Normally, that's not really a reason to celebrate, but with the way the Dolphins' passing attack looked Sunday night, it should be this time around.
Reason No. 1 is that when these teams have faced each other recently, there seems to always be a big third-down catch made by someone like Brian Hartline or Davone Bess that makes the receiver look like a Hall of Famer. Bess even set career highs in catches (10) and yards (117) in last year's win over the Patriots.
Reason No. 2 is much bigger: Brandon Marshall is a monster.
The Dolphins look as though they've finally found a way to get Chad Henne and his newest receiver on the same page. The conversation between offensive coordinator Dan Henning and his quarterback might have gone something like this: "Chad, just throw the ball in Brandon's general vicinity, and we'll probably gain 60 yards. OK?"
That's at least what Henne was doing Sunday against a Jets defense that by every measurable and observable degree is leaps and bounds better than that of the Patriots. The damage? Ten catches, 166 yards, one touchdown.
Marshall's presence (and success) also opened up the rest of the passing game, with Bess hauling in six catches for 86 yards and Hartline grabbing five for 84. Add in the fact that the Dolphins could not run much on the Jets but should do markedly better against the Patriots, and the coaching staff in New England is in for a long week.
There's also the issue of allowing the Mark Sanchezes and Ryan Fitzpatricks of the world to look like John Elway and Joe Montana at various points during games. Henne had 335 yards and two touchdowns last year in the Dolphins' clash with the Patriots in Miami, so don't be too surprised if you confuse him with Dan Marino next Monday night.
Through Week 3 of the season, the Patriots are ranked 27th in yards allowed per game (379.3). They rank 28th in points allowed per game (27.3), and their opponents putting up those points have scored, on average, just 15.3 points in their other games. That essentially means the Patriots are allowing teams to double their offensive production (with the caveat of the sample size being small). With the Dolphins scoring 17.3 points per game thus far, the Patriots will likely once again be forced to ask Tom Brady to score 35 or more points to keep his team alive.
Against the Bills, that's one thing. Against the Dolphins, it could be trouble.
And with the current landscape of the AFC East looking like it will be a dogfight until the bitter end, matchups like the one that will take place next Monday should turn out to be the most crucial moments of the season.
And the Dolphins have to be licking their chops.
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