Huge win by the Patriots this afternoon in Miami. They didn't have Dillon except for 1 play, their defensive injuries are well documented, Tom Ashworth was out, Dan Kopen missed some time, Daniel Graham didn't play, David Givens didn't play, and quite a few of the men in blue left the field with injuries but most came back.
By the way, Tom Brady is the man. The INT in the 4th quarter was his fault, but he more than made up for that.
The Patriots started the game off with what else? A penalty. Bethel Johnson's long kickoff return was brought back by a holding penalty. The Pats drove nicely. Brady hit Johnson for 6, then Heath Evans ran for 21 up the middle. Brady threw to Troy Brown for 16 more yards. Evans was stuffed for a gain of 1. He then ran to the right for 8. The drive was stopped on 3rd and 1 when Mike Cloud got the handoff and lost a yard. Miller had the first of several great punts, pinning the Dolphins at their 3 yard line.
The Dolphins didn't look too good on their first drive. Brown ran to the right for 2. Frerotte threw incomplete to Chambers down the field. Eugene Wilson could have had an interception but he was interfered with by Chambers. The penalty wasn't called, though. On a broken play, the Dolphins were able to convert a 1st down. They weren't able to get another one, though, and were forced to punt.
The Pats won the special teams battle all day long. They started off with the ball at their 18. The Pats allowed a sack to begin the drive but didn't lose any yardage on the play. Cloud ran around the tackle for 7. Christian Fauria caught his first pass of the season for a gain of 5 to the 30 yard line. Cloud ran for 2. Brady threw and incomplete and was then sacked. There could have easily been a late hit penalty called on Kevin Carter, but it wasn't. Logan Mankins was called for holding and it was declined. Miller punted the ball 54 yards down to the Miami 15. Wes Walker muffed it but recovered at the 10.
The Dolphins looked a little bit better on their 2nd drive. Frerotte passed to Brown for 4 yards. Brown then ran for 3 yards. Booker caught a pass for 9 yards on 3rd and 3. Ricky Williams got his first touch and lost a yard. Frerotte threw incomplete to Chambers twice in a row. On 4th down, the Dolphins punted.
The Pats started on their 12 yard line and weren't able to do much with the ball. Evans had a 4 and a 14 yard run. Brady missed Branch, Cloud lost 3, and then Branch was called for a false start. Tom Ashworth's replacement, Brandon Gorin, was called for another false start. On 3rd and 23 from his 17, Brady hit Branch for 16 yards. Miller had a 48 yard punt.
The Dolphins 3rd drive was even better than their 2nd. Williams ran for 2, McMichael had a 7 yard gain. The Phins then went to a no huddle. Williams ran up the middle for 5 then 2. Frerotte hit Chambers for 12 yards, entering New England territory. Booker then had a 12 yard catch. Williams lost a yard. Frerotte threw an incomplete to Barnes then one to Welker. Olindo Mare tried a 31 yard field goal but missed to the right.
The Pats went 3 and out. Miller kicked a 51 yard punt. The Dolphins were able to move the ball on the exhausted and depleted defense. Booker had a 24 yard reception, Brown ran for 13, Williams for 1. Frerotte hit McMichael for 8, Brown ran for 2, then 2, then 16. On 1st and goal from the 3 yard line, Frerotte hit Chambers for a TD. Chambers might have pushed off but it wasn't called. 7-0 Miami.
The Patriots responded with a 3 and out on offense. They needed a big defensive play BADLY. They got one. On 1st and 10, Frerotte threw to McMichael who got the ball down to our 9 yard line. Roosevelt Colvin forced a fumble. Ellis Hobbs picked it up and ran it to the 15 yard line.
The Patriots haven't been that good this season when it comes to scoring with less than 2:00 on the clock. This time they were able to do something. Heath Evans started the drive with a surprise run for 14 yards. After an incomplete, Evans ran for 3 more. Brady threw to Troy Brown for 15 yards. Fauria caught his 2nd pass of the day for 18 yards. Jason Taylor was called for offside. On 1st and 5 from the Miami 30, Brady missed Brown then hit Branch for 13 yards. With 0:07 on the clock, Vinatieri hit a 35 yarder. 7-3 Miami.
The Dolphins started the 2nd half with a 3 and out. The defense played much better in the 2nd half. Brady threw an interception on the first Patriot drive of the 2nd half. The Dolphins moved the ball into New England territory but were stopped. The Patriots had a big play to start the enxt drive but they stalled near midfield. The Dolphins then went 3 and out.
The back-and-forth between the teams finally ended halfway through the 3rd quarter. Brady threw incomplete to Andre Davis but a pass itnerference call resulted in a 1st and 10 on the Miami 17. Johnson caught a 4 yard pass. Evans was stuffed at the line, and Brady threw incomplete to Brown. Vinatieri kicked a 32 yard field goal. 7-6 Miami.
The Pats got the ball with 5:01 left in the 3rd. Thanks to a poor Miami punt, the Pats started on their 47 yard line. Brady hit Tim Dwight for 3 yards. Evans ran to the right for 3 more. On 3rd and 4, Brady hit Brown for 5 yards and a 1st down. Evans caught a 2 yard pass, then a 5 yarder. On 3rd and 3, Evans ran for 3 yards and a 1st down. Brady missed Branch on 1st and 10 on the Miami 32. He then found Branch for 17. Cloud was stuffed for a loss of 1. On 2nd and 11 from the 16, Brady hit Watson in the end zone for his 2nd carrer touchdown. The 2 point conversion attempt failed. 12-7 Patriots.
I really didn't like the decision to go for 2. Why? It was way too early. Fifteen minutes left in the game. There is quite a bit of scoring possible. Had the Pats settled for 1, they could have had an 8 point lead in the late stages of the 4th quarter, which is MUCH more comfortable than a 7 point lead because it forced the other team to make a 2 point conversion in order to tie.
The Dolphins began the 4th quarter with an interception to Ellis Hobbs. The Pats got the ball on the Miami 23. The drive didn't really go anywhere and the Pats were forced to settle for 3. 15-7 Patriots.
The Dolphins finally got something going. They moved the ball from their 25 all the way down to the New England 16 yard line. The defense stood up though. On 1st and 10 from our 16, Vrabel and McGinist stuffed Williams for a loss of 2. Frerotte missed McMichael twice and the Dolphins settled for a field goal. 15-10 Patriots.
The Patriots got the ball with 8:07 left on their 31. They needed to move the ball, eat some clock, and at the very least pin the Phins back in their own territory with little time on the clock to work with. Instead, Brady made a terrible pass which was intercepted near midfield.
The Dolphins started with the ball on their 44 with 5:09 on the clock. Frerotte threw an incomplete. Then he hit Booker for 6, and then 28. On 1st and 10 from the New England 22, Frerotte missed Booker. Then he hit Chambers for 7 to the 16 yard line. On 3rd and 2, Frerotte fumbled the snap, the Pats defense stayed motionless, Chambers ran his route, Frerotte found the ball, threw, and hit Chambers for a touchdown. The Dolphins failed to convert a 2 pointer. 16-15 Miami.
The Pats got the ball with 2:53 on the clock and only one timeout. On 1st and 10 from the 24, Brady hit Tim Dwight for 59 yards. On the next play, Brady threw to Watson in the end zone. Heath Evans got the carry for the 2 point conversion attempt and made it into the end zone. 23-16, Patriots.
The only problem with the Patriots scoring drive was that it only lasted 43 seconds. Miami got it back with 2:11 on the clock. The Dolphins marched all the way down to the New England 5 yard line, needing only a touchdown and extra point to tie and force overtime. On 1st and goal from the 5, Ellis Hobbs broke up a pass intended for Marty Booker. Frerotte overthrew Chambers on 2nd and goal. On 3rd and goal, Tedy Bruschi got into Frerotte's face, forcing an early throw. Frerotte hit the outlet man, Brown, but McGinist coralled him and Poteat finished him off for a loss of 5. On 4th and goal from the 10, Frerotte threw incomplete intended for Chambers. The Pats got the ball back. Brady took a knee, and the game was over.