Week 1 was a disappointment for the Miami Dolphins as they got beat by hated division rival the New England Patriots 21-11. The Dolphins made a lot of upgrades in free agency and the draft this offseason to improve their team, while the Patriots let their great quarterback Tom Brady go and the team lost players to free agency or the players opting out due to the COVID pandemic. However, on Sunday things looked the same as the Patriots won with their new quarterback Cam Newton and the Dolphins struggled as they were beaten worse than what the score indicated.

With no true offseason and preseason, the Dolphins have the youngest roster in the NFL and with so many new faces it’s evident they need a lot more time to gel as a team. The Dolphins added so many pieces on their defense but got pushed around by the Patriots as they ran for over 200 yards. Maybe the players are getting used to playing with one another or getting used to the system. The bottom line is the Dolphins are going to need more time to get better. To compound matters, the Dolphins went up against the Patriots with their new quarterback who has been bothered by injuries the last two years. Honestly, no one knew what to expect from Newton on Sunday. The Dolphins haven’t faced the Patriots with a quarterback that can run and pass like Newton and really probably didn’t know what to expect because it’s a new offensive look for the Patriots after having Brady for 20 years. Newton looked like his old self running the read-option plays and fooling the Dolphins defense. The Dolphins had no answers for Newton and the Patriots offense.

One of the things that made me nervous about this game wasn’t just the Newton factor, but despite all of the changes to the Patriots roster they still have the best secondary in the league and their entire offensive line returned. The Patriots offensive line gets overlooked a lot, but if you are going to beat the Patriots you have to win in the trenches against their offensive line. The Dolphins got pushed around all day long and couldn’t make the key stops when they had to.

On offense, they struggled to move the ball with consistency, especially in the 2nd half. The offensive line which has 4 new starters including two rookies did a good job not getting pushed around. They gave quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick time to throw and only allowed 1 sack the whole game. While the running game was not existent, it probably didn’t help the Dolphins were rotating a lot of their running backs so no one got into a rhythm. I expect the offensive line to continue to get better with each week and it’s no small feat to hold your own against the Patriots especially with two rookies starting their first NFL game.

Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t have a good game as he threw 3 interceptions in critical moments before the end of the first half and at the end of the game. There will be a lot of people calling for the Dolphins to bench Fitzpatrick for rookie Tua Tagovailoa. Look it’s one game and I know Fitzpatrick has never put together back to back good seasons, but he is the leader of this team and after helping the team win 5 games last year in the first year of the rebuilding plan he has earned the right to try to work through a bad game. He should be given at least the first 4 to 6 games and then if he isn’t playing well you could look at making a change, but I keep the rookie on the bench.

Last year on opening day the Dolphins lost by 49 points and it looked like the team might not win a game, but the team got better as the season went along somehow won 5 games including the season finale against the Patriots in Foxborough and people forgot how bad we started the year. Opening day can have bad performances, but teams make adjustments. I remember in 2003 on opening day, the Buffalo Bills crushed the Patriots 31-0 and it looked like the Bills were going to have a great season and the Patriots would stumble. Then both teams met in the season finale and it was the Patriots crushing the Bills 31-0 and they went on to win the Super Bowl while the Bills missed the playoffs and fired their head coach.

Losing week 1 won’t define the Dolphins season. They have a young roster and they are going to have games like last Sunday, but they will get better each week as coach Brian Flores and his staff make the proper adjustments. The next time they play the Patriots I would expect them to play much better. Just like I expect them to play better this Sunday against the Bills in the home opener and beyond.