Sunday, December 15, 2013

MusketFire: New England Patriots Fail to Convert Against Miami Dolphins

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The New England Patriots faced-off in Miami on a muggy Sunday afternoon far from the snow and cold of New England.  After falling behind against Miami in their first matchup of the season at home 17-3 at halftime, the Patriots needed to shake off their first quarter blues and play with a lead for once.  They were able to do that with a strong first drive and take a 3-0 lead after one quarter of play. New England stretched the lead to 10-0 but Miami was able to drive and score before the half to make it 10-7 after 30 minutes of play.

That set the tone of the game as the New England offense sputtered in second half.  Even after taking a lead, Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill made a couple of huge plays to take the lead back.  Tom Brady drove downfield and had multiple chances to get in the end zone, but for the third time in the game the Patriots offense was able to score a touchdown in the red zone and fell short. Without their largest target, Rob Gronkowski, or big outside receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, the Patriots were not able to punch the ball in the end zone when they needed to score a touchdown.

Despite playing well at times on both sides of the ball on the road against a tough division rival, the Miami Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots 24-20. Both quarterbacks went over 300 yards in the air, neither team was especially dominant rushing the ball, and Mike Wallace of the Dolphins and Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman of the Patriots all went over 100 yards receiving in the game. The game came down to a handful of big plays at the end of the game and this time it was home team, the Dolphins, who converted on fourth-and-five inside of three minutes and then stopped the Patriots from completing a pass in the end zone.

For the Patriots, a big initial boost on offense was getting tackles Nate Solder (concussion) and Marcus Cannon (ankle) back in the starting lineup. While Will Svitek did a good job backing up Cannon the past few weeks, with Miami’s explosive trio of defensive ends of Cameron Wake, Dion Jordan, and Olivier Vernon the Patriots were happy to be at full strength at the important position. Unfortunately, the great offensive line protection ended when Solder left in the second half due to a head injury and forced a reshuffling of the line.  From that point forward, the Dolphins were able to hit and hurry quarterback Tom Brady repeatedly.

The Dolphins offense was effective running the football and mixing in short passes in the first half against the Patriots in week eight. They went right back to that game plan on their first drive attacking the weak interior of the Patriots defense with running back Lamar Miller and short passes in the middle of the field.  As the game progressed, the Dolphins started working the ball deeper to wide receivers Mike Wallace and Rishard Matthews.

The Patriots opened the second half with LeGarrette Blount in the backfield again and used the run to set-up the pass...Click here for much more:

Cover32: Patriots Looking to “Squish the Fish” in Miami


The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins prepare to face off in the heat of southern Florida Sunday afternoon while New England braces for the first significant snowstorm of the season. This matchup of the top two teams in the AFC East was expected to be a battle for the AFC division title at the beginning of the season with both teams jumping out to 3-0 records. However, the Dolphins lost their next four contests and have been struggling to stay at or above a .500 record since.
Miami head coach Joe Philbin has the Dolphins at 2-0 in the crucial month of December to keep pace with New England in the AFC East and most importantly keep their playoff hopes alive. Miami has beaten Wild Card contenders the New York Jets (6-7) and Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8) in back-to-back weeks this month. Miami has the same record as the Baltimore Ravens (7-6), who hold the final Wild Card spot currently in the AFC due to their head-to-head tiebreaker against Miami.
Earlier this season, the Patriots and Dolphins went head-to-head in Foxboro, MA in week eight of the NFL season. In that matchup, in what has become a familiar refrain for New England this season, the opposition led 17-3 at halftime. New England quarterback Tom Brady was held to just 6 of 8 for 25 yards passing in the first half while the Dolphins rushed for over 100 yards in the first half with a balanced attack. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the Patriots righted the ship and outscored Miami 24-0 in second half to win the game 27-17.
This week the Miami Dolphins placed starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson on season-ending injured reserve. Patterson was injured earlier in the season and returned to the lineup in week eight against New England. He was a large part of the Dolphins defense which held Tom Brady to 116 yards passing. In fact, Patterson intercepted Brady on the first drive of the game for New here for much more: \: Cleveland Browns Need a Bounce-Back Win Vs Strong Chicago Bears

by Hal Bent
The Cleveland Browns are coming off a disappointing loss to the New England Patriots in Foxboro, MA last Sunday. The Browns lost 27 to 26 when they blew a twelve point lead with less than three minutes to play in the game.
The Browns were hurt by two questionable penalties that had a major impact on the game.  Both calls went the home team’s way and helped allow New England to come back to win. The first was the unnecessary roughness call on backup cornerback Jordan Poyer that allowed New England to kick-off from mid-field for their onside kick attempt. Poyer did not launch himself or go helmet-to-helmet and yet still was penalized.
After backup running back Fozzy Whittaker could not cover the onside kick attempt New England had new life down by five points. On first down at the 30 yard line with 40 seconds to play, Leon McFadden was penalized for a questionable pass interference penalty in the end zone. At worst, it could have been called a five-yard penalty for holding before the receiver Josh Boyce neared the end zone. It was tight coverage on a contested pass.
What really hurt the Browns the most in those last three minutes was that the defense which had harassed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throughout the first 57 minutes of the game took their foot on off the pedal. Now the Browns have nine losses and are left playing for next season. They can look back at this game against New England like their earlier games against Kansas City (week 8), Baltimore (week 9), Cincinnati (week 11), and Jacksonville (week 13) where they had ample opportunity to pull out an important victory and fell short.
This week the Browns welcome the 7-6 Chicago Bears to Cleveland for a Week 15 match-up. While the Bears are coming off their big Monday night win last week against the Cowboys, the Browns are looking to play them tough at home and wipe away any remnants of last week’s collapse in New England...Click here for more: Cleveland Browns Need a Bounce-Back Win Vs Strong Chicago Bears New England Patriots’ Top 2019 NFL Draft Picks Show Evolution on Both Sides of the Ball

The New England Patriots may have tipped their hand with their first two 2019 NFL Draft picks. Choosing a bigger, more aggressive outside-...