The (9-3) New England Patriots are on the road to face the (6-6) Miami Dolphins in a hat-and-t-shirt game for New England. A Patriots victory would secure the AFC East for the tenth-consecutive season, an absolutely incredible feat.
Standing in their way is a Dolphins team that’s 5-1 at home and has historically given the Patriots troubles in Miami. Can Tom Brady and company overcome their past struggles? We’ll find out!
Pats Pulpit Live: Week 14 Patriots at Dolphins Preview
Hey Patriots Nation -- Check out Brian Phillips' Pats Pulpit Live: Week 14 preview as New England rolls into Miami to take on the Dolphins this Sunday!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Thursday, December 6, 2018
Date: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens FL
SB Nation affiliate: The Phinsider
TV: CBS, with Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (color commentary) and Evan Washburn (sideline):
Early Games Rooting Guide
Saints at Buccaneers: This game doesn’t matter to the Patriots, but might as well root for the Buccaneers to lose so they might finish the year with a worse record than the Bills or Jets for the sake of draft position.
Giants at Washington: This game doesn’t matter to the Patriots, but might as well root for the Giants to lose so they might finish the season with a worse record than the Bills or Jets for the sake of draft position.
Game day inactives: Danny Shelton a healthy scratch for the second straight week.
The New England Patriots lost the opening coin toss and the Miami Dolphins elected to receive the ball. The Patriots will get the ball to start the second half.
The Patriots received the opening kickoff and led a long, methodical drive to start the game. Tom Brady found Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman for 16 yards and 17 yards on the first two plays and then Sony Michel ground his way towards the goal line. James Develin plunged in for a score and a 6-0 lead as Stephen Gostkowski doinked the extra point off the right upright.
Patriots offense: Brady / Michel / Gordon-Edelman-Patterson / Gronk— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) December 9, 2018
The Dolphins responded with a quick drive of their own. Ryan Tannehill connected with Devante Parker for 15 yards, Tannehill scrambled for 13 yards, Frank Gore ran for 36 yards, and then Tannehill found Kenny Stills for a 7-yard touchdown and a 7-6 lead.
Patriots defense: Hightower-Brown-Guy-Flowers / Roberts-Van Noy / Harmon-McCourty / GIlmore-McCourty-Jackson— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) December 9, 2018
The Patriots went three-and-out on their next drive, with Rex Burkhead gaining three yards on a swing pass from Brady, Rob Gronkowski picking up six yards on second down, and then Burkhead losing two yards on third-and-1 as Trent Brown whiffed on a block against Kiko Alonso. Gronkowski still looks a little lumbering. Hopefully the Patriots will settle down.
The New England defense bounced back with an excellent series of their own. Stephon Gilmore nearly had a pick-six and Dont’a Hightower demolished Tannehill for a third down sack to force a punt. Albert McClellan blocked the punt and Ramon Humber caught the ball to give New England the ball on the 18-yard line. The Patriots special teams had struggled all year and McClellan and Humber were recent additions to try and provide a boost. Consider that a success!
Brady connected with Edelman for ten yards to set up first and goal and Michel ran for 4 yards, setting up New England for second-and-goal from the three yard line to start the second quarter.
The Patriots tried the toss sweep to Edelman to start the second quarter, but the Dolphins sniffed it out for little gain (why wasn’t that to Cordarrelle Patterson?). But Brady threw a touchdown pass to Julian Edelman on the next play on a whip route for a 13-7 lead. That was Brady’s 580th career touchdown pass (regular + postseason), surpassing Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history.
Ouch. That’s not good. Tannehill found Stills for 21 yards to start the drive and then Brandon Bolden (!!!!!!!!!!!) ran 54 yards for a touchdown to give Miami a 14-13 lead. Miami has 150 offensive yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 plays. This is #NotGood, especially for the Patriots rushing defense.
Patriots run defense over the past two weeks:— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) December 9, 2018
19 rushes against, 211 yards (11.1 YPC), 1 touchdown
Danny Shelton a healthy scratch. Guys. Not a rocket scientist, but I wonder if that's related.
Is this going to be a high-scoring game? Tom Brady and the Patriots offense responded with a strong drive with 17 yards by Gronkowski, 16 yards by Edelman, and then a beautiful 37-yard rainbow throw to Patterson for a touchdown and 20-14 lead.
Kenny Stills is destroying Jason McCourty at every turn, with a 43-yard reception to start the Dolphins’ drive and a subsequent 10-yard gain to get into the red zone. Stills has 4 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Kenyan Drake picked up 10 yards on the ground and Bolden finished with a 6-yard run and a 21-20 lead.
Holy moly. Tom Brady is incredible today. Brady found Josh Gordon for 18 yards to start the drive, Edelman for 20 yards to get into Dolphins territory, and then Gronkowski on back-to-back passes for 31 yards and a touchdown for a 27-21 lead. Brady is now 16 of 20 (80.0%) for 212 yards and 3 touchowns. Edelman (7 for 70 and a touchdown), Gronkowski (4 for 54 and a touchdown), Patterson (2 for 51 and a touchdown), and Gordon (2 for 34) have carried the offense, while Sony Michel (10 carries for 30 yards) has helped out, too.
And the defense put together another solid effort, forcing a three-and-out, thanks to a huge sack by Kyle Van Noy (and technically and officially split by Jonathan Jones) to force a fourth-and-12 at the two-minute warning. The Patriots received the punt and will try to run a two-minute drill from their own 20-yard line with 1:51 left in the half.
Well, that’s certainly not what the offense wanted to do. The Patriots went three-and-out and had to punt the ball back to Miami with 61 seconds left in the half and two timeouts. The Dolphins will start their drive on the 32-yard line. Miami is hoping to score and then get the ball to start the second half.
OUCH! Ryan Tannehill’s own right tackle stepped on his ankle on first down, giving Adam Butler an easy sack. Brock Osweiler is the back-up if Tannehill can’t shake off the injury by the second half. Kenyan Drake ran for -2 yards to set up third-and-19 and then Trey Flowers sacked Osweiler for -6 yards. The Patriots used two timeouts to stop the clock and try and get one more opportunity to score before the half- and McClellan blocked another punt and will start their next drive on the Dolphins’ 15-yard line.
Brady found Gronkowski for 13 yards to the 2-yard line before New England called their final timeout with 21 seconds left in the half, giving the offense a few opportunities to score. Honestly, every single hit on Gronkowski makes me feel like the tight end’s body will explode into a million pieces. Brady threw the first pass incomplete out of the back of the end zone and then the second pass too high for a wide open Chris Hogan, setting up third-and-2 with 14 seconds left. Unfortunately, Tom Brady ate an ugly sack on third down and New England walked away with zero points. What a disappointing end to the half.
First half TL;DR: Games in Miami are weird.
Ryan Tannehill is hobbling on his injured ankle, but he appears to be the Dolphins quarterback for the second half. The Dolphins started their drive with a Frank Gore fumble, courtesy of a Trey Flowers forced fumble, but Miami recovered the ball out from underneath Lawrence Guy’s butt. Kenyan Drake picked up a first down, but a penalty against the Dolphins set up a first-and-20 from the Miami 29-yard line. Tannehill threw incomplete to Parker (Stephon Gilmore’s having another great game) and then Adam Butler tackled Drake for a 4-yard loss to set up third-and-24. Danny Amendola caught his first pass of the day for 10 yards, but the Dolphins had to punt the ball back to New England. Great job by the Patriots defense.
Tom Brady and company started from their own 22-yard line. Sony Michel gained 13 yards on the ground and Josh Gordon picked up 29 through the air, but Stephen Gostkowski continued his tough day and missed a 42-yard field goal wide, giving Miami great field position.
And that’s a great response by the Dolphins. Frank Gore gained 40 yards on two plays and then Tannehill connected with Brice Butler on a 23-yard post pattern in front of Gilmore for a touchdown and a 28-27 lead. The Patriots have left between 7-to-11 points on the field due to poor play. Gross.
Gronkowski had his first play in a while that looked like vintage Gronkowski when he bounced off Minkah Fitzpatrick and gained a first down. Brady was sacked on the final play of the third quarter as the Patriots will have to punt back to Miami to start the fourth quarter.
Ryan Allen did a great job of pinning the Dolphins on the 8-yard line, but a pair of Gore runs gained 14 yards and Stills picked up 13 yards with Devin McCourty in coverage. An offensive pass interference call pushed Miami back ten yards, but Stills gained most of the yards back with J.C. Jackson in coverage to set up third-and-one. John Simon came tearing around the end to sack Tannehill and get the ball back for the Patriots offense on the 31-yard line.
Brady found Gordon on the first play of the drive for 21 yards to get into Miami territory. Gronkowski gained 16 yards to get into the red zone, but the offense couldn’t get anything else and had to settle for a field goal and a 30-28 lead. The Patriots defense needs to make one more big stop this game.
Kenny Stills gained 12 yards with Devin McCourty in coverage (interesting match-up choice) to start the Miami drive. Frank Gore gained 4 yards on first down and 2 yards on second down to set up third-and-4 before calling their first timeout of the second half. The Patriots defense held, with Duron Harmon almost collecting an interception, and forced a punt to start their next drive on the 27-yard line.
Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for a crucial third down conversion and Josh Gordon picked up a first down to get to midfield and the two-minute warning. A defensive pass interference call brought the Patriots to the 6-yard line to effectively end the game. The Patriots simply ran out the clock and Stephen Gostkowski it a 22-yard field goal to take a 33-28 lead.
WOW. Ryan Tannehill threw to Kenny Stills at midfield, who tossed a lateral to Devante Parker, who tossed it over to Kenyan Drake, who ran 50 yards for a touchdown as the Dolphins won 34-33. What a disaster for New England. Looks like Gostkowski’s missed extra point and missed field goal and Brady’s poor decisions at the end of the first half came back to bite them.
Use this as the open thread for discussion!
Welp -- here goes nothing. Welcome to the Pats Pulpit Live Postgame Show!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, December 9, 2018