miami with 35-17 final score

New England can’t be stopped.

The New England Patriots led the Miami Dolphins 21-10 after a sloppy first half and their sloppy play extended into the second half. It didn’t matter as the Patriots outscored the Dolphins over the final two quarters 14-7 and won 35-17.

The Patriots defense opened up the second half with a quick three-and-out against the Dolphins and gave the ball back to Tom Brady and the New England offense. Brady led the Patriots 77 yards on 7 plays and capped it off with a 15-yard touchdown to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who set the franchise record with 16 multiple-score games. New England took a 28-10 lead and neither team felt like playing at a quality level for the rest of the game.

The Dolphins fumbled away their next drive, setting up withe Patriots on the Dolphins 45-yard line, but after 5 plays and just 6 yards, New England eschewed a 56-yard field goal attempt in favor of punting the ball back to the Dolphins. Miami led another three-and-out and punted from their own 10-yard line.

The Patriots started their next drive on the Dolphins 46-yard line and marched to the Miami 25-yard line, but decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 instead of chipping a 42-yard attempt. Back-up center Ted Karras was blown back in the short-yardage play and the Dolphins stopped the New England drive.

Miami responded with an 8-play, 73-yard drive capped off with a touchdown to close the score to 28-17. The Patriots suffered injury after injury as Miami mounted their comeback, with Trevor Reilly OUT with a head injury; Marquis Flowers sidelined, but returned after a lower leg injury; Trey Flowers QUESTIONABLE with a rib injury; Kyle Van Noy QUESTIONABLE with a leg injury; and LaAdrian Waddle QUESTIONABLE with an ankle injury. This game couldn’t end fast enough.

The Patriots eventually tacked on a 5-yard touchdown shovel pass to Brandin Cooks to take a 35-17 lead, which was ultimately the final score.

New England received balanced contributions from their offense, with Dion Lewis picking up 112 yards on the ground on just 15 carries, his first 100-yard rushing day of his career, Brandin Cooks adding 83 yards and a touchdown, and Rob Gronkowski providing 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tom Brady finished the day with 4 touchdown passes and 1 interception, with a passer rating of 114.1.

The Patriots defense extended their streak of allowing 17 or fewer points to seven-straight games; 7 of the points allowed were the result of a terrible snap by Ted Karras in the first half. The pass rush finally emerged with the defense combining for 7 total sacks. Other than Jarvis Landry racking up 70 yards on 8 catches, no one on the Miami offense ever got into a groove.

New England has won seven straight and sit at 9-2, atop the AFC East and the AFC, at least for another couple hours until the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers. The Patriots are about to embark on a three-game road trip against the Buffalo Bills, Dolphins, and Steelers.