The Patriots grounded away the Dolphins in the fourth using mostly their run game and their defense to get the job done and win the AFC East. Tom Brady was off all game long, not having a MVP type game at all like I thought he was going to against the 26th ranked pass defense. Tom Brady and the Patriots though have always struggled at Sun Life Stadium in the month of December, but with this win it also gives Tom Brady his first win in December at Miami. I’m not going to be too hard on Tom Brady considering he is having an amazing season over all and without him New England wouldn’t have a shot in the world for the playoffs not even for the AFC East title, he is that important to this team. Brady seem to be focused on going to Aaron Hernandez a lot in this game even forcing a throw to Hernandez that was picked off by Miami along with throwing a lot to Wes Welker. Brady wasn’t looking to spread the ball around in this game at all and he really should have been because sometimes they just wasn’t open. The play calling was suspect too, with the play call to throw from the two yard line instead of having Ridley run it in, it was Brady popping up and throwing to Hernandez which was incomplete and on the next play Ridley got in, but of course McDaniel’s thought I’m sure it would work if we tried that again later on in the game and Brady takes the sack and New England settles for a field goal. When your that close Ridley should be able to get the ball into the endzone or heck a QB sneak which Brady is brilliant at will work most of the time but the Patriots do however miss Gronkowski in the redzone, the big body guy who is a nightmare match up for anybody can’t be stopped around the goal line. The Patriots decided to pass almost the whole time without even attempting to really establish a running game, it was like they said oh its the 7th ranked run defense so we are going to pass the whole time. That is not a horrible idea consider their pass defense is suppose to be awful but being balanced is one of the reasons the Patriots have the number one ranked offense in the NFL. The Patriots really loved trying to run wide using the pitch which wasn’t working but that did not discouraged them from continuing to try it out, in the fourth they smashed Miami right in the mouth to ice the game and run the clock. I have a love/hate relationship with McDaniel’s play calling because his play calling hasn’t always been the best. Brady did spot the blitz and check to the exact play to get Welker in the endzone for a touchdown but over all I think Brady and the Patriots once again played down to the level of their opponent. I will say this one last thing though about the offense, in the fourth they did go on a 16 play drive that took over 7 minutes in the fourth and scored a field goal to ice the game and run the clock all the way down with a little over a minute left. That was a championship drive by New England which was missing in the Superbowl against the Giants, a running game that can grind away yards, and clock to ice the win.
Talib had a rough day. There were a few times Talib would turn, and look, and even seem frustrated by his teammates, and confused as to why they wasn’t helping him when the only person Talib should have been throwing his hands up at was his own self. He let a Miami receiver get past him, and he was wide open but Tannehill over threw him, and missed a very easy touchdown, Talib was very lucky on that play, but also Talib was thinking he had safety help when their wasn’t a safety in sight. I don’t know if the safety blew it, or if Talib was trying to have an excuse for getting burnt so bad by a average receiver. Another play later on in the redzone a wide out beat Talib but there was no way he could get both feet in, Talib was stumbling and almost seem lost trying to do something, anything on that play, but it looked very bad. Talib is good no doubt about it, but today’s game was forgettable for him. He better be much better next week when the Houston Texans come to play.
Wilfork and Trevor Scott had a day to remember. Wilfork is the best nose tackle in the game and the best player on that defensive line. Mr reliable for New England was great in today’s game with a fumble recovered while Scott had two sacks with one being a strip sack. Scott stepped in for Jermaine Cunningham who is suspended for four games and Scott did a great job. Justin Francis however wasn’t as good in his time on the field letting Bush by for a big pickup. Spikes’s nickname should be Baine, he is scary good against the run and he is very physical, and over all he is just one bad man, and Mayo who had a sack in this game is so good in the pass rush along with Hightower, when the Patriots blitz it works most of the time, and I think that is a big difference from last year’s New England team to this one.
Julian Edelman was seen after the game wearing a walking boot and, on crutches, stop me if you have heard this before during this season, Julian Edelman is hurt. Yeah same story different game, Edelman is having a great season when he is out there playing, but against the Ravens he had hurt his hand, and had to miss a few weeks. He comes back does great against the Colts and Jets which in the Jets game he suffered a concussion but was able to play in this game due to having a little over a week to get over it, and then in this game versus the Dolphins he gets hurt again. Edelman is good, he has added another weapon but with the Texans coming in the Patriots can’t afford to lose another important player because then it leaves only Welker, Hernandez, and Lloyd to throw too which sounds like a lot, but Lloyd hasn’t done much this season. I’m wary if the Patriots can beat the Texans with all the injuries they have, but if the offensive line blocks JJ Watt and Brady gets the ball out quick the Patriots will be fine. People were thinking at the beginning of the season the Patriots were trying to phase out Welker for Julian but there is no replacing Welker with Edelman especially when Edelman is injury prone, and its actually quiet annoying. Edelman however wasn’t having much effect on the game though considering Brady was only looking to Hernandez and Welker all game long.
Brandon Lloyd. I was thinking the Patriots were looking every week to get him more involved but today it looked like the Patriots were trying to phase him out considering he was only thrown to once, and he caught the one pass tossed his way. I’m not sure if he is not getting open or what but this has been a very disappointing season for a guy everyone had high hopes for including the Patriots. McDaniel’s really wanted to bring in Lloyd so the question I have is why isn’t he using Lloyd to go deep? We have enough slot receivers on the team, that is actually all we have right now, slot receivers who run routes, what we need is a guy who can go deep and give us that dimension the Patriots have been missing since Moss departed. It would take a lot of pressure and coverages away from Welker, and the tightends. Mcdaniels, and New England haven’t used his strengths much except for a few times. Lloyd strength is he has ballerina toes, his footwork is beyond incredible, and he can make some incredible sideline catches, but New England has only use Lloyd and the sideline footwork a few times this season including his only catch in this game, and they haven’t used his excellent footwork in the redzone when it can be beneficial because Lloyd can use the side line of the endzone to his advantage by stretching out and making the catch and dragging his feet in bounds for unstoppable scores. I don’t know who to blame for what is happening with Lloyd, but I’m not interested in another slot route runner on this team, if it is his fault I don’t want him back for next year then, but I think this is going both ways.
This game is not to be used as a measuring stick of where the Patriots are at because the Patriots were going against a bad team who they struggle with for some reason in the month of December. The Patriots have problems there is no doubt about that, but they are playing good football shorthanded due to injuries, and when they play the Texans the Patriots are going to have to step it up in a big way even with the injuries that are plaguing this team. The Player of this game on defense is Vince Wilfork and on offense is Steven Ridley and the reason for the Ridley pick is because he smashed the Dolphins in the fourth quarter to ice the game and for the Patriots which gave them the AFC East.