The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 17-16 at Gillette Stadium for the 2nd time in the Brian Flores era. Miami won after Xavien Howard forced & recovered a fumble in the Red Zone, and the Dolphins ran down the clock to secure the win.
Here are some rapid takeaways from this afternoon’s game:
- Jaylen Waddle Will be a Contributor Early On: This was apparent in the preseason outing against the Falcons, but seeing him perform in the regular season is a whole different beast. He contributed 4 catches for 61 yards and a score. Waddle was a dynamic playmaker in his time in Alabama and showed no issues adjusting to the NFL game, aside from a bad drop on 3rd down, which he would later make up for.
- Up and Down Performance from Tua: Tua had a mediocre game against the Patriots; he was great in both opening drives of each half and pretty poor afterward. He was let down by several key drops, but a late interception down the stretch nearly cost Miami the game.
- Offensive Line Struggles: Miami had some success running the football, as Myles Gaskin averaged 5.4 yards per carry, but that was only on limited carries. There were a few instances where Tua was able to hold onto the ball and look deep, which led to 2 deep completions to Parker & Waddle. Aside from those 2 instances, Tua was constantly under duress, and Miami could never truly gain any rhythm offensively because of it. Tua was sacked twice and hit 4 times (one of those led to a bad interception.)
- Mediocre Run Defense: The Dolphins run game defense struggled, as Damien Harris totaled 100 yards during the game. It got better as the game went along, but the absence of Raekwon Davis early on was really damaging to the team.
- Lack of Defensive Adjustments: Miami was seemingly set on allowing New England to have every dump-off pass they wanted to, as Mac Jones got the ball out quickly all game. Very rarely did Miami press up, and when Miami gave the Patriots’ receivers a cushion, they constantly took advantage of it.
- Xavien Howard Coming Up Big: This is nothing new to Dolphin fans; whenever Miami needs a big play defensively, Xavien usually shows up. Usually, it comes through an interception, but he was rarely targeted this afternoon, so he instead forced and recovered a fumble giving Miami the ball back late in the 4th quarter.
- Lack of Albert Wilson & Mike Gesicki. Gesicki & Wilson were targeted a combined total of 3 times and caught zero balls. Wilson was targeted on a deep route into the endzone, where Jalen Mills made a great play on the Football. Gesicki was targeted on a go route, which was well defended, and on an RPO. Both were figured to be a bigger part of the game plan going in, and with Will Fuller coming back next week, it’ll be interesting to see how much Wilson is involved going forward.