Today looked to be a dead fish game for the Patriots who showed no signs of life from the first quarter to the fourth.
The Pats were injured, battered and bruised coming into this game and played like it. Bad news, this 20-10 loss to the Miami makes way for Denver to clinch the number one overall seed with a win. Good news, the Pats will get a much needed bye week regardless of today. This team needs a break, a week off, and more time to get healthy.
The game was another day for the OL to play some awful football, and another day of no running game, and no wide receivers who can get open. The Patriots were very conservative, running way more in the first half than throwing, but they had to be. The wide outs are not very good without Edelman, too many players injured, and a bad offensive line that allowed way too many hits on the QB, so there wasn’t much they could do even if they wanted to. Brady was hit way too often and Miami was hitting Brady as hard as they could. In the first half, Brady was rocked and snapped back by a low hit from Suh, which caused the four time Super Bowl Champion to limp off the field but he did play on, so I’m guessing he’s fine. In the 2nd half, Olivier Vernon knocked Brady to the ground after a pass, drawing a personal foul. It was an ugly game from the offense, but one to be expected. The lone touchdown was a Steven Jackson 2 yard run that was set up by a 68 yard catch and run by James White.
The defense was up and down. They held their own in the first half, only allowing 10 points, but staggered a little bit in the second half, allowing ten more points, and too many big plays. The Pats still had a chance to tie things late in the game if the defense could get off the field and they could not. They allowed Ryan Tannehill to run for a first down on a third and long which extended the drive and wasted the clock. Ninkovich overpursued Tannehill and Sheard missed on a tackle, one reason why I’d worry a bit about playing a Cam Newton in the Super Bowl. They gave up a field goal after the two minute warning to put the Dolphins up 20-10 with around 1:50 seconds left to play, so the Pats shut it down and allowed Garoppolo to finish the game.
It was an ugly game no doubt, but nothing to panic over. The Patriots will still have a bye week, and still play in the postseason, hopefully with a fully healthy team which is the biggest key. The Patriots are a great team and scary when they are fully healthy on both sides of the football, so they will bounce back in the postseason and hopefully get hot in the divisional round and steam roll their next three games. The only thing in question is the OL and how they will play, but hopefully they find themselves just in time for a postseason run.
Don’t count these guys out, not when they are healthy.