Patriots-Dolphins Takeaways: Chris Long Shines, Cornerbacks Struggle

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The New England Patriots’ defense faltered once the pressure wore off Sunday.

The Patriots’ offense spotted its defense a 31-3 lead, which almost was squandered as Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 389 yards. The Patriots needed a last-second stop to beat the Dolphins 31-24.

New England’s pass coverage was lacking Sunday, though it didn’t help that its front seven didn’t record a single sack on Tannehill.

Here’s our takeaways from Sunday’s too-close win.

PASS COVERAGE
Malcolm Butler: 8-11, 139 yards, PBU
Patrick Chung: 5-6, 69 yards, TD
Logan Ryan: 4-6, 51 yards, 20-yard defensive pass interference
Justin Coleman: 4-6, 50 yards, TD
Jamie Collins: 5-7, 48 yards, INT
Jonathan Freeny: 2-2, 9 yards
Shea McClellin: 1-1, 6 yards
Chris Long: 1-1, 2 yards, PBU
Duron Harmon: 0-1, INT

— The Patriots went heavy on zone and off-man after they got out to a big lead. Tannehill had some easy completions.

— It wasn’t all easy for Tannehill, however, and even with the defensive scheme, there’s no excuse to let up over 100 yards as a cornerback. Butler was dealing with an ankle injury this week.

— DeVante Parker made a very nice one-handed grab over Ryan.

— Ryan played fewer snaps than usual. Coleman stayed in the game early during two cornerback sets. Coleman covered Kenny Stills early, while Ryan handled Parker. Butler began the game on Jarvis Landry.

PASS RUSH
Chris Long: three QB hits, four hurries (seven pressures)
Jabaal Sheard: two QB hits, four hurries (six pressures)
Malcom Brown: two hurries (two pressures)
Vincent Valentine: two hurries (two pressures)
Jamie Collins: two hurries (two pressures)
Trey Flowers: hurry
Elandon Roberts: hurry

— Long might wind up being the best bargain free agent of the season. He was consistently in the Dolphins’ backfield all game.

— The Patriots really missed Dont’a Hightower, who sat out with a knee injury. Jonathan Freeny and Shea McClellin couldn’t replicate his pass-rush prowess.

— Valentine has some legit potential as a pass rusher. He’s dominant at times.

PASS PROTECTION
Joe Thuney: six hurries (six pressures)
Marcus Cannon: QB hit, three hurries (four pressures)
Shaq Mason: sack, QB hit (two pressures)
LeGarrette Blount: QB hit
Nate Solder: hurry
Martellus Bennett: hurry
Cameron Fleming: hurry

— Thuney had a tough time holding his ground against Ndamukong Suh and Jason Jones. He also was flagged for holding twice.

— Solder and Fleming both did a nice job on the blind side.

— The Patriots did a nice job of using play action to conceal their offensive line issues.

PASS ACCURACY
Jimmy Garoppolo
1. Pass breakup
2. Overthrow to Matthew Slater
3. Overthrow to Chris Hogan
4. Overthrow to James White
5. Malcolm Mitchell falls on route
6. Throw high to Julian Edelman
7. Dropped by D.J. Foster
8. Dropped by Edelman
9. Dropped by Bennett

— That’s four bad passes, four incompletions on the receiver and one on a nice defensive play.

Jacoby Brissett
1. Dropped by Edelman
2. Dropped by Edelman
3. Throwaway

— That’s two incompletions on the receiver and one decision to throw the ball away.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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