Well, I hope that game buried any sort of concern that New England Patriots fans had about their team. That was a complete game by all three facets of the team and Julian Edelman returns next week.
Here’s what we learned from the team’s 38-7 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Tom Brady needs to stop throwing dumb interceptions
This might be the only negative I’ll highlight. Brady had an otherwise solid day at the office, but he threw two incredibly dumb interceptions that look similar to other dumb interceptions he’s thrown this year. Twice Brady decided to chuck the ball deep down the field into double coverage as a defender was in his face and instead of eating the sack, the Dolphins were rewarded with interceptions.
Brady always has a knack for throwing head-scratching interceptions, whether out of desperation or out of panic, and now he has four interceptions on the season. He hasn’t thrown double-digit interceptions since 2013 and now he’s on pace for a career-high 16. He needs to be smarter with the football.
Sony Michel and James White are going to be fun to watch
The Patriots needed some offense and the running backs delivered. Michel finished the day with 112 hard-earned rushing yards and the first rushing touchdown of his career, while White had 44 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown and 68 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown.
The two backs combined for 224 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns. This is exactly what the team needs out of their backfield every week and the return of Edelman should make it even easier for the team to duplicate their success.
Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon, and Cordarrelle Patterson might all be bigger contributors than Chris Hogan once Edelman returns
Dorsett had 4 catches for 55 yards. Patterson collected a 55-yard touchdown. Gordon made two catches for 32 yards. All three have made their cases to be the #3 or #4 target in the Patriots offense, behind Rob Gronkowski and Edelman (and White as the #3). I would expect Dorsett and Gordon to get the most time on the outside because Dorsett’s been the team’s best receiver over the first four weeks of the season and Gordon has undeniable talent.
But Chris Hogan continued to be quiet. He had 1 catch for 25 yards and it was in the fourth quarter. I expected Hogan to emerge when Edelman was suspended, but it didn’t happen. And Bill Belichick will always play those that earn their time on the field and it’s pretty undeniable that Dorsett has outplayed Hogan and has earned that time. I wouldn’t be shocked if Hogan was relegated to a smaller role moving forward.
Trey Flowers really fixed the entire defense
Is Flowers really the key to the entire defense? He’s certainly making a strong case as New England pitched a shutout with Flowers on the field. After missing the bigger part of the past two games with a concussion, Flowers boosted the New England run defense and pass rush.
While Flowers only had one tackle on the day, his presence and impact was undeniable.
As for the rest of the defensive front seven, Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy looked really good, as did Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton. This defensive unit made a clear improvement.
Jonathan Jones should be the starter opposite of Stephon Gilmore
The Patriots completely shut out Ryan Tannehill and the starting Dolphins offense, holding the Dolphins passer to 100 yards and 1 interception on the day. No Miami receiver was able to get open the entire day, with Kenny Stills leading the team with 40 receiving yards, 11 of which came on their final drive against the Patriots back-ups.
Jonathan Jones has made a strong case all year to start opposite of Stephon Gilmore and his ability to both shut down Kenny Stills and move in and out of the slot against Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson means that he’s the ideal #2 cornerback in the same way that Logan Ryan was the perfect #2 opposite of Malcolm Butler. Gilmore can stay on the outside, while Jones can cover from anywhere.
Jones had 1 pass defended and almost had an interception and led the team with 8 tackles, helping with strong run defense and coverage. He’s earned the job.