Dolphins-Patriots Week 15 Recap: Studs, Duds, And What We Learned
The New England Patriots offense struggled mightily through the first half, the Patriots put up 27 points in the second half (24 of which came in the third quarter), thus trouncing the Miami Dolphins 41-13. The Miami Dolphins had their share of missed opportunities and self-inflicting wounds (including a blocked field goal that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown by Kyle Arrington and a dropped touchdown pass by one of the Dolphins receivers), but overall it was a solid victory for the Patriots against a quality NFL team with a very good defense.
Here are some of the studs and duds from today's game:
1. Rob Gronkowski
The Patriots' star tight end amassed 96 yards and one touchdown in this game, despite only catching 3 passes in the game. Fortunately, two of those passes were a 35-yard completion and a 27-yard touchdown catch. Gronkowski currently has 11 touchdowns and more than 1000 receiving yards.
2. Julian Edelman
The 5'10 wide receiver put up another great performance vs. Miami, as he caught 7 passes for 88 yards and 1 touchdown. The wide receiver's value to the Patriots can't be ignored, as he played a huge role in their passing offense.
3. Chandler Jones
After missing several games due to injury, the 3rd year defensive end put up an impressive performance after getting largely shut out the last time he played the Dolphins. Jones recorded 1.5 sacks and registered 2 quarterback hits in this game.
4. Rob Ninkovich
Ninkovich had an impressive performance in this game as well, as he recorded 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, and 3 quarterback hits. Ninkovich has been asked to do a lot this year (as he's even spent time as the Patriots' long snapper), and he was once again showed his importance to the Patriots defense.
5. Jonas Gray
While the running game as a whole was pretty disappointing, one of the few bright spots for that unit was the former undrafted rookie from Notre Dame. He amassed 62 yards on 11 carries against the Dolphins defense.
1. Brandon Browner
Often times be overly-aggressive and a is bit of a lightning rod on the field, this game was not Browner's best showing, as he committed 2 costly penalties (another penalty was negated). The 6'4 cornerback has committed a lot of penalties so far this season, despite having played only 8 games so far.
2. Running Game
Outside of Tom Brady's 18 rushing yards on 3 carries (17 of those yards came on one carry alone), the Patriots' running game amassed just 90 yards on 26 carries. This unit struggled for the second straight week, and it doesn't get any easier next week against the New York Jets' fantastic run defense.
3. Situational football
While it ultimately didn't play a major role in the game's final outcome, the Dolphins were able to take advantage of some awful play-calling by the Patriots near the end of the first half. As a result, the Patriots' decision to run it on three straight plays (and not getting a first down) led to a 32-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace with 5 seconds left to go in the first half. Because of that, boos resounded the stadium as the Patriots headed into the locker room at halftime.
4. Malcolm Butler
The rookie cornerback allowed a 50 yard pass from Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace in the first quarter and the 32-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Wallace right before halftime. Logan Ryan ended up replacing Butler in the second half.