FOXBORO, Mass. — After a shoulder injury knocked Jimmy Garoppolo out of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, three B’s helped carry the New England Patriots to victory.
Jacoby Brissett filled in for Garoppolo under center and guided the Patriots’ offense in the second half, tight end Martellus Bennett ran roughshod over Miami’s defense to the tune of five catches for 114 yards and running back LeGarrette Blount turned in one of his best rushing performances in a Patriots uniform as New England held off a furious Miami comeback to win 31-24 at Gillette Stadium.
Blount gained just 31 yards on 14 carries in the first half but exploded for 92 yards on 15 rushes over the final two quarters to surpass the 100-yard mark for the 11th time in his career. He also scored the Patriots’ only points of the second half on a 9-yard touchdown run.
“I just try my best to work hard,” Blount said. “Make sure I seize every opportunity that I get. Do everything I can that is going to work out best for the team. And I made sure I did my job. The offensive line played amazing, they’re going to continue to do that, I’m sure. They opened up a lot of big holes for me to run through.”
The Patriots utilized seven offensive linemen in the game, using Ted Karras and Cameron Fleming to spell right guard Shaq Mason and left tackle Nate Solder, respectively.
“My offensive line did an amazing job,” said Blount, whose 123 rushing yards represented his highest total since Nov. 8 of last year. “They’re great. They worked hard. They’ve done everything they’ve needed to do to make sure they can go out there and perform and do their assignments correctly and when they do that, it’s easy to run behind them.”
Some additional notes from Sunday:
— Garoppolo was phenomenal before a hit from Kiko Alonso late in the second quarter sidelined him for the remainder of the game. The Patriots quarterback completed each of his first eight passes, 16 of his first 19 and 18 of 27 overall, throwing for 234 yards with three touchdowns.
“Jimmy was playing unbelievable,” said wide receiver Chris Hogan, who caught four passes for 59 yards in the win. “The kid was playing lights-out. I think that really just goes out to his preparation and what we talked about last week. But this is the NFL, and that kind of stuff happens. We were fortunate enough Jacoby was able to come in, step up, he played well when he got in there.”
Two of Garoppolo’s touchdown passes were to Danny Amendola, giving the wideout the first multi-touchdown game of his career.
— One player who’d surely like to forget the events of Sunday’s game is Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell, who got stiff-armed in the face by Bennett in the third quarter and then hurdled by Blount in the fourth.
“I mean, it’s not magic,” Blount said. “It’s just instinctive, you know? If a guy is going to hit you in your legs — I’m a big guy — you’re going to either have to go over them or go through them. Obviously, I can’t get as low as (Maxwell), so…”
— The Patriots have a short week with the Houston Texans coming to town Thursday night.
“It’s very challenging, but it’s challenging for the other team, as well,” Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman said. “It’s usually the team that prepares the best will go out and play well and usually win that game.”
The Texans, a playoff team last season, improved to 2-0 on Sunday with a 19-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. They have not allowed a touchdown in six quarters.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images