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Patriots vs. Dolphins stats: Turnovers doom New England, and other takeaways from Week 18

Related: Patriots vs. Dolphins: New England drops final regular season game, loses 33-24 to finish with 10-7 record

NFL: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

With a chance to lock up the fifth playoff seed in the AFC and thus the highest wild card spot in the conference, the New England Patriots put forward a bad performance to end their regular season. The team fell behind 17-0 to the Miami Dolphins and never recovered, eventually losing with a final score of 33-24.

Let’s take a look at some of the early statistics to come out of the contest to see where New England struggled.

Patriots vs. Dolphins: Team statistics

Team statistics

Stat Patriots Bills
Stat Patriots Bills
First downs 20 29
Third down 7-14 (50%) 6-7 (85.7%)
Fourth down 4-4 (100%) 0-0 (0%)
Total net yards 305 482
Net rushing yards 89 174
Net passing yards 216 308
Penalties 5-34 3-47
Turnovers 2 0
Red zone 2-2 (100%) 6-6 (100%)
Goal-to-go 2-2 (100%) 3-3 (100%)
Time of possession 28:35 31:25

The Patriots and Dolphins were relatively even matched in terms of yardage gained, with New England even holding the advantage on a per-play basis. However, New England was unable to overcome its self-inflicted mistakes: the team turned the ball over a total of three times, with two of those — an interception thrown by Mac Jones and a last-second lateral by Jakobi Meyers — returned for touchdowns.

To make matters worse, New England also was flagged eight times for a total loss of 78 yards. Just a lost of bad football one week away from the playoffs.

Patriots individual statistics

Passing statistics

Player Attempts Completions Completion rate Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Sacks Rating EPA/Play
Player Attempts Completions Completion rate Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Sacks Rating EPA/Play
Mac Jones 38 24 63.2% 232 2 2 3-16 75.8 0.17

Mac Jones had another up-and-down game. While he did complete two thirds of his passes for 261 yards and a touchdown to Brandon Bolden, he also was involved in two of the Patriots’ turnovers: the rookie quarterback threw the aforementioned pick-six in the first quarter, and later fumbled a snap to end a potential scoring drive.

Jones did have some positive moments as well, but the turnovers were game-changing plays.

Rushing statistics

Player Carries Yards Average Touchdowns EPA/Play
Player Carries Yards Average Touchdowns EPA/Play
Damien Harris 9 30 3.3 0 -0.26
Rhamondre Stevenson 8 27 3.4 0 0.08
Mac Jones 2 18 9.0 0 N/A
Kendrick Bourne 1 14 14.0 0 0.87

The Patriots’ running game had a productive day against Miami, gaining a total of 134 yards on 27 carries and finding the end zone twice.

The most productive member of the group in terms of average yards gained per carry was rookie Rhamondre Stevenson: he averaged 8.5 yards per attempt. However, Stevenson saw only four carries all day — all of them coming in the third quarter.

Receiving statistics

Player Targets Receptions Yards Average Touchdowns EPA/Play
Player Targets Receptions Yards Average Touchdowns EPA/Play
Jakobi Meyers 9 6 40 6.7 0 0.19
Kendrick Bourne 8 7 77 11.0 2 1.48
Brandon Bolden 6 4 27 6.8 0 -0.08
Rhamondre Stevenson 4 4 33 8.3 0 0.54
Hunter Henry 4 1 30 30.0 0 -0.92
Nelson Agholor 2 1 18 18.0 0 -0.12
Damien Harris 1 1 7 7.0 0 0.42
Jakob Johnson 1 0 0 0.0 0 -0.46

Nelson Agholor’s return after a two-game absence did little to spark New England’s passing attack, with the first-year Patriot himself catching only one 23-yard pass. Mac Jones’ primary targets, meanwhile, were once again Hunter Henry and Jakobi Meyers: the two combined to see 14 of Mac Jones’ 30 pass attempts come their way.

Front seven statistics

Player Tackles Sacks QB hits Interceptions Passes defensed Forced fumbles Recovered fumbles
Player Tackles Sacks QB hits Interceptions Passes defensed Forced fumbles Recovered fumbles
Lawrence Guy 4 0 0 0 1 0 0
Dont'a Hightower 3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kyle Van Noy 3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Deatrich Wise Jr. 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ja'Whaun Bentley 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Christian Barmore 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Matthew Judon 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
Jamie Collins Sr. 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Davon Godchaux 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Daniel Ekuale 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

The Patriots’ front seven had an active day, with Ja’Whaun Bentley leading the way with 17 combined tackles. The unit once again struggled against the run, however, giving up 195 yards and a touchdown on 45 Dolphins attempts.

Miami was able to break runs of 27 and 23 yards in the second half, with the de facto game-clinching first down also earned on a run: Tua Tagovailoa was able to escape the pocket on a 3rd-and-8 to move the chains and drain the clock.

Secondary statistics

Player Tackles Sacks QB hits Interceptions Passes defensed Forced fumbles Recovered fumbles
Player Tackles Sacks QB hits Interceptions Passes defensed Forced fumbles Recovered fumbles
Devin McCourty 8 0 0 0 0 0 0
J.C. Jackson 6 0 0 0 0 0 0
Adrian Phillips 6 0 0 0 0 0 0
Joejuan Williams 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kyle Dugger 4 0 0 0 0 0 0
Myles Bryant 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
D'Angelo Ross 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

The Patriots’ pass defense generally did a good job on Tua Tagovailoa’s 26 dropbacks, holding the Dolphins to a mere 103 net yards on 15 completions. However, the Patriots were able to keep Miami’s QB1 in the pocket in some crucial moments: Tagovailoa gained 35 yards on three scramble attempts, including two that moved the chains on third down.

Kicking statistics

Player Field goals Extra points Punts Gross punt average Net punt average Blocked kicks
Player Field goals Extra points Punts Gross punt average Net punt average Blocked kicks
Nick Folk 1-1 1-1 0 0.0 0.0 0
Jake Bailey 0-0 0-0 3 47.3 29.3 0

The Patriots’ kickers had a solid overall day, which is certainly an improvement considering the team’s struggles in protection so far this year. Nick Folk split the uprights on all four of his attempts, while Jake Bailey averaged 46 yards on his three punts.

Return game statistics

Player Tackles Punt returns Punt return average Punt return touchdowns Kickoff returns Kickoff return average Kickoff return touchdowns
Player Tackles Punt returns Punt return average Punt return touchdowns Kickoff returns Kickoff return average Kickoff return touchdowns
Matthew Slater 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Gunner Olszewski 1 0 0.0 0 5 20.6 0
Brandon King 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Statistically, the Patriots’ special teams unit did have a solid performance. However, it once again made a major mistake. The Dolphins punted in their own territory in the third quarter, but Lawrence Guy was flagged for an illegal formation on 4th-and-1 to keep Miami’s drive alive. Seven plays later, the team scored a field goal to go up 27-10.